Why Should I Get Dental Implants?
Dental implant surgery is an easy and affordable restorative solution for replacing a single tooth or multiple teeth. Dental implants can support a bridge or a full fixed denture, and they are highly recommended as a secure, long-term solution for tooth replacement. Designed to provide replacement teeth that function, look, and feel like natural teeth, dental implants offer patients who have lost teeth or have failing teeth a chance to regain the ability to eat their favorite foods again, chew with confidence, and smile proudly. Our Top Dental Implant Surgeons are trusted experts at dental implant placement. Each of our oral surgeons is board-certified, which means they have the highest level of training and experience to perform dental implant procedures — so you can be sure that every oral surgeon that joins our service is qualified and highly rated by their patients.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a tooth restoration option that consists of 3 parts: a medical-grade and biocompatible titanium screw (also known as a post) which is inserted into the jaw to replace the missing tooth root; a customized prosthetic crown; and a connector called an abutment that securely attaches the implant screw/post to the crown. The implant screws of dental implants are permanently anchored in the jaw bone through a process called osteointegration, providing a sturdy foundation for a custom-made prosthetic tooth — this differentiates implants from other tooth replacement solutions such as removable dentures and fixed bridges.
The three parts of a dental implant are
- The screw (or post). Dental implants use a titanium screw which is surgically placed into the bone beneath the gums to provide a permanent replacement “root” for your new crown.
- The prosthetic crown. The customized crown is created by your restorative dentist to look just like a natural tooth. It will blend perfectly with the rest of your teeth. Crowns are typically made of durable porcelain.
- The abutment. This piece connects your custom crown to the titanium screw/post to make a completely secure and non-removable 3-part tooth replacement.
Dental implants can replace a single tooth or can be used to permanently attach fixed bridges or dentures. We encourage you to contact any of our Top Dental Implant Surgeons near you to find out if you are a candidate for dental implants.
Single Tooth Replacement
A single-tooth dental implant uses one implant post and one crown to replace a tooth you have lost from decay or trauma. A dental implant looks and feels like a natural tooth and does not compromise the health of adjacent teeth like tooth-supported bridges by requiring that your healthy teeth are ground down to support the bridge. In fact, dental implants replace your tooth root and integrate with your jaw bone, so your bone is kept healthy and intact throughout the surgery, improving your overall oral health — just like natural teeth with healthy roots.
Single Tooth Replacement Procedure
Single tooth replacement surgery is performed by an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon in several steps. In the first step, a dental implant is placed in the bone where your tooth is missing and covered with a temporary cap while it heals over the course of several weeks. During this healing time, the screw/post integrates with the jaw bone, achieving a permanent bond in the mouth. Once the fusion to your jaw bone has taken place, the oral surgeon attaches the abutment and then the crown. This completes the process and leaves you with a sturdy, natural-looking tooth that will not disrupt or damage the adjacent teeth in your mouth. Once fully integrated into your jaw and completely healed, your tooth will look and feel just like the other teeth in your mouth. You can brush and floss the tooth just as you would any other tooth and enjoy the foods that you may not have been able to eat when you were missing a tooth.
Multiple Tooth Replacement
An experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon can help you restore your smile and confidence with multiple tooth dental implants. Multiple implants are an affordable, effective, and long-term tooth restoration option that look, feel, and function just like natural teeth, making them easy to care for and manage. One of the many benefits of implants over conventional tooth replacement options is that when you replace several teeth with dental implants, you eliminate the need for an oral surgeon to grind down adjacent teeth to create an anchor for a bridge — this leaves the rest of your teeth healthy and intact.
Multiple Tooth Replacement Procedure
When replacing several teeth, the first step in dental implant surgery requires the oral surgeon to surgically place titanium posts (also called screws) into the bone below the gum tissue in the area where your teeth are missing. Once placed, there will be several weeks of healing time while the implant posts integrate securely with your jaw bone in a natural process called osseointegration. Also, during this healing time, your oral surgeon will work with your dentist to create custom-fitted crowns or a bridge that will attach to the abutments for your complete restoration. This ensures your teeth are as natural-looking as possible.
