Are missing teeth making you self-conscious? Tired of uncomfortable dentures or bridgework? Dental implants may be for you!
Dental implants are a popular and effective way to seamlessly replace missing teeth. The procedure essentially replaces tooth roots with metal posts and replaces missing or damaged teeth with artificial ones that are able to function and appear like real teeth.
Believe it or not, dental implants are not all that new. Archaeological evidence indicates that humans have been replacing missing teeth for thousands of years. The ancient Chinese, for example, were replacing lost teeth with bamboo pegs roughly 4,000 years ago, and the Egyptians were performing similar dental implants with transplant teeth and ivory teeth.
Thankfully, implant dentistry has come a long way since these early days. In fact, in the last 40 years, the field of implant dentistry has perhaps seen some of the greatest advancements in all of dentistry. Not only are implant dentists developing better techniques and procedures, but the materials are also becoming increasingly better — more durable, discreet, and compatible with the human body. For these reasons, it comes as no surprise that the American Academy of Implant Dentistry reports that 3 million people currently have dental implants and that this number is increasing each year.
Benefits Of Dental Implants
Implant dentistry has revolutionized cosmetic dental care. Dental implants, for example, are now able to give you all of the functions of a normal, healthy tooth. Below are some of the benefits of dental implants:
Improved oral health
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Dental implant surgery is an outpatient procedure that is broken up into several stages that typically take place in a period of four to nine months. Essentially, the procedure works by replacing the roots of the teeth with a long-lasting, bio-friendly titanium fixture, onto which crowns, bridges, and dentures can be firmly anchored. The titanium in the implants fuses with your jawbone, ensuring that your implant won’t slip, make noise, or cause any other oral damage. Here, we will outline the three key components to a dental implant.
The Components Of Dental Implants
- The Implant — The implant is the bio-friendly titanium insertion that serves as the foundation for your new teeth. Placed during a relatively simple surgical procedure, the implant is usually a cylindrical, tapered post that is designed to osseointegrate, or fuse, with your jawbone as you heal. If there is not enough bone to hold an implant, bone grafting will likely be required. This is the process of taking bone from another source and adding it to your jaw bone. A graft could come from your mouth or chin, or in some instances, it could even come from an outside bone source.
The Abutment — The abutment is the piece that connects the implant with the artificial tooth. Often made of titanium, gold, or porcelain, the abutment attaches directly to the implant with a screw, and it is cut down to a tooth-like shape so that the crown can easily and securely be attached.
The Crown — The crown, or the restoration, is the component that is designed to match your teeth’s natural size, shape, color, and fit. They are typically made of porcelain, metal, or a fusion of porcelain and metal alloy. Once the restoration has been custom-made to match the shape of a natural tooth, it is then screwed or cemented to the abutment and covered with a tooth-colored composite when needed.
Types of Dental Implants
After the abutment is placed and you’re waiting for your gums to heal so that your dentist can attach the artificial tooth, you will have impressions of your mouth made. These will be used to make your natural-looking artificial teeth. During this time, your cosmetic dentists will walk you through your options and help you decide between either fixed or removable teeth, or a combination of both. Below is a description of the two primary types of prosthetics:
- Fixed Prosthetics — This type of tooth is permanently screwed or cemented onto an abutment, meaning it cannot be removed for cleaning or repair. Although most of these fixed crowns are attached to a single implant, if affordability is an issue, multiple crowns can be attached to one implant because of their remarkable strength. While these fixed prosthetics are an effective way to replace missing teeth, their main limitation is that they are not the best solution for those who are missing gum tissue and bone.
- Removable Prosthetics — Similar to traditional dentures, removable prosthetics consist of artificial white teeth surrounded by pink plastic gums that are mounted on a frame that attaches to the implant abutment. As the name indicates, this type of prosthetic can be easily removed for repair and cleaning.
Are Dental Implants Right For You?
