If you’re considering dental implants in Colorado Springs CO, we’re here to help. A dental implant can be ideal treatment option for missing or broken-down teeth. The aim is to replace your lost tooth with an artificial tooth that looks and feels natural.
At Southern Colorado Periodontics & Implants, we have advanced dental implant mapping technology. This lets us precisely plan your dental implant surgery for optimal and lasting results. In some cases, you may need advanced periodontal care before your implant surgery. This could include bone grafting to make sure you have enough jaw bone to hold the implant and sometimes gum augmentation. Your dental implant surgeon, Dr. Tullis then works with your restorative dentist who will top the implant with a crown. Dental implants don’t get cavities, but they do require routine cleaning and professional maintenance to avoid bone loss and infection. Overall, dental implant surgery is very safe and has a high patient satisfaction rate.
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Keep reading to learn more about dental implants …
Dental implants are a simple surgery that installs a prosthetic tooth directly in your jawbone. The end result looks and feels just like a real tooth. Our guide will tell you all about the process of getting dental implants from your oral surgeon.
Your Guide to Dental Implants
If you’ve lost a tooth, there are several different options for replacing the tooth. Dental implants are an increasingly popular choice. This surgery can help restore your smile to its former glory.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a two part device. A surgical-grade titanium screw (the implant) attaches directly to the jaw bone to replace the tooth root. Then a white crown slips over the metal screw to mimic the look and feel of a tooth. This crown is usually made of porcelain, but other natural looking ceramic materials are also used.
Unlike dentures, a dental implant is an immovable tooth replacement. You don’t have to take it out at night or use glue to hold it in place. Instead, it functions like a natural tooth. Implants can also connect to existing dentures to make them fit better. Once you get it installed, you can easily chew, drink, talk, and smile.
Reasons You Might Need Dental Implants
Any time you lose a tooth due to damage, injury, or other issues, a dental implant can help. Dental implants come in all shapes and sizes. You can use them to replace one tooth or a whole row of teeth. They can replace both hidden molars in the back of your mouth or prominent front teeth.
Why choose dental implants over other tooth replacement options? You might be a good candidate for dental implants if you:
- have a decent amount of healthy bone in your jaw
- have good oral hygiene
- do not have significant periodontal disease
- want the most natural looking tooth replacement
- don’t want the discomfort or inconvenience of partial dentures
- want to avoid the dentist grinding down neighboring teeth for a traditional bridge
Why See a Periodontist for Dental Implants
A study of the Journal of the American Dental Association (2014) reported that the highest success rate for dental implants were those placed by specialists. Specifically the highest success rate was by periodontists, among all types of dentists.
What Can You Expect?
There can be some variations depending on which teeth you need to replace and which implant types you choose. However, any dental implant surgery will follow these steps.
- Your doctor will take a 3D CT scan of your jaw to digitally plan the size and shape of your implant and determine if you need bone grafting
- After applying an anesthetic to numb the area, and giving sedation if you are nervous, the periodontist will implant the metal base of the implant into your jaw.
- You will wait 3-4 months to let the implant heal and fully integrate into your jaw.
- Some types of implants may require a second minor surgery to quickly place a connecting post into the jaw implant, but most do not.
- After you heal, your dentist will take impressions and will fit your artificial tooth onto the implant.
- You may attend several fittings and have checkups to make sure the implant works for you.
- The artificial tooth is permanently attached to the implant, finishing the procedure.
- You should see your dentist for routine checkups on the implant.
Average Dental Implant Costs
There can be quite a bit of variation in your implant costs. The two main components are the surgery, and the final restoration (crown or bridge) connected to the implant. Each patient is unique and variations in the cost may include:
- how much site preparation (bone and/or gum grafting) is needed to place the implant properly?
- does your dentist use premium brand or bargain brand implants?
- is your implant surgeon a specialist or a general dentist?
- do you have unresolved gum disease the must be cleared up before placing implants?
- what portion of the cost does your dental benefit plan cover?
When you come in for an exam, we can evaluate your unique situation and give you cost estimates.
How Long Will Your Dental Implants Last?
With proper treatment, the base of your dental implant can last several decades. However, research shows that 1 in 5 patients will eventually develop peri-implantitis (a chronic infection around the implant), so follow-up is crucial to catch it early and avoid losing the implant. Meanwhile, the crown of the implant may last around 10 to 15 years. Over time, wear and tear can cause the crown to gradually degrade. Therefore, you will need to plan on crown replacements every now and then. The good news is that you don’t need a surgery for each replacement.
In order to extend the lifespan of your implants, you need to practice good oral hygiene. First of all, make sure to brush twice a day and floss once a day. Get regular checkups every six months. Often your dentist will recommend an occlusal guard (bite splint) if you have any signs of tooth grinding or clenching. Finally, follow any instructions that come with your implants, such as using a soft toothbrush and wrap-around flossing technique.
Is Dental Implant Surgery Effective?
2014 research indicates that dental implants are one of the most effective ways of restoring lost teeth. While a fixed bridge is still a viable treatment option in some cases, research shows that dental implants have a higher success rates than fixed bridges. Roughly 95 percent of patients who get dental implants are satisfied with the results, and 76 percent of patients state that they are “highly satisfied.” According to people who have had dental implant surgery, some of the main benefits include:
- Improves ability to chew
- Feels comfortable
- Makes it easier to speak clearly
- Looks realistic
- Are easy to clean*
- *usually, when both the surgical placement and restoration are done properly (good reason to see a specialist)
Ultimately, dental implants are a safe and easy way of replacing missing teeth. If you are interested in trying dental implants, Southern Colorado Periodontics and Implants can help. Schedule a consultation today to get the smile you’ve always wanted.