A missing tooth can impair the function of your mouth, making eating, drinking, and speaking more difficult. From an aesthetic standpoint, a missing tooth not only leaves a gap in your smile, but can also allow the surrounding teeth to shift position, eventually leading to functional bite issues. When cosmetic dentist Colin Morton, DDS replaces a missing tooth, he can do more than simply revitalize the beauty of your smile; he can restore the integrity of your bite, help you regain lost functionality, and prevent more costly repairs in the future. To do this, he utilizes dental implants.
- What Are Dental Implants?
- Benefits of Dental Implants
- Dental Implant Candidates
- Types of Dental Implants
- Dental Implant Procedure
- Dental Implant Results
- Dental Implant Cost
- Are Dental Implants Safe?
- Do Dental Implants Hurt?
- Dental Implant Alternatives
- Dental Implant FAQs
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are an advanced tooth replacement option that are designed to look, feel, and function just like natural teeth. Unlike many other tooth replacement methods, implants are designed to replicate the entire tooth structure—including the root—enabling them to offer superior durability, stability, and functionality. They do not require special oral hygiene care, and can instead be maintained just like normal teeth with routine brushing, flossing, and dental visits. Furthermore, since the implants are securely anchored to the jawbone, many of the inconveniences associated with removable dental appliances can be avoided, including slipping and chafing along the gumline. Dr. Morton has helped many patients restore dental function and achieve beautiful, healthy, more youthful-looking smiles with dental implants.
What Are the Top Benefits of Dental Implants?
Dental implants offer numerous benefits for individuals seeking a stable, long-lasting solution to missing and/or significantly damaged teeth:
- They do not require oral glues or messy adhesives to remain in place
- No surrounding teeth have to be modified, such as with traditional bridges
- They function just like natural teeth when biting, chewing, and speaking
- The restoration on top can be custom-shaped and colored to seamlessly blend with surrounding natural teeth
- They require no special care or maintenance apart from regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings
- They help protect against jawbone deterioration that can occur if a missing tooth goes unreplaced
- They are immune to decay
- They have an extremely high rate of success when placed correctly by an experienced dentist
- In the long-run, they can be more cost-effective than other tooth replacement methods as a result of their exceptional durability
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
For qualified patients, dental implants are regarded as the most effective, most comfortable, and longest-lasting tooth replacement solution available. You may be considered a good candidate for dental implants if you:
- Are interested in replacing one or multiple missing and/or damaged teeth
- Are seeking a more comfortable, stable, and durable alternative to dentures
- Have ample jawbone density to properly anchor the dental implant(s)
- Do not have any medical issues or health conditions that could jeopardize healing following the placement of the implant(s)
During a consultation at our practice, Dr. Morton can evaluate your specific needs, goals, and oral health to determine if dental implants would be an appropriate tooth restoration option. If it is decided that you are a good candidate, he will discuss the intricacies of the procedure in full detail, allowing you to make an informed decision about whether or not you would like to proceed with treatment. In the event Dr. Morton determines that you are not a good candidate for dental implants, he will recommend potential alternatives that can help restore the function and aesthetics of your smile based on your unique situation.
What Types of Dental Implants Are Available?
At our practice, Dr. Morton offers dental implant options to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, and even a full row of teeth. The information below can help you determine which type of implants may be most appropriate for your needs and smile goals.
Single-tooth implants can be an excellent solution for the replacement of individual teeth. With this option, an implant post is anchored into the jawbone in the area vacated by the former tooth, and a dental crown that is shaped and colored to blend seamlessly with adjacent teeth is fixed to the tip for a natural-looking result.
Multiple Teeth Implants
For individuals who have three or more consecutive missing or damaged teeth, multiple dental implants may prove to be an ideal option. Depending on how many teeth are being replaced, anywhere from two to six implant posts can be secured in strategic positions along the jawbone in order to hold a multi-tooth restoration—such as a dental bridge, partial denture, or full denture—in place.
Traditional dentures and partial dentures can be inconvenient, messy, and even embarrassing. Though they are intended to help you regain the ability to speak and chew, many patients complain about their lack of confidence with traditional dentures since they can shift around or “drop” while they are speaking. However, by using four to six dental implants (per arch) to secure a denture or partial denture in place, many of these inconveniences can disappear, serving as a cosmetically appealing, more stable, comfortable form of tooth replacement which will allow you to be more confident in social situations.
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How Is the Dental Implant Procedure Performed?
There are typically two stages involved in the dental implant process. The first stage encompasses the insertion and fusion of a titanium post to the jawbone. This post is designed to replicate the root of a natural tooth, preventing jawbone decay and providing a secure, durable base for the crown restoration. Dr. Morton will precisely plan out the angle and placement of the implant in order to optimize the outcome of the procedure. The post will then be allowed to fuse with the jawbone over the course of several months. A temporary crown can typically be placed during this period. After the implant has healed and fused with the jawbone, patients will return for a second appointment, during which the permanent custom crown will be placed atop the implant. The color, shape, and size of the crown is customized to each patient to ensure that it blends in with the surrounding teeth for a seamless, comfortable, and natural-looking restoration.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
The actual dental implant post generally becomes a permanent part of the mouth with proper oral care—this includes brushing and flossing on a daily basis, as well as scheduling routine checkups and cleanings as recommended by your dentist. The custom crown, denture, or other restoration secured to the top of the implant(s) can also provide long-term results when appropriately cared for, typically lasting many years (and sometimes even decades).
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
The cost of dental implants will depend on numerous factors specific to each case, including how many implants are placed, what type of restoration is utilized, and whether or not any treatment—such as periodontal care or bone grafting—is required to optimize oral health beforehand. For more specific information about what comprises the price of dental implants, please click on the button below.
