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Dental implants are durable, long-lasting tooth restorations that can provide individuals with a tooth replacement that is most like their natural teeth. They are capable of blending in perfectly with the rest of your teeth for a seamless look, so you’ll never have to feel self-conscious. With proper care and maintenance, your dental implant can last for the rest of your life.
When you lose a tooth, it can change your life in several different ways. If it’s a tooth that is visible when you smile, the fact that it’s missing will be the first thing people notice about you. Even if it is in the back of your mouth, you will still be aware of its loss every time you try to chew. The good news is, by getting your missing tooth replaced with a dental implant, you won’t have to give that tooth another thought.
- What Are Dental Implants?
- Dental Implant Benefits
- What Happens if Missing Teeth Are Not Replaced?
- Dental Implant Candidates
- Dental Implant Procedure
- Dental Implant Results
- Dental Implant Alternatives
- Dental Implants Cost
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are teeth replacement solutions designed to replicate the function, feel, and appearance of natural teeth. Unlike options such as conventional dentures, the purpose of dental implants is to provide a remedy for missing teeth that actually becomes part of the mouth, offering potentially permanent results that mimic natural teeth in several ways.
A dental implant is made up of three parts:
- The titanium root, which is surgically placed into the jawbone to replace the root of the missing tooth. Titanium is a metal that is easily accepted by the body, so there is little risk of rejection. In fact, it should integrate into your jawbone during the healing process.
- The abutment, which connects the titanium root to the replacement tooth.
- The crown, which is the tooth restoration that is made to match your natural teeth for a seamless look. This is added after the implant has healed and integrated into the jawbone—usually about three or four months after surgical placement. The custom crown can often be conveniently designed and manufactured right here at our office with the use of our state-of-the-art CEREC® milling machine.
What Can Dental Implants Do for Me?
Some of the many benefits offered by dental implants include:
- Secure teeth replacement that requires no additional maintenance aside from standard brushing and flossing
- Improvement in chewing and speaking abilities
- Improvement in smile aesthetics
- No slippage or movement along the gums
- No dental pastes or other kinds of adhesives are necessary
- No dietary restrictions
- Long-lasting results that look, function, and feel as though the original tooth was never lost
What Happens if Missing Teeth Are Not Replaced?
Missing a tooth can make you feel self-conscious about the appearance of your smile, but the problem with missing a tooth goes deeper than that. Not replacing a missing tooth can impact your oral health in a number of different ways, including:
- Food can get stuck in the space left by a missing tooth, increasing your chances of developing a cavity or gum disease.
- An untreated, missing tooth can cause your healthy teeth to shift to fill in the space. This can mean undue wear on your teeth as your bite changes.
- You risk bone loss and receding gums when you don’t replace a missing tooth.
The sooner you replace a missing tooth, the less likely you will have to worry about your oral health in the long run.
Who Is a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Patients who are in relatively good overall health and have a sufficient amount of jawbone density in the areas where tooth replacement is necessary are often ideal candidates for dental implants. Adequate bone density is important because the jawbone will need to be strong enough to securely accommodate the implant. Additionally, the gums must also be in reasonably good health before a dental implant procedure. Individuals who currently have periodontal disease will need to have treatment to improve that condition before they are eligible for dental implants.
Our cosmetic dentist, Dr. Matthew Vaccaro, will perform a comprehensive oral evaluation and make a determination as to whether you are a good candidate for dental implants. Fortunately, implant dentistry has seen a number of advancements over the years, and many individuals who have been told previously that dental implants were not right for them may now qualify. If you are not the best candidate for this treatment, Dr. Vaccaro can recommend alternative options that have also proven to be effective remedies for tooth replacement.
What Happens During the Dental Implant Procedure?
The dental implant procedure essentially begins with the intricate planning necessary to provide accurate placement of the implant and results that look and feel natural. Once the surgical implantation plan has been developed, an oral surgeon will delicately insert the implant root through the gum and anchor it to the jawbone. Over the next several months, the implant should fuse to the bone and become a secure, artificial tooth root. Once that process, known as osseointegration, is complete, Dr. Vaccaro can attach the abutment and affix the permanent custom crown on the top of the implant post. After giving the crown a final polish, the implant should look and feel virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
The potential longevity of dental implant results is one of the biggest advantages of the treatment. With good oral health maintenance and regular dental office visits for routine care, dental implants are capable of lasting a lifetime.
What Are Some Alternatives to Dental Implants?
While dental implants can be excellent restorative options for some individuals, they may not be the most ideal treatment for others. For patients who are not the best candidates for dental implants, as well as those who would simply like to explore potential alternatives, there are other options that can serve as effective methods of teeth replacement. One popular example is a dental bridge. This option has been utilized for decades and has proven successful for many patients. A dental bridge can help patients who are missing a single tooth or multiple teeth in a specific area of the mouth. Patients who are missing several teeth or a full arch might want to choose implant-supported dentures. This combines the convenience of dentures with the stability of dental implants. There is also a cost savings because usually just four dental implants are needed to support a full arch. For some individuals, a traditional full or partial denture may be the most suitable option.
During your initial consultation, Dr. Vaccaro can talk with you about the most ideal tooth replacement options available and help you decide on the best solution for your unique needs and goals.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
The cost of dental implant restorations typically ranges between $1,500 to $5,000 at our practice. The total amount the entire dental implant procedure costs varies among individual patients based on the oral surgery component of this treatment, the number of dental implants that are being placed, the complexity of the procedure, whether the procedure involves the addition of a denture prosthesis (such as an implant-supported denture), the materials utilized, and other factors. If other treatments or options are included in the overall treatment plan, such as additional procedures necessary to prepare the area for the implant, these will affect the total price, as well. One of our team members here at Vaccaro Aesthetic and Family Dentistry will produce a total cost estimate once your treatment plan is created during the initial consultation so that you can get an idea of what to expect. We accept a wide variety of payment methods, including dental care financing through CareCredit®. This reputable company offers an extensive selection of installment plans with interest-friendly terms to patients who qualify. If you have questions about payment options, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Please Contact Us to Learn More
If you have lost a tooth and are considering dental implants, we invite you to contact us with any questions you may have, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Matthew Vaccaro.