A dental implant offers a life like total replacement for a lost tooth. What we commonly all refer to as a dental implant really consists of three parts. The fixture which is generally a titanium screw that is secured into the jawbone below the gums to replace the root, the crown which replaces the part of the tooth you see above the gums, and the abutment, which is the connector piece that allows the fixture and the crown to fit together precisely in a position that is easy to keep clean... At BRIGHT LIFE DENTISTRY, we are proud to offer this life changing service to our patients. Dental implant care has essentially two phases. First there is the SURGICAL PHASE, where the implant fixture is placed into the bone. Unless you are having ALL your teeth replaced at once with dental implants, we typically need to wait 3-4 months for this phase to allow the bone to heal and allow the implant to be secure in the bone (or to integrate into the jawbone.) The amount of time varies depending upon the health of the patient and the quality of the bone in the jaw. This is then followed by the RESTORATIVE PHASE, where the crown and the connector piece are placed so the tooth looks natural. When we do your pre-surgical consultation with you, we can give you a better idea of which type of implant is best for you and if you are a candidate for dental implants.
When a tooth is lost either to trauma or extensive decay, one of the common options today is to place an implant. This will provide the patient with the most conservative and natural feeling restoration while maintaining the space, the chewing function and the esthetics of the old crown. When considering the replacement of a single missing tooth, there are multiple options and no treatment at all is always an option. If you choose to do nothing, leaving the space allows the adjacent teeth and the teeth in the opposite jaw to shift into the position, potentially creating gaps or tipping of the teeth. With one less tooth in your mouth, the bite forces on the remaining teeth often increase causing the remaining teeth to wear, move or fracture at an increased rate. The second option to replace a missing tooth is to place a bridge between at least one tooth in front of and behind the space. If there are not restorations on the adjacent teeth or it is a back molar with no molar beyond it, then a bridge may not even be an option and an implant might be indicated. Finally, there is the option of a removable bridge, also called a removable partial denture. While this is often the least expensive option and often rather conservative, it often involves wearing an appliance that has bulk and, in many cases, metal clasps to hold it in place. People with a very sensitive gag reflex or are opposed to something that comes in and out of their mouth daily to maintain it are usually are unable to even tolerate the idea of wearing a removable partial denture.
The implant fixture is a biocompatible titanium screw that is inserted into the bone where a tooth was removed. It helps to stimulate the bone and therefore maintain the ridge. An added benefit to having implants is that many times the implant supports bone that supports your face and help you look as youthful as possible. In some cases, it may be necessary to place a little extra bone graft material to help maintain the ridge of bone or add bulk laterally, so the implant can be placed.
Dr. Roxzanne Amos works closely with surgical specialists who have over 20 years of experience placing the implant fixtures and she coordinates the pre planning, impressions and follow-up abutment and crown for the patients so they get the best outcome possible. Dental implants are highly sophisticated medical devices and are not without their limitations and liabilities that is why Dr. Amos has taken additional courses and training in the placement of dental implants and the restoration of them and only uses the best surgeons, best dental implants parts and best dental labs. She takes the time to help you understand fully what to expect with your dental implant during placement and as time goes by. Because she also does full-mouth reconstruction, so he is very familiar with the intricacies of placing the implant in the proper position and achieving maximal angulation for returning the patients to the most comfortable bite position.
While many dental insurance companies still don’t cover dental implants at this time, our office will work with you to try to maximize whatever benefits you may have currently. Often, they will have an allowance for some type of restoration in that space.
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FOUR THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE YOU GET A DENTAL IMPLANT
1). Make sure when you get a fee quoted, it includes EVERYTHING. There are so many options available for dental implants that it’s nearly impossible to compare one office to the next based upon one fee. Some of the “additional” fees you may run into include: X-rays, bone grafting, a specialized x-ray, the crown and the abutment that fit onto the implant fixture and finally, the follow-up visits for maintenance. Therefore, we suggest coming in for a no-cost or obligation implant consultation to see more accurately what you fee will be.
2). Most implants will take at least 3-6 months or longer before you are chewing on them. It takes a few months for the bone to integrate about an implant fixture. Anyone who places an implant and then gives you the full-sized final crown in one visit is either taking a risk of disrupting the integration process or risking the potential loss of the implant by “loading” it immediately. Sometimes, due to the location of the implant, in the cosmetic zone, a temporary crown that is slightly lower than the bite will be placed. By using proven technology and procedures, our goal is to provide a 95% success rate with implants and ensure the longest lasting service available to you. Utilizing the all-of-four technique, we may be able to utilize denser bone and have you chewing on your implants sooner!
3). Not everyone is an ideal candidate for a dental implant. If you are a smoker or have diabetes, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot have a dental implant, however, you should be told that these situations might require a little more precautions or time for healing. They can cause potential complications during the healing phase. Patients who have lost their teeth years ago and never had any bone grafting to stabilize or preserve the arch height might have a more difficult time getting an implant to integrate as it not only requires a good density of bone to hold the fixture in place but also a decent height and width of bone as well. Using special x-rays, we can help determine if you are a candidate for implants. There are other health conditions that might also factor in as to whether you would be a good candidate for an implant as well.
4). While the initial cost for an implant may be higher than the option of a bridge, in the long run it typically ends up costing less. A dental implant will never need a root canal or get a cavity. As long as you maintain it well and use proper home care because dental implants ARE susceptible to the same bacteria that cause gum and bone issues, a well-placed implant can last you a lifetime. A bridge on the other hand, might need to be replaced every 15 years on average because a new cavity develops under the bridge. Therefore, if you have a bridge replaced a few times over your lifetime, it will cost more. Plus, there is the risk that one of the support teeth for a bridge might get a cavity deep enough need a root canal and then the cost differential is in favor of an implant.