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Are Dental Implants Safe?
When performed by a dentist who is highly skilled and experienced in implant dentistry, dental implants are generally considered a safe tooth replacement option for qualified candidates. That said, there are inherent risks with any form of surgery, and dental implant surgery is no different. Some complications that can potentially arise include poor healing, infection, micromovement of the implant, or implant failure. Fortunately, the possibility that any of these issues occurs can be greatly minimized by choosing the right dentist, as well as closely following all pre- and post-operative instructions provided.
Dr. Morton has successfully performed dental implant surgery for numerous years, and he utilizes the latest, most advanced techniques and technologies available to help maximize both the safety and efficacy of treatment. In the rare event a problem does manifest, it is important to get in touch with our practice as soon as possible so Dr. Morton can resolve the issue in a timely manner.
Do Dental Implants Hurt?
In most cases, local anesthesia is all that is necessary to reduce—or even eliminate—the potential for pain during dental implant surgery. For those who are particularly anxious and/or prone to heightened levels of discomfort, Dr. Morton also offers several methods of additional relief, including nitrous oxide. Commonly called laughing gas, this sedation dentistry technique helps to create an increased sense of calm throughout the dental implant procedure, quickly wearing off after treatment with no major side effects.
In the initial stages of healing, some degree of tenderness and soreness can be expected, but these temporary symptoms should steadily decrease and can usually be easily managed with medication until completely resolved. In the end, Dr. Morton’s dental implant patients typically note that very little pain or discomfort was experienced, and the overall process was much smoother and more stress-free than they had envisioned.
Are There Alternatives to Dental Implants?
For patients who are not considered good candidates for dental implants, or for those who simply prefer another tooth replacement option, Dr. Morton offers several alternatives to dental implants that can restore both form and function to the smile. Traditional dental crowns can often be a good option for “capping” a damaged or decayed tooth that does not require extraction. In the event tooth extraction is necessary, a traditional dental bridge can be used to fill the gap left by a single tooth or multiple adjacent teeth. Dr. Morton can discuss these treatments—and any additional options—with you in full detail during an appointment at our practice.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Implants
How many dental implants will I need?
In the case of single-tooth implants, the number of implants that you may need is dependent on the number of missing teeth you have. In cases where the implant(s) are being used to anchor a dental restoration, such as a bridge or an implant-supported denture, your dentist will need to evaluate a few different factors—such as your jawbone density and the location of the teeth in need of replacement—before making a recommendation. When placing implant dentures, Dr. Morton typically uses between four and six implants to anchor the restoration. He also offers the All-on-4® technique, which anchors a denture appliance using just four implants. This technique can sometimes enable even those with significant jaw deterioration to receive implant dentures.
How do I care for my dental implants?
One of the primary benefits of dental implants over other restorative treatments is that they do not generally require special care beyond good oral hygiene habits and routine dental cleanings. Brushing and flossing at least twice a day can help prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria, which can erode the tissues surrounding the implant and compromise your overall oral health, potentially resulting in implant failure.
Patients should also avoid placing unnecessary stress or wear on their implants. While the materials used to create both the implant and the crown restoration are quite durable, they can still be damaged by excessive force, just like normal teeth. As such, Dr. Morton recommends that patients avoid using their teeth as tools and exercise caution when eating particularly hard foods. If you are prone to grinding your teeth—a condition known as bruxism—he may recommend that you wear a nightguard to protect both your implant and your natural teeth from excessive wear.
How successful are dental implants?
Advances in dental technology have made it so that dental implants have an extremely high success rate in most cases. With proper care and the expertise of an experienced implantologist like Dr. Morton, dental implants can last for decades. In order to optimize the chances of implant success, Dr. Morton will carefully plan out the precise angle and placement of each implant. Once the implant is successfully placed, it is the patient’s responsibility to follow all aftercare instructions, maintain good oral hygiene, and schedule regular dental visits. These visits will allow your dentist to continuously evaluate the health of your implant(s) and prevent harmful bacteria from eroding the surrounding supportive tissues.
Honesty, transparency, and patient welfare are important to Dr. Morton, and after evaluating your oral health, he will go over any factors that may increase the likelihood of implant failure. In some cases, he may determine that a patient does not have adequate jawbone density to support the required number of implants. In these cases, he will go over alternative options with you, including implant-supported dentures, traditional dentures, and dental bridges. He may also recommend that a patient undergo bone grafting in order to restore lost jawbone density, allowing patients to improve their chances of receiving a successful implant.
What causes dental implants to fail?
Although rare, dental implants can fail for a variety of reasons, including poor oral health, improper implant placement, jaw or gum tissue degradation, traumatic facial injury, excessive stress or wear on the implant, and smoking. While some of these factors are unavoidable, most can be mitigated by maintaining good oral hygiene, taking precautions to avoid dental or facial trauma, and carefully following your dentist’s aftercare instructions. It is also important to ensure that your implants are placed by an experienced and qualified implantologist. Dr. Morton is a fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, and he understands the importance of careful planning and precise placement when it comes to maximizing implant success.
Does smoking affect dental implants?
Research has indicated that smoking can negatively impact dental implants in several ways, and smokers generally have a higher rate of implant failure. This is because smoking can increase the risk of infection and inhibit proper healing, preventing the implant from properly fusing with the surrounding tissues. Furthermore, smoking can also inhibit saliva and oxygen flow to the oral cavity, leading to further gum and bone decay and possible long-term implant failure. That said, many people who smoke can receive successful dental implants. It is generally recommended that patients stop smoking at least one month prior to implant placement. Ideally, patients will not resume the activity after receiving implants. Your dentist can provide more detailed aftercare information, including an estimated timeline of healing, during your consultation process
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If you would like more information on dental implants, or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.