About Dental Implants
Dental implants have restored the smiles of millions of patients throughout the world, giving them replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth.
Over the past three decades, dental implants have completely changed the way dentists and surgeons collaborate to replace missing teeth. Patients no longer have to choose between wearing a removable appliance and cutting down other teeth to support a bridge.
Since dental implants are substitute tooth roots, teeth can be replaced without involving the surrounding teeth – and they preserve the bone that normally melts away when a tooth is lost or removed.
Dental Implants Are the Preferred Method of Tooth Replacement
As one of the leading implant surgeons in the country, Dr. Nikchevich recognized in the early 1990’s that dental implants were the preferred method of tooth replacement. The practice was one of the first in the area to focus on implant treatment to restore smiles and function for patients.
The surgeons in our practice recommend dental implant treatment because it is the standard of care and the preferred method of tooth replacement for the following reasons:
- Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that prevents the bone resorption/deterioration that occurs when a tooth is lost or removed.
- This is also the only treatment option that preserves the adjacent teeth, as opposed to cutting them down to place a bridge or hooking a partial denture to them.
- Dental implants have by far the best long-term success rates of any treatment option – and this has been documented in the scientific literature for over four decades.
- Since dental implants are designed to last a lifetime, preserve bone and do not compromise the long-term health of adjacent teeth, dental implant treatment is the most cost-effective option long-term.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants have several unique benefits that are not provided by other treatment options for tooth replacement.
Maintain Facial Structures. When a tooth is lost or removed, the bone that previously surrounded the tooth root resorbs, or melts away. By replacing the root of your tooth with a dental implant, your jawbone and smile retain their shape. If you are missing all of your teeth, implant-supported replacement teeth will preserve the integrity of your facial structures and prevent the shrinkage of your jaws and the appearance of a collapsed face.
Preserve Surrounding Teeth. Tooth-supported bridges and partial dentures compromise the long-term health of your teeth. With dental implants, it is not necessary to cut the adjacent teeth down to place a bridge, or hook a partial denture onto natural teeth, which can cause them to loosen and eventually be removed.
Restore Natural Appearance. Dental implants were developed to replicate the appearance of your natural teeth – and preserve your bone and gum tissue to maintain the natural appearance of your smile. By placing the dental implants in the precise position, your surgeon will provide the ideal foundation for your dentist to create beautiful replacement teeth that closely match your natural teeth.
Designed to Last a Lifetime. Because dental implants are designed to last a lifetime, they have a better long-term success rate than any other tooth replacement option. Documented clinical research demonstrates that dental implants have a success rate of over 95%, which is significantly higher than tooth-supported bridges and partial or full dentures.
For more information about the benefits of dental implants visit The Dental Implant Guide.
Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?
As a result of major advances in dental implant procedures and technology, most patients can be considered for dental implant treatment. However, a surgical evaluation and consultation is necessary to determine whether you are a candidate for dental implants, and to develop a personalized treatment plan to restore your smile and function.
During your consultation, your surgeon will determine:
- The quality and quantity of bone where the implant(s) will be placed.
- The number of dental implants needed to achieve the optimal result.
- Other procedures that may be necessary to enhance esthetics or function
Our practice utilizes leading edge technology, such as 3D imaging, to obtain the most accurate, detailed view of your teeth, bone and facial structures for the most precise diagnosis and treatment planning available.
Once the surgical evaluation has been completed, your surgeon will collaborate with your dentist to finalize the ideal treatment plan to meet your individual needs.
What Happens During the Treatment Process?
If the tooth to be replaced has not yet been removed, the first procedure is surgical removal of the tooth. If your surgeon determined that you do not have sufficient bone for a dental implant, you will need a bone graft in the site where the implant will be placed. In some cases, implant placement can be completed immediately following tooth removal and bone grafting. In other cases, the implant will be placed several weeks after the surgical removal of the tooth and placement of a bone graft.
Implant Placement. Your surgeon will utilize a gentle technique to prepare the surgical site and place the dental implant in the proper position. A small cover screw will then be attached to the implant. A temporary replacement tooth (or set of teeth) will usually be inserted following surgery. For a period of several weeks to a few months following surgery, the implant will be left undisturbed to allow the bone to remodel around the implant.
Abutment Attachment. Once the bone has fused to the implant and formed a strong biological bond, you will return to the surgeon’s office to have a small connector post, called an abutment, attached to each implant. The abutments are used to attach replacement teeth to the implants. Your surgeon and dentist will determine the best abutment to use for your case. This is often a custom abutment, which enables your dentist to design the ideal shape of your replacement teeth for the most natural appearance of your smile.
Replacement Teeth. The final phase of treatment is designing and fabricating the final replacement crown, bridge, or set of teeth. Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth and the abutments and send them to a dental laboratory or technician, to fabricate the replacement teeth. Your dentist will also determine the best shade and shape to match your natural teeth. Once the lab technician has fabricated your new teeth, your dentist will attach them to the abutments, which is usually the final step in the treatment process.