What is a dental implant?

Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements for one or more missing teeth.  Under local anesthesia, implants are gently and precisely placed as an anchor for a natural looking crown, bridge or denture.  An implant is often as stronger than your original tooth and because they are made of titanium, they never break and they never get decay.

What are some of the benefits of dental implants?

Dental implants restore the natural appearance and function of missing teeth, making them the ideal way to restore your smile.  In addition to restoring your natural chewing and speech, they can resolve the joint pain or bite problems caused when teeth begin to shift  following tooth loss.  Some of the benefits include:

  • Aesthetics – dental implants give a secure, natural appearance to crowns, bridges and dentures.  They look and feel like your natural teeth

  • Function – restorations on dental implants (such as dentures, bridges or crowns) are securely fixed and do not require adhesives.  Speaking and eating is comfortable and natural

  • Less Invasive – unlike traditional fixed bridges, crowns are placed directly on the implants, leaving your adjacent teeth unaffected

  • Health – dental implants fuse with your bone structure which stimulates the bone to stay healthy.  Bone loss and gum recession that is usually seen with fixed bridges and dentures is reduced

  • Reliability – dental implants have a success rate of over 97%.

How long will my dental implant last?

Dental implants are extremely strong, stable and durable.  In fact, with proper maintenance and regular dental care they can last a lifetime.  Good oral hygiene, healthy eating habits and regular dental visits will help maintain your new implants.

How long does it take to get dental implants?

In general, the implant process takes several visits.

  • First is an initial evaluation by Dr Kiel, where you will have time to discuss everything.

  • Once the implant is placed, you will typically have 3-6 weeks of healing time for the bone to “integrate” (i.e adhere to the implant).

  • You will than be fitted for the abutment (an abutment is a small piece that screws into the implant, and this is what the crown will be cemented to). index1(Click image to right)

  • After a quick diagnostic check for integration, Your abutment will be placed. your crown, bridge or denture can be created for your final beautiful restoration.

Each step of the way,  you will receive complete instructions and have opportunities to ask Dr. Kiel questions.  Follow up care includes your good home care and regular hygiene visits where we will check the implant and surrounding tissues to be sure everything stays healthy.

Not adequate bone

Loss of bone can be caused by a variety of factors, including infection, trauma, and periodontal (gum) disease.  If a patient lost a tooth long ago and is just now looking into dental implant surgery, the bone in the area of the lost tooth may have degenerated to some degree and need to be augmented before it can support an implant.

A patient’s need for bone grafting may become apparent at the time of their pre-surgery calibrated X-ray. Depending on the location of where the planned implant is going to go, we might suggest a CT (computed tomography) scan.  Having a CT scan done will tell us the height and width of you bone and if you are a candidate for immediate placement or if you need a bone graft to augment your ridge.

Sometimes, inadequate bone  is not discovered until the dentist actually begins dental implant surgery. In this case, the dental implant procedure will be stopped and bone grafting will take place (after the patient has agreed to that procedure).  Patients will then wait for that bone graft to integrate with their bone before a second attempt is made to place the implant.

How long after bone grafting can I get my dental implant?

It takes several months for the grafted material to fuse with your existing bone.  Therefore, Dr. Kiel typically waits 3-4 months to place dental implants after the bone grafting procedure.  After your grafting procedure, Dr. Kiel will monitor your healing and keep you updated as to when the implants can be placed.

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