Dental Implant Restorations
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a permanent teeth replacement option that closely mimics the structure of a real tooth. They are typically composed of three parts: the titanium post that replaces the tooth root, the dental crown that replaces the visible portion of your tooth, and the abutment that connects the crown to the post. At Elite Dental, Dr. Andrew E. Skasko designs custom-made abutments and restorations, offering you high quality implant results that look and feel like natural teeth. For a closer look at what the dental implant process entails, we invite you to explore the topics below.
- Dental Implant Benefits
- Dental Implant Candidates
- Types of Implant Restorations
- Dental Implant Safety
- Dental Implants Procedure
- Dental Implants Recovery
- Lifespan of Dental Implants
- Dental Implants Cost
- Dental Implant Alternatives
- Additional FAQs
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
As the most natural and conservative replacement option for missing teeth, dental implants provide several unique advantages. Whether you need to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth, a decision to explore tooth replacement with dental implants is an excellent long-term solution. Once making the choice to learn more by scheduling an implant consultation, Dr. Skasko will go over the benefits and risks of implants, helping you make an informed decision about your dental health. In general, patients who choose to move forward with the dental implant procedure can enjoy the following benefits:
- Permanent replacement for one or more missing teeth
- Prevention of gum and jawbone recession/breakdown
- Improved ability to chew and speak
- Beautiful, natural-looking results
- An implant is 8.5 times stronger than a natural tooth
- Facial and smile rejuvenation
Dental implants are often incorporated into full mouth reconstruction and smile makeover efforts—along with other cosmetic or restorative procedures—in order to improve the function and/or aesthetics of a patient’s smile.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Candidacy for dental implants is determined on an individual basis by an oral surgeon or periodontist. This may involve some diagnostic tests to evaluate your mouth, as well as a review of your medical history to ensure you are eligible for the procedure. While you will need to undergo this preliminary process to know whether you are a good candidate, those who typically qualify for the procedure exhibit the following:
- Generally good health with no conditions that may affect healing
- Seeking to replace one or more missing or severely damaged teeth
- Adequate jawbone density to support the implant post
Some patients may require some initial dental treatments before they can receive their dental implants, such as a tooth extraction, periodontal therapy, or bone grafting.
What Are the Types of Dental Implant Restorations?
Dental implants are a versatile teeth replacement option and, as such, can act as the foundation for many different types of restorations. Depending on your unique dental needs, Dr. Skasko may recommend you receive a single crown, multiple individual crowns, a fixed dental bridge replacing three teeth or an entire upper/lower dental arch, or an implant-supported denture. To determine the most appropriate option, he utilizes a cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) digital X-ray which creates a 3D rendering of the patient’s current presentation. He and his surgical team then use the CBCT scan coupled with facial and intraoral digital camera images to analyze and determine the number and location of the teeth being replaced.
If only one tooth is missing, or there are multiple missing teeth in different areas of the mouth, each tooth may be replaced with its own implant post, custom abutment, and porcelain crown. When a single tooth replacement is necessary, a tooth can potentially be removed, implant placed, and tooth restored with a temporary crown all in the same day. The tooth is then ready to place the final restoration in as little as 2.5 months.
Patients missing multiple teeth adjacent to each other may be candidates for fixed bridges or implant dentures. These options involve a set of teeth attached to the same restoration, which is anchored to the jawbone with one or more dental implants. At times, it becomes necessary to rebuild one or both of the dental arches. This may be due to extensive periodontal disease, severe cavities, or a patient that is already missing all of their teeth wearing conventional dentures. For this treatment need, Dr. Skasko offers options ranging from snap-in dentures, fixed dentures, or porcelain bridges on as little as four implants. Additionally, Dr. Skasko and his surgical team are able to offer a full complement of individual sets of bridges on eight or nine implants per arch—a treatment option that most replicates having natural teeth.
Are Dental Implants Safe?
When performed by a qualified dental professional, implants are considered a safe replacement for missing teeth. The dental implant post is composed of titanium, which allows the bone to fuse with the post over time. This material is biocompatible and does not cause an adverse reaction from the body. While implants have an incredibly high satisfaction rate, it is important that you seek a highly qualified periodontist or oral surgeon to surgically place the implants, as well as an experienced cosmetic dentist to design and affix your custom-made crown or other restoration to the implant. By doing so, you can expect the utmost precision with your surgery and high-quality results you can enjoy for years to come.
What Can I Expect in the Dental Implants Procedure?
Once you have been evaluated and the treatment team has determined you are a good candidate for dental implants, you can begin the placement process, which typically involves the following steps:
Step 1: A periodontist or oral surgeon along with Dr. Skasko carefully plan the details of your dental implant procedure. The surgeon places the titanium posts into the optimal locations for the restoration you will be receiving. A temporary restoration can then be attached to your implants until the final restoration can be placed.
Step 2: Over the course of about one to three months, the jawbone should gradually fuse to your implant, a process called osseointegration, making the implant a permanent part of your mouth. Once the single or multiple implants have become securely anchored, the final step of your procedure can be performed.
Step 3: To complete your dental implant procedure, Dr. Skasko and his laboratory technicians will custom-design your abutments and restorations. Whether you receive a crown, implant-supported bridge or denture, your restoration is tailored to look natural and fit comfortably in your mouth.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants are considered a permanent solution to missing teeth. Worth noting, however, is that porcelain crowns and other restorations are still subject to wear and tear, and may need to be replaced after several years. On average, porcelain crowns and fixed bridges can last about 10 to 15 years. Excitingly, with the advent of some of our newest implant systems, customization of abutments, denture teeth, dental ceramics and bonding agents, we will likely see implant crowns, bridges, and denture lifetimes approaching 20+ years! To prolong your dental implant results, Dr. Skasko and The Elite Dental Team utilize only high quality, durable materials. Dr. Skasko will educate you about how to care for your implants and restorations, helping you maintain your beautiful results for as long as possible.