If you have missing, broken, or severely decayed teeth, implants may be an option for you. However, for the procedure to be successful, you must be in good health, have sufficient bone mass, and not smoke or take osteoporosis medications. Those who have gum disease or decayed jawbones may also not be a candidate for dental implant surgery.
In general, dental implants may be right for you if you:
- Have missing or damaged teeth
- Have a strong jaw bone that is fully grown
- Have strong and healthy oral tissues
- Can’t or refuse to wear dentures
- Are in good health
- Want to improve eating, speech, and appearance
A qualified and experienced cosmetic dentist will be able to assess your health and condition to determine whether or not you are a candidate. If you are in the Kalispell area and would like to schedule an appointment for this evaluation, contact Montana Dental Works today.
What You Can Expect
Most people find that dental implants are a secure, stable, and effective replacement for an old tooth. In total, the process takes between four to nine months to complete, and the bulk of this time is spent waiting for the growth of the new bone in your jaw. It is important to note that when waiting, your dentists can often give you a temporary crown, bridge, or denture to help you eat and speak normally.
If you and your cosmetic dentist decide that dental implants are best for you, your dentists will first develop a treatment plan. Your treatment plan will depend upon your individual needs, and in order to ensure the best and most comprehensive treatment, your dentists may also prescribe visits to other doctors who specialize in conditions of the mouth, jaw, and face. After your comprehensive treatment plan has been established, here is a general outline of what you can expect:
- Tooth removal
- Jawbone is prepared (whether bone grafting is necessary will depend upon your individual case)
- The metal post, or implant, is placed once jawbone is healed
- The post will be given time to stabilize and heal
- The abutment is put in place by your oral surgeon
- Molds and impressions will be taken to create your new tooth
- The custom-made tooth is placed after soft tissue heals
- You have a strong and healthy new tooth
How Successful Are Dental Implants?
With proper care, dental implants have an extremely high success rate. Although the rate can fluctuate depending on where in the jaw the implants are being placed, in general, implants have a success rate of over 95 percent. Oftentimes, when dental implants aren’t successful it is because of a patient not taking proper post-surgery care — for example, smoking or drinking through a straw. What’s more, with proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last a lifetime.
Are There Risks?
As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks involved with a dental implant surgery. However, problems are quite uncommon, and when they do occur, they’re typically minor and easily remedied.
Is The Dental Implant Procedure Painful?
With the help of modern medicine like nitrous oxide and anesthesia, patients are now able to undergo dental procedures with more comfort and fewer complications than ever before. Most patients report very little discomfort throughout the procedure. This being said, after the treatment it is not uncommon to experience some post-surgery symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Swelling at the site of the implant
Will People Notice My Implants?
No, generally speaking, most people will not be able to spot your implant. Fortunately, this is an area of cosmetic dentistry that keeps getting better and better over time. Dentists can now match implants to perfectly blend with the rest of your teeth.
The Cost of Dental Implants
For many, the cost of dental implant can be a dealbreaker. However, they prove to yield a great return on investment, helping to save you money and discomfort in the long run. Once dental implants are secured and healed, patients typically do not need to spend any time caring for them individually. They can be treated like regular teeth. At Montana Dental Works, we strive to provide affordable dental implants. Whether you need to replace a single tooth or an entire row, we work with our patients to find an option that works for them and their budget.
Why Montana Dental Works?
Looking for affordable dental implants in the Kalispell, Montana area? Contact Montana Dental Works. Our dental practice is proud to offer some of the best dental implants around. Dr. McAllister has advanced training in the placement and restoration of implants, and he has a passion for this type of treatment. He and the whole Montana Dental Works staff take tremendous pride in providing patients with affordable dental implants that have life-changing effects.
Learn More About Us
If you have questions regarding implant treatment, dental implant cost, and whether or not this is a treatment for you, give us a call at (406) 203-4231 or fill out the form below to schedule a consultation to discuss your options.