Dental Implants 101…

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Before advances in technology, one of the saddest days for a dentist and their patient was finding that a tooth could not be saved.

In fact, over time teeth may actually have to ‘retire’ for a variety of reasons. This can include fracturing your tooth while eating, or an infection. Thanks to dental implants, you no longer have to feel hopeless about this.  There are ways to regain your ability to chew, smile, and continue life without worry!

Dental implants have been a widely accepted tooth replacement therapy for over 50 years!  With the continued advancement of technology and an understanding of biology, dental implants have become a long-term option for replacing teeth. By the end of this blog, we hope that you have a better understanding of what dental implants are, who may benefit from implants, how much they cost, and more!  Stick around to learn what the term “All-on-4” means….

So what are dental implants, exactly?

Dental implants are root-shaped posts that adhere to your bone and are used to attach false teeth, such as a crown, bridge, or denture. They are made of titanium, which is similar to the material used in medicine for joint and hip replacements. You may never see the post because it stays underneath the gums. And, after the implant has healed completely, a porcelain-like crown is custom-made and permanently attached. The crown is the tooth portion you use to chew and smile with.

What are the different tooth-replacement options?

When replacing one or multiple teeth, there are essentially three options.

The first, and typically most economical, is a removable appliance. This option is easy to clean, fairly esthetic, and easy to chew with. You place the appliance in your mouth during the day, then remove and clean it at night before going to sleep. However, the appliance may wiggle because it is only supported by your gums and makes tasting food more difficult.

A second option is a bridge. Similar to the idea of connecting two roads, two teeth right next to the missing tooth are prepared for crowns, and then the bridge is cemented in place. This will function just like your natural teeth and are fairly eye-pleasing. However, cleaning under the bridge may be difficult and requires very diligent attention.

Bridges are a more aggressive treatment option because they require reducing the two adjacent teeth and have the added risk of a cavity forming under the bridge.

Many of our patients enjoy the third option, which is dental implants. The dental implant only involves the space of the missing tooth and is fixed in place. We custom-make your crown to fit your smile.  This option is the closest ability to a natural tooth. Plus, it has a longer lifespan than the bridge.  It is typically more costly upfront but well worth the investment.

 

Now…what are the advantages of dental implants?

Well, with dental implants, you have all of the desired outcomes. They not only appear like a natural tooth when you smile but are strong enough to eat your favorite foods, and most importantly, are the longest-lasting option available.

The dental implant is more conservative than other options (such as a bridge) because it does not reduce the neighboring teeth and is easier to clean and floss. If the supporting teeth of a bridge get a cavity it could lead to a root canal or further tooth loss.

This is less of a concern for dental implants as they cannot get cavities.

Patients who have invested in dental implants are able to enjoy a better quality of life.

And…what are the disadvantages of dental implants?

The disadvantages of dental implants, in the beginning, are that they take time to heal and can be more expensive than alternative treatments.

We are dependent on the body to heal and accept the implant, some complications may arise but are manageable. These must be considered when choosing the best option for your tooth replacement.

So…how long do implants take?

Although each case is treated uniquely, a dental implant can take from 4 to 12 months to complete. If your case requires a bone graft, 3-6 months of healing time is needed. Then, the implant is placed and will require 3-4 additional months of healing to integrate with the bone.

Lastly, the crown is attached after the implant is completely integrated. Each person’s medical history and dental situation is unique and will impact total treatment time. We can discuss all of your options and a thorough treatment plan during an initial consultation.

 

And the big question…what do dental implants cost?

The cost of dental implants can vary greatly.  This depends on a unique case and treatment plan. At Montgomery & Conroe Comprehensive Dental Centers, we are committed to using the highest quality materials and research to perform your treatment.

We also do our best to find a solution that is within your financial budget and life circumstances. Dental implants may be more costly in the beginning, but the investment is well worth the reliability and your quality of life.

I’m wondering…do dental implants hurt?

Our goal as providers at Montgomery & Conroe Comprehensive Dental Centers is to ensure your comfort while receiving treatment. Many of our patients are surprised by how little discomfort they had after the procedure! Although mild discomfort can be expected, this is very manageable with over-the-counter medications, such as Advil and Tylenol.

For patients who may have dental anxiety, we offer IV sedation and other services to make your experience a pleasant one.

Who is a candidate for dental implants?

