Dental Implants: Permanent, Secure Tooth Replacement
When permanent teeth are lost, regardless of the reason or number of teeth, dental implants can offer a “new lease on life.” They are superior to other choices because they are solid, secure, and aesthetic, restoring the smile from the roots up. After decades of use and research, they have a 90-95% proven success rate in appropriately chosen cases. If you’re ready to say “goodbye” to the gaps in your smile, do not hesitate to call Dr. Virginia Gregory to schedule a tooth replacement consultation and be evaluated for dental implant restoration.
An implant is a special surgical grade titanium post, manufactured to highly precise specifications under strictly sterile conditions, that is inserted surgically into the jawbone below the gum surface. With the proper use of the newest anesthetics and medications, you need not be concerned about pain. As the bone bonds to the post, it forms a secure foundation onto which your new teeth can be attached and shaped to match your mouth. Implants can help replace a single tooth all the way to a full set of teeth. The number of teeth being replaced will determine the best kind of restoration for you.
Benefits of Dental Implants
While dental implants do take more time to complete, there are a number of benefits that make them the ideal options for many patients, including:
- Full restoration – implants restore the roots and crowns of missing teeth for a more complete restoration option.
- Long lasting – implant supported tooth replacement can last two decades or longer compared with traditional restorations that need to be replaced at least every ten years.
- High success rate – after two decades of wear, implant supported replacement teeth (even implant retained dentures) have a 90 to 95% success rate.
- Natural function – because the roots and crowns are replaced, implant supported restorations function much more like natural teeth. Traditional dentures only repair about 20% of healthy chewing function, but an implant denture restores 70% or more, allowing patients to consume a more varied, nutritious diet.
- Look great – your stable implant restoration will look just like your natural smile, and because the implants provide stimulation to the jaw and gums, they will maintain a healthy, youthful facial shape. This is compared to the saggy, shrunken-in appearance that so often occurs with traditional dentures.
- Protects surrounding teeth – other forms of tooth replacement can damage remaining tooth structures, but implant supported replacement teeth are fully self-reliant, ensuring you maintain optimal oral health.
Single-Tooth Dental Implant
Traditionally, individual teeth were replaced by creating a fixed bridge. These dental prosthetics are created by attaching two dental crowns, one on each side, to a replacement tooth. Then, the entire fixed bridge prosthetic is cemented into place over the top of healthy teeth that provide support for the replacement tooth. Unfortunately, this meant we needed to remove healthy tooth structure from the surrounding teeth to support the fixed bridge prosthetic. For patients who choose dental implant supported single tooth replacement, the surrounding teeth are protected and the lost tooth root is replaced. We begin by placing one dental implant post. Then, patients will need to wait for three to six months to allow the implant to fuse with the jawbone. Once the fusion process is complete, patients can return to our office where we’ll attach a custom dental crown. In some cases, a single implant post can also be used to support two fused together dental crowns to replace two consecutive teeth.
Multiple Tooth Replacement
When you’ve lost two or more consecutive teeth, we may recommend a fixed bridge restoration. A row of replacement teeth are fused together and attached to two implant posts, one at each end. For patients missing two or more consecutive and nonconsecutive teeth, a partial denture may be necessary. Partial dentures are crafted using a gum-colored base to support any number of replacement teeth. The base is molded to fit snuggly between remaining teeth. The entire prosthetic is typically held in place with just two to four implant posts.
Implant Dentures & All-on-4 Dental Implants
Traditional implant dentures are crafted using a gum colored base material to support a full row of replacement teeth. The denture can be held in place with just four to six implant posts positioned along the jawbone.
For those patients who want to replace missing teeth with a less invasive procedure, All-on-4 dental implants may be a better option. This innovative procedure allows patients to get a full implant-retained denture using just four implants. It’s ideal for patients who do not have enough healthy jawbone to support traditional implant dentures. With this treatment, the implants and the denture can often be placed in just one visit, making it one of the most efficient and effective ways to completely restore a smile. What makes All-on-4 so unique is the positioning of the implant posts to make the most of the naturally denser parts of the jawbone at the front of the mouth. Two implants are placed vertically to support the front of the denture, and two are placed diagonally to support the back of the denture.
Costs of Dental Implants
No two dental implant tooth replacement plans are exactly alike, and the costs of your restoration plan will depend on your individual tooth replacement needs. An implant supported tooth replacement plan can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $30,000 or more. Some of the factors that influence the cost of your dental implant tooth replacement plan include:
- The number and location of missing teeth
- The number of implant posts used
- The material used to craft the implant posts
- The type of tooth replacement prosthetic crowns, bridges, dentures
- The need for preparatory tooth extractions, tissue grafts, and other procedures
- The use of dental sedation to maintain comfort throughout treatment