Once the surgical sites have healed, and the implant posts are successfully fused with your jaw bone, the oral surgeon will attach abutments, or small metal connectors, to the dental implant posts and the oral surgeon will cement the custom-fitted crown or bridge onto the abutments. After placement, you will enjoy a full mouth of strong, healthy teeth.
By replacing your missing teeth with dental implants, you will once again enjoy the feeling and function of natural teeth. Your dental implants will allow natural chewing ability and will restore an intact bite, so you can speak and smile with confidence as well. This safe, popular, and effective procedure also helps to cease any bone deterioration in your jaw caused by prolonged tooth loss, so your facial structure remains the same and, your adjacent teeth are not adversely affected. Dental implants for multiple teeth replacement will restore your confidence and smile, leaving you happy, healthy and able to enjoy the foods you ate prior to losing your teeth.
Dental implants for a Fixed Denture
If you are missing all or most of your teeth due to decay or trauma, you may require a full replacement option, such as a fixed denture. This option is an affordable, effective way to restore your teeth to a natural, healthy set that enables you to chew and smile with ease.
A fixed denture requires an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon to anchor a fixed denture to several implants creating a permanent set of teeth that will look, feel, and function just like natural teeth. A fixed denture is a stable, lifelong tooth replacement solution that also helps to preserve the quality of your jaw bone for a healthy looking facial appearance and better overall oral health.
Fixed Denture Procedure
The procedure to place a fixed denture is a multi-step process performed by your dentist and oral surgeon. Once a treatment plan is developed based on the state of your mouth and health, an oral surgeon will replace your lost tooth roots with titanium metal implant posts (also called screws) that are inserted into your empty tooth sockets. Your oral surgeon will then attach temporary prosthetic teeth to the implants to allow you to eat and function normally while you wait for your permanent denture. Your dentist will work with your oral surgeon to create and install a customized fixed denture that looks and feels like natural teeth.
Once the mouth is ready for the final fixed denture, your restorative dentist will secure it on top of your dental implants. This process may take several visits as your jaw bone and mouth adjust to the new set of teeth. Once the denture is secured in place, you will be able to enjoy a full set of healthy, natural-looking teeth that you can care for and manage like your other teeth. No slipping, and no uncomfortable plastic on the roof of your mouth!
It is important to remember that you will need to be as careful as possible following the installation of your fixed denture as you heal. Your dentist and oral surgeon will instruct you on the proper care and management of your new set of teeth. You will need to eat soft foods and avoid any hard or chewy foods during the healing phase. Make sure you follow instructions exactly as your doctor presents them.
All-On-4® Tooth Replacement Solution
People who are missing multiple teeth due to periodontal disease, facial trauma, or other circumstances have various replacement options today, including an advanced implant-based treatment called the All-On-4 procedure. Most tooth replacement procedures require lengthy healing periods and multiple visits to the surgeon. The All-On-4 procedure is a revolutionary technique that has made dental implant surgery more accessible and affordable than ever and is performed by many experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeons.
The All-On-4 Procedure is designed to use just four specialized implants that are placed in your upper or lower jaw, providing adequate support for a full arch of natural-looking teeth. The result is a beautiful set of teeth that will allow you to enjoy the aesthetic and functional benefits of stable and healthy replacement teeth more quickly than some of the other tooth replacement options available today. Since this surgery does not typically require bone grafting, patients with low bone density or volume are often good candidates.
This procedure is safe, requires minimal recovery time, and can be completed within two surgical visits. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will numb the surgical site prior to the procedure so you will not feel any pain or discomfort, and then place four dental implants into the jaw bone. During the 3-4 months of time it takes for the implants to integrate into your jaw bone, your oral surgeon and dentist will provide you with a custom-fitted denture to wear until your new prosthetic teeth are permanently anchored into place.
