At Dr. Todd Jones Periodontics and Implant Dentistry our Victoria periodontist may choose dental implants to replace missing teeth or provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures.
What is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are artificial roots (usually titanium) and teeth that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by a dentist or Periodontist.
The artificial teeth attached to implants are a natural-looking way to restore a patient’s smile!
Dental implants are strong and durable and will last many years. Dental implants require ongoing maintenance and regular dental care just as teeth do to remain healthy.
Reasons for Dental Implants
If a tooth is missing, the teeth surrounding the gap may begin to shift out of place and cause misalignment issues or jaw pain. The jaw bone around the area may also begin to deteriorate, resulting in facial collapse which can have a negative impact on your confidence as well as your ability to eat and talk.
The Dental Implant Procedure
Getting implants requires a number of visits over several months.
X-rays and impressions are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself for up to six months.
Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the “post” that will hold the artificial tooth in place. With other implants, the post and anchor are already attached and placed at the same time.
After several weeks of healing the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step may take one to two months to complete. Once healed, the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort to the patient.
Timeframes & Dental Implant Treatment
After the initial examination, you can expect 4-5 additional visits until the final fixed bridge is permanently attached.
It is normal to experience some minor bruising and swelling in the gum and soft tissue afterwards. Any discomfort is usually treated with an ordinary painkiller.
You should expect to be able to work the next day.
Dental Implant FAQs
Read the answers to our most frequently asked questions about dental implants at Dr. Todd Jones Periodontics and Implant Dentistry.
- Why dental implants?
There are a number of reasons why you should consider a dental implant:
Without the root structure of a natural tooth present, the jawbone can shrink. This shrinkage will make your face look older than it is.
There are no loose parts to worry about losing. The dental implant is stable and comfortable. No adjustment is needed after placement. Normally, it will serve its owner for life.
- Are dental implants successful?
With more than three decades of clinical experience and over a million patients treated, statistics confirm a success rate of nearly 95 percent for individual Straumann dental implants*, and even higher for the bridges they support.
* Results based on dental implants and dental bridges remaining and in function over a five-year period.
- How much do dental implants cost?
The fee for tooth replacement with dental implants depends on several factors, including the number of teeth being replaced and the number of dental implants required to support your replacement teeth.
Some additional procedures may be required prior to the placement of your dental implants to ensure the long-term health of your dental implants. To obtain a specific fee estimate, it is necessary to have a doctor examine your mouth. After a thorough diagnostic examination, your dentist will recommend the treatment that is best for you..
- Who is a Candidate?
Anyone who is missing one or more teeth due to injury, disease or tooth decay may be a candidate for dental implants. The determining factor is the amount of available bone. Your dentist is the best person to evaluate whether dental implants are a viable solution for you.
- Is old age a problem?
Occasionally, older patients express concern that their age may prevent them from enjoying the benefits of dental implants. However, health is more of a determining factor than age. If you’re healthy enough to have a tooth extracted, you’re probably healthy enough to receive dental implants.
Certain chronic diseases may contraindicate dental implant treatment. Your dentist will determine if you are a candidate for dental implants after a careful evaluation of your dental and health history.
- What are the advantages of dental implants over dentures or a dental bridge?
Improved appearance: When you lose the entire tooth - crown and root - shrinkage of the jawbone may cause your face to look older. Dental implants can stop this process. A traditional denture or dental bridge doesn’t.
Preserve natural teeth: With traditional dental bridges, teeth adjacent to missing teeth are normally ground down to be used as anchors for a dental bridge. Dental implants often eliminate the need to modify healthy teeth.
Permanent solution: There are no loose parts to worry about losing. The dental implant is stable and comfortable. No adjustment is need after placement. Normally, it will serve its owner for life.
- How will dental implants affect my life?
Dental implant-supported replacement teeth look, feel and function like natural teeth. This means that you can eat and drink whatever you choose. But most importantly, dental implants often improve quality of life in a very concrete way.
People who have felt embarrassed and worried because of their tooth problems are often overwhelmed by what new permanent teeth can do for their self-esteem.
- Will my new teeth look natural?
When dental implants are used in combination with modern restorative dentistry, their appearance, comfort and function are very likely to exceed your expectations. Often they are hard to tell apart from your natural teeth.
- Will I be able to chew with the same force and pressure I use with my natural teeth?
Yes. Following a brief adaptation period, chewing capacity is comparable to that of natural teeth.
- How much time is required for a dental implant placement?
Today, guided surgical techniques are convenient alternatives to place dental implants and allow you to have the dental implant placed in a single session using keyhole surgery. This new method has significantly simplified the procedure, for both patients and dentists. The major advantage of the guided surgical technique is the minimal amount of manipulation of the soft tissue due to keyhole surgery. This significantly reduces the healing time and the discomfort normally associated with traditional dental implant surgical techniques.
The conventional process can take from three to six months. First, the dentist places the dental implant, which is left for three to six months to heal and integrate with the jawbone. During the healing period, you are given a temporary prosthesis until the permanent crown is put in place.
The procedure chosen depends on several factors, such as your dental health, the number of teeth involved and which teeth are replaced. These factors will also determine the total number of visits to the dentist throughout the treatment period.
- Is the treatment painful?
With any surgery, there can be some discomfort. Placing one implant normally causes less discomfort than placing several. Our Periodontist and dental staff are trained in ways to help reduce any discomfort during the dental implant process.
Most patients report that they were much more comfortable following the procedure than they had anticipated. Your doctor will prescribe medications to ease any discomfort that may occur. Ask your dentist to recommend another patient who has already had tooth replacement therapy to assess their personal experience.
- How will I feel after the treatment?
It is normal to have some bruising and swelling in the gum and soft tissues. But usually the discomfort, if any, is treated with an ordinary painkiller. You should expect to be able to work the next day.
- How do I care for my dental implants?
Your new teeth must be cared for and checked regularly, just like your natural teeth. Brush and floss as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist. See your dentist in six months, or more frequently if so advised.
Full Arch Replacement
When all teeth are missing or in such condition that they need to be replaced, a fixed bridge anchored to dental implants can be an ideal permanent solution. A fixed bridge results in a permanent, stable and high aesthetic solution which restores function and helps to prevent bone loss.
Do you have dental implants scheduled or have questions following your surgery? Learn more about post-operative expectations and care.
Multiple Teeth Replacement
When replacing three teeth in the far back of the mouth, a fixed bridge anchored to dental implants is the only fixed alternative. Traditional dentures can't offer the same stability or function.
Having dental implants replacing your lost back teeth will give you new, strength and stability that allows you to eat what you want. It will also preserve your jawbone and facial appearance.