You may be a candidate for dental implants if you have one or more missing teeth, have a broken or non-repairable tooth, or have a loose-fitting denture.

Dental implants are truly life-changing, and may be an option for anyone who wishes to smile with confidence and chew the foods that they love! Please take our dental implant quiz to see if you may be a candidate for dental implants.

What if my tooth has been missing for a very long time?

I am sure you have heard the saying, “if you don’t use it, you lose it!” The same principle applies to our bones and gums. Once a tooth is removed, the bone and gums will shrink. This means that in the future, the bone may require rebuilding in order to replace the tooth. We provide 3D technology to evaluate the quality and quantity of your bone at the time of your consultation. At that point, we can determine if you have enough bone for an implant or if you will need an additional procedure to build the bone and gums back.

Can my body reject the dental implant?

Generally, dental implants have an outstanding success rate of 95%. Our practice aims for perfection in making sure your case is a success and will give you years of service.

Science has shown people with uncontrolled health conditions and people who smoke have a higher chance of healing complications. With these exceptions in mind, Montgomery & Conroe Comprehensive Dental Centers will fix any issue for the first 5 years of service at no cost under our “Warran-teeth” policy. What makes us different is the confidence in the service we offer and the ability to stand behind our work!

So…what if I don’t like my current denture?

Many of our patients have had dentures for years but over time notice that the dentures do not fit snugly anymore. A poorly fitting denture may cause sores, move around while eating, or even hinder your ability to speak well.

Dental implants can be used to help secure your teeth with our Snap-on Denture or Fixed Hybrid options. This means, no more adhesive or goop!

The Snap-on Denture allows your teeth to be stabilized by Snap-on attachments. This removable option makes cleaning your dentures in the morning and at night a breeze. In addition, the palate of the top denture is open, improving your ability to taste food. By having the palate open, it is also helpful for people with a strong gag reflex and who experience difficulty speaking with conventional dentures. Both the teeth and base are made of acrylic material.

The Fixed Hybrid is our most secure option, functioning as close to natural teeth as possible. The natural-appearing teeth are fixated onto the dental implants and can only be removed by a dental professional for cleaning. It does, however, require diligent cleaning underneath the teeth. But, it is the thinnest and strongest option. The teeth can be made of acrylic or porcelain material.

 

At long last…what is “All-on-4” or the famous “Teeth in a Day”?

“All-on-4” is a marketed tooth replacement option similar to our Fixed Hybrid. In the event that a whole arch of teeth cannot be saved, we can replace those ‘retired’ teeth with a set of natural-appearing teeth that are fixed in place using implants.

In some cases, we can attach the implants to your temporary hybrid on the day of surgery. This is important, as it means that you will not have the inconvenience of a removable denture while you are waiting for your implants to heal!

Now…what makes our office different are the implant packages that we offer. We customize a treatment plan specific for your case with all-inclusive services at bundled prices. This allows you to receive the highest quality of care available and have it be affordable.

How do I care for my dental implants?

Just as with any other tooth, dental implants need to be cleaned and maintained on a daily basis. Brush for two minutes and floss between each tooth at least once a day. We also recommend a professional cleaning and exam every 6 months to follow the health of the implant and your overall oral health. Remember, your teeth are a window into your overall health.  This is why it’s important to stay on top of your dental exams.

What should I look for when buying a dental implant?

When considering where to have your dental implant services, it is extremely important to consider you are buying more than the dental implant. Patient service is a key factor.  At Montgomery & Conroe Comprehensive Dental Centers, we provide unparalleled customer service, a dedication to excellence, and a 5-year “Warran-teeth” policy that sets us apart.

Both Dr. Timothy Gardner and Dr. Ryan Rodriguez have extensive training that is focused on providing you with teeth that esthetically suit you best, including color, shape, and the importance of how your teeth and jaw fit together.

We use computer-guided implant placement systems, providing the most accurate surgical outcomes. It is likely that we can perform all the services you need under one roof, including bone and gum grafting, IV sedation, and more. These extensive measures are taken to give you a service that will last a lifetime!

We hope that our shared passion for excellence will grant us the opportunity to serve you.  Contact us for an initial consultation at drtimgardner.com.

Last, but absolutely not least…the most important detail to leave you with is that we offer Life-Changing Dentistry and our mission is to apply the “Golden Rule” to everything we do.