Benefits of the All-On-4® Procedure
Upon final placement of your new teeth, you will be able to once again enjoy your favorite foods, you will no longer have to worry about removable appliances that are difficult to clean and maintain, and you will experience the aesthetic benefit of a beautiful, healthy new smile.
You can continue to brush and floss your new set of teeth just as you would your other natural teeth, making maintenance and care a breeze. We encourage you to contact any of our Top Dental Implant Surgeons near you to find out if you are a candidate for the All-On-4 procedure.
Implants vs. Other Options — What are the benefits of dental implants?
When you lose teeth due to oral health issues such as cavities or gum disease, or from trauma to the face, you may have difficulty eating some of your favorite foods, such as tough meats or crunchy snacks, you may be self-conscious about your appearance, and you could even experience pain or discomfort. Luckily, today, there are several incredible options for replacing missing teeth. Your dentist and oral surgeon will recommend options to help you get your smile and your chewing ability back on track, including dental implants, bridges, dentures or others.
Dental implants have a variety of benefits not offered by other forms of dental restoration. If you are considering alternative options such as removable partial dentures, fixed bridges, or full-arch dentures, you should consider dental implants for a more permanent and healthier solution to tooth replacement.
Dental implants are the optimal tooth replacement solution because:
- Increased stability. Unlike traditional dentures and bridges, dental implants are permanently fused with the bone in your jaw — just like natural teeth! No inconvenient and unsightly removable parts!
- Enhanced oral health. When dental implants are placed, the jaw bone fuses with the implant that deters any future bone deterioration from occurring within the jaw due to missing tooth roots or advanced periodontal disease (gum disease). Also, the success of this long-term solution does not require any of the healthy neighboring teeth to be ground down or damaged, unlike other restorations that require support from adjacent teeth to carry the burden of a bridge.
- The ability to eat whatever you like. With traditional tooth loss solutions such as removable dentures, eating can be uncomfortable and even embarrassing. Dental implants function like healthy natural teeth. You’ll forget you even have an implant!
- A beautiful new smile and improved facial aesthetics. Because dental implants function in your mouth just like natural teeth, stimulating the jaw bone with every bite when you chew, your jaw and facial structure are maintained for a natural, healthy, youthful appearance.
Feel free to contact any of our Top Dental Implant Surgeons near you for a consultation appointment to learn if dental implants are the best tooth restoration solution for you.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
Multiple considerations help determine candidacy for the placement of dental implants. During an initial consultation with your experienced oral surgeon, you will have a thorough oral examination, a medical history review, and X-rays will be taken to determine if you are a candidate. For the new replacement teeth to be successful, patients must have enough bone density and have a strong immune system for the healing process. In all cases, successful dental implants require that you maintain excellent oral hygiene, and regular cleanings by a dental professional are also required.
It’s possible that your oral surgeon may determine that you require an additional procedure, such as bone grafting, for successful placement of dental implants. Many of the experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeons we recommend are highly trained in bone grafting procedures and will develop a treatment plan based on your individual oral health and condition. Please feel free to contact a recommended surgeon near you to find out about their practice and services.
If you are missing multiple teeth and find that you are not a candidate for dental implants, a dental bridge may be an alternative option to consider. Bridges are made from a variety of different metals, such as gold, alloys or porcelain. Whereas dental implants are inserted into your jaw bone, bridges are bonded to your existing teeth to bridge the gap created by your missing teeth. Bridges may be fixed or removable, but there are also implant bridges available that attach to dental implants — this option may become available to you if you consider a bone grafting procedure. Speak with your oral surgeon to learn more.
Dentures are another viable option for those who are missing multiple teeth. Whether you require a complete or partial denture, your oral surgeon will work closely with your dentist to custom design a comfortably fitting piece that fits over your alveolar bone. Complete dentures are used when a full set of teeth is needed to restore an entire upper or lower arch of missing or damaged dentition. In the case where some teeth remain that will require removal to make space for your new denture, your dentist may provide you with a temporary denture to wear until your gums have healed following an extraction procedure. In some cases, you may receive overdentures that are worn over your remaining teeth or dental implants.