What Can I Expect During Dental Implant Recovery?
There are two broad phases of recovery after dental implant surgery. The first phase occurs immediately after surgery and typically lasts for 10-14 days. At this point, your gums may be somewhat sore and swollen, and it is important to consume primarily soft foods in order to avoid disturbing the surgical site. Most patients find that most of the swelling subsides within the first few days, and any discomfort is typically quite manageable with over-the-counter pain medications. Implant recipients are often able to return to work a day or two after surgery.
The second phase of healing comprises the majority of the osseointegration phase. After your implant(s) are placed, they will typically need between one and three months to fully fuse with the jawbone. During this time, you should not experience any significant discomfort, but it is important to follow all of your dentist’s aftercare instructions and avoid smoking so as to optimize your chances of implant success. Once the osseointegration phase is complete, Dr. Skasko can place your customized abutment and restoration. The end goal of every implant procedure our team performs is a functional, natural-looking smile that leaves you beaming with confidence.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
Since the dental implant procedure is highly customized, the cost will vary from patient to patient. During the planning process, you will be provided with a personalized cost quote to help you understand how much you can expect to pay. In general, the total cost of dental implants will be influenced by the following factors:
- Number of implants being placed
- Type of restoration required
- Experience of your oral surgeon and dentist
- Geographic location of the dental professionals
- Dental technicians used for the procedures
- Type of material used to fabricate teeth, bridge, or denture
- Specific surgical procedures required
What Are My Alternatives to Dental Implants?
While dental implants are often the preferred method of replacing a missing tooth, some individuals may need an alternative. If you are not a good candidate for implants or would prefer another replacement option, there are other solutions that can effectively restore the look and function of missing teeth. Bridges and removable dentures are both popular options for replacing teeth that do not require the surgical procedure and downtime involved with implants. Although these do not provide some of the long-term benefits as implants, they can be highly beneficial replacement options for the right patients.
Additional Dental Implant FAQs
Do Dental Implants Hurt?
The installation of implants is generally not a painful procedure. Patients are usually administered local anesthetics or alternative sedation methods to ease discomfort during the surgical parts of the procedure. As the jawbone fuses to the implant, you may experience a certain degree of discomfort, but any soreness or swelling can typically be managed with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. Feel free to contact our office in the rare event of feeling excess pain.
Are Dental Implants Covered by Insurance?
The cost of dental implants depends on a few different factors, such as the number of implants installed and specifics of the procedure. Because some insurance companies cover implants and others do not, we encourage you to reach out to your insurance company to learn about your plans’ benefits and weigh your options. You are also welcome to contact our office with specific financial questions.
How Do You Maintain Dental Implants?
The most important aspect of dental implant maintenance is practicing daily oral hygiene. An implant is meant to feel as though it is a natural part of your mouth, and needs to be taken care of as such. After your procedure, it is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, and attend your scheduled exams. Using non-abrasive, low-fluoride toothpaste is known to maintain shine and functionality.
If you notice a problem with your implant restorations, we recommend you contact us immediately. As a renowned restorative dentist, Dr. Skasko can help repair your implant for lasting results.
Do Dental Implants Look Natural?
Dental implants are designed to emulate the natural color, shape, and functionality of your teeth. Most people will not be able to tell the difference between an implant and a natural tooth. Because Dr. Skasko has years of experience with implants and other restorative procedures, our patients are usually very satisfied with the aesthetic quality of their implants.
How Long Is the Dental Implant Procedure?
The full length of the entire process, including the steps we mentioned above, will vary depending on the patient’s unique needs. When a single-tooth implant is being placed, expect to have a fully completed restoration in as little as three months. With multiple-tooth implants, the implant restoration(s) may take up to a year, depending on the implant placement process.
Will I Need a Bone Graft Before Getting Dental implants?
In cases where a patient has lost a significant amount of jawbone density after losing a tooth or teeth, a bone graft may be recommended prior to receiving a dental implant. Bone grafting is designed to stimulate jawbone development, creating a more stable, secure foundation for the implant. Dr. Skasko can help determine whether this will be necessary during your consultation.
What Causes Dental Implants to Fail?
Although rare, dental implant failure can occur when the implant post does not successfully fuse with the gum tissue and jawbone during the osseointegration phase. The most common cause of dental implant failure is infection, which can impair healing and cause the oral tissues to reject the implant. Other possible causes include insufficient jawbone density, traumatic injury, and poor implant placement. Patients who smoke also suffer significantly higher rates of implant failure, which is why we recommend that dental implant candidates refrain from smoking before and after their procedure. Fortunately, Dr. Skasko and the team at Elite Dental are highly trained and experienced when it comes to planning and placing dental implants, and we work with top oral surgeons to optimize your chances of implant success.
What Can I Eat With Dental Implants?
For the first few days to weeks after implant surgery, Dr. Skasko may advise you to consume primarily soft foods—such as scrambled eggs, protein smoothies, and soups—so as to avoid disturbing your new implant(s). After the first 10-14 days, most patients are able to gradually resume a regular diet, while still being cautious when consuming particularly hard or chewy foods. Once the osseointegration phase is complete and your final restoration is in place, your chewing function should be nearly the same as with your natural teeth. That said, in order to ensure the longevity of your implant restoration, it is important to be careful when consuming hard or pitted foods—like nuts or cherries—to avoid unnecessary wear on your new tooth or teeth.
If you have any questions, or would like more information about dental implant procedures, please feel free to contact us. It is our pleasure to help you find a convenient time to meet with Dr. Skasko and discuss the best treatment options for your needs. Our team looks forward to changing your life with the amazing possibilities of dental implants.