Whether you choose dental implants, bridges, or dentures, it’s good to know that there are so many proven options for replacing missing teeth. There is no need to live life without proper chewing ability and a confident smile! Talk to your oral surgeon to determine which option is right for you.
Dental Implant Cost
Our Top Dental Implant Surgeons offer dental implant treatment at costs that are competitive for their areas. Our surgeons believe that everyone should have the opportunity to restore their smile, so they provide the highest-quality treatments at fair prices and generally have options for financing and accept many different methods of payment.
Several factors will determine the final cost of your dental implant procedure: the number of teeth requiring replacement; the need for additional procedures, such as bone grafting, to prepare the mouth for successful placement; and your insurance coverage. You may have seen offers for bargain implants, and we encourage you to be cautious of these claims. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are experts at dental implant placement and are the best-qualified providers to perform a thorough exam and accurately estimate the price for dental implant placement.
Investing in Dental Implants
The cost of dental implants reflects the significant value they add to people’s lives. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement treatment that can last a lifetime with the proper care. They also help to maintain overall oral health and bone density in the jaw. The benefits below are just a few of the reasons that implants are a sensible investment:
- Dental implants mimic the function and appearance of natural teeth— they look and feel so natural that you may forget that you have tooth replacements!
- Like the roots of natural teeth, the placement of dental implants in the jaw maintains proper oral function and prevents the bone from deteriorating.
- Dental implants won’t slip around or fall out of the mouth, and they have been proven to have incredible longevity if you follow the proper care routine.
Dental Implant Costs
Dental implants are the optimal solution for replacing missing teeth, and their long-term value far outweighs their cost. If you’re interested in learning more about this option for tooth restoration, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with a Top Dental Implant Surgeon near you. After a thorough oral examination, your chosen oral surgeon will give you an accurate estimate of the price of your treatment.
Dental Implant Procedure
When your oral surgeon places the implant post/screw into your jaw bone, you will be administered a local or IV anesthetic and, if necessary, antibiotics to prevent infection following the procedure. Your personalized treatment plan will depend on the number of implants being placed, whether you have bone loss and require a bone graft, and if you will require any additional procedures, such as tooth extractions. The entire process of receiving dental implants will most often involve two or three surgical visits to your oral surgeon over a few weeks or months. Your oral surgeon and your dentist will work as a team to complete the dental implant process.
The process generally goes as follows:
- Consultation. You will have a consultation appointment with your oral surgeon during which your condition will be reviewed, and a personalized treatment plan will be formed, including your choice of anesthesia. Imaging such as 3D scans will be taken to create custom surgical guides for your procedure.
- Surgery. During implant surgery, you will be under anesthesia, and the doctor will place the dental implant post in the bone beneath your gums. If you chose IV sedation, you will be asleep during the procedure and will not remember anything. After your surgery, the surgical site will be stitched, and you will have some time to rest and recover before your designated driver takes you home to heal.
- Recovery. After your dental implant is placed, there will be a three- to four-month healing time while your body works to fuse the implant in your jaw bone for a strong foundation for your replacement tooth. Patients are back to their regular routines after a couple of weeks. Your dentist may make a temporary crown for you to wear during the healing period.
- Abutment and Crown Placement. Once your implant site has healed, and the implant post has successfully integrated with your jaw bone, your oral surgeon will place the abutments. The abutments connect your new custom-built crowns to your implants. After this final step, you will be ready to show off your healthy new smile!
Our Top Dental Implant Surgeons are experts at dental implant treatments. They are looking forward to meeting you for your initial consultation to discuss your tooth replacement goals and develop a plan to restore your oral health and smile — so go ahead and contact a doctor near you!
Oral Surgeons vs. Dentists
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Oral and maxillofacial surgery is designated as one of dentistry’s nine specialty areas, and focuses specifically on treating diseases, injuries, and abnormalities of the face, mouth, teeth, and jaws.
Oral surgeons undergo specialized training, including a residency program that requires four to seven years of intensive surgical training in a clinical setting. More advanced programs incorporate training in medical school.
In addition, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are among the only specialists trained in managing facial trauma, so most hospital trauma centers have an oral and maxillofacial surgeon on staff. An oral surgeon is also specially trained in administering anesthesia so that they can provide patients with in-office anesthesia services, including intravenous (IV) sedation and general anesthesia.
This specialized training is what makes an oral and maxillofacial surgeon the most qualified specialist to perform dental implant surgery.
While many professionals place dental implants, there is a marked distinction between dentists who place implants and those who are dental implant experts. Due to the advanced, specialized training that oral and maxillofacial surgeons undergo throughout their schooling and residency, oral surgeons are the most qualified providers to place dental implants.
The relationship between the general dentist and the oral and maxillofacial surgeon is team-based and serves the patient by providing the highest quality care. General dentists typically serve as the referrers to the oral surgeon if it is determined that a dental implant is an appropriate tooth replacement option for a patient and will work closely with the oral surgeon to develop orthotics and prosthetic appliances to treat a number of aesthetic and functional oral health issues.
Bone and Soft Tissue Grafting for Dental Implants
Some patients in need of dental implants face a challenge because the area of their jaw bone where their implant will be placed has deteriorated due to prolonged tooth loss, gum disease, or other factors. Many patients who have been missing a tooth or several teeth for an extended period will need a bone grafting procedure before receiving a successful dental implant. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are highly skilled in performing bone and soft tissue grafts for implant surgery.
The grafts of bone used in bone augmentation procedures can usually be taken from inside the mouth, chin, jaw, or in rarer cases, the hip or knee. Sometimes a synthetic bone graft substitute is used to restore the affected area of the implant site. There are a few different bone and soft tissue grafting treatments available to meet each patient’s specific needs for receiving dental implants, including
Ridge Augmentation. This is a somewhat complex form of bone grafting that may be required when the alveolar ridge bone, a special type of bone surrounding and supporting teeth, has deteriorated or lost density. A ridge expansion can be performed to widen or heighten the jaw to increase the bone density where implants will be placed. During ridge expansion, the bony ridge of the jaw is split surgically, and bone graft material is inserted.
When you lose a tooth in the upper jaw, it can sometimes be a challenge to replace them with dental implants because there is not enough bone present between the upper jaw and the sinus cavity. Oral surgeons can perform a sinus lift procedure in which the sinus membrane is lifted, and a bone graft is placed below the lifted membrane. The graft will naturally integrate with the bone in the jaw over several months. Once the graft has integrated, dental implants can be placed successfully.
This procedure prevents bone loss and prepares for the success of an eventual dental implant by placing a bone graft into the empty socket immediately after a tooth extraction.
Soft Tissue Grafts. If gum recession due to periodontal disease is severe, and the gum doesn’t line up perfectly with the implant crown placement, a soft tissue graft may be used to ensure that the gum line is even around the implant. This allows the replacement tooth to look completely natural next to the other teeth. Soft tissue grafts are small pieces of tissue taken from other areas and surgically implanted in the affected area. Along with the aesthetic advantages, this procedure also helps to stop bone loss and further recession of the gums and even helps reduce pain-causing root sensitivity.
If you are having dental implants placed, bone grafting may be necessary to ensure that your implants are successful and long-lasting. The Top Dental Implant Surgeons we recommend will be happy to discuss your bone grafting options and develop a treatment plan for you based on your oral health and condition.
Dental Implant FAQ
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
If you are healthy enough to undergo minor dental surgeries like tooth extractions, and you are interested in a healthy, permanent, and cost-effective solution to your missing or failing teeth, you may find that you are a candidate for dental implants. Schedule an appointment with a skilled oral and maxillofacial surgeon like our Top Dental Implant Surgeons to find out if dental implants are the best tooth restoration option for you.
How long is the recovery period for dental implants?
Each patient’s recovery time will differ depending on their procedure and their body’s ability to heal. Most often, dental implants take between three and six months to heal well enough for full chewing capability. Most patients are back to their normal routines just a few days after the procedure, although a diet of soft foods may be required for some time. You will receive detailed post-operative instructions for dental implants from your doctor after your surgery.
Will there be pain associated with dental implants?
Once your surgical sites have healed, your implants will feel nearly identical to natural, healthy teeth. While dental implant patients will experience some discomfort the first few days after surgery, your oral surgeon should provide you with a prescription for pain medication to relieve any discomfort.
Where can I find dental implants near me?
Top Dental Implant Surgeons is the premier resource to find the best oral surgeons near you. Each of our Oral surgeons is board-certified, which means they have the highest level of training and experience to perform the dental implant procedure.
If you have other questions about dental implant procedures, the recovery period, or any of the other procedures that oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform, feel free to contact one of our Top Dental Implants Surgeons near you.
Dental Implant Instructions
The success of your dental implant treatment requires that you pay close attention to the pre- and post-operative instructions that will be given to you by your oral surgeon before your procedure. Remember, like any tooth replacement restoration, implants require ongoing excellent oral hygiene and proper care to ensure their longevity.
- You may not have anything to eat or drink (including water) for 6 hours prior to the surgical appointment. For morning surgery, no food or liquids after midnight the night before surgery.
- No smoking at least 12 hours before surgery. Ideally, cut down or stop smoking as soon as possible prior to surgery.
- A responsible adult must accompany the patient to the office, remain in the office during the procedure, and drive the patient home.
- Plan to rest for the remainder of the surgery day. The patient should not drive a vehicle or operate any machinery for 24 hours following anesthesia.
- Please wear loose-fitting clothing with sleeves that can be rolled up past the elbow and low-heeled shoes.
- Contact lenses, jewelry, and dentures must be removed at the time of surgery.
- Do not wear lipstick, excessive makeup, or nail polish on the day of surgery.
- If you have an illness such as a cold, sore throat, stomach, or bowel upset, please notify the office.
- If you take routine oral medications, please check with your doctor prior to your surgical date for instructions.
- The use of alcohol or recreational drugs can have an adverse effect on anesthesia medications. Please discontinue the use of such for at least 72 hours prior to your procedure.
- If you were prescribed medications by your doctor, please closely follow the instructions for their use.
- Women, please note: Some antibiotics may interfere with the effectiveness of your birth control pills. Please check with your doctor or pharmacist.
Post-Operative Instructions for Dental Implants
- Do NOT disturb the wound. Avoid spitting or touching the wound for a few days after surgery.
- Some bleeding or redness is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding (your mouth fills up rapidly with blood) can be controlled by biting on a gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding wound for 30 minutes. If bleeding continues, please call your oral surgeon’s office for further instructions.
- Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice bag or a plastic bag or towel filled with ice on the cheek around the surgical area. Apply the ice continuously, as much as possible, for the first 36 hours.
- Drink plenty of fluids but avoid hot liquids and hot food. Soft food and liquids are fine on the day of surgery. You may return to a normal diet 1–2 days after surgery unless otherwise directed.
- Warm saltwater rinses can be made by mixing ½ teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and should be used at least 4–5 times a day, especially after meals. This can significantly help with pain.
- Brushing your teeth and the healing abutments is okay but be gentle at first when you are brushing the surgical areas.
- Keep physical activities to a minimum for several days following surgery. Avoid bending over, heavy lifting, or strain.
Always refer to the specific instructions offered by your surgeon regarding proper post-surgical care for dental implants. It is imperative that you follow their instructions carefully to maximize your healing and improve the long-term outcome of your dental implant(s).
Thank you for trusting our Top Dental Implant Surgeons with restoring your smile. Always feel free to contact a recommended oral and maxillofacial surgeon near you for information about their practice and the services they offer.