Dental Implants

Living with dentures or partials can mean giving up certain foods, little confidence in your smile, and can be very uncomfortable. For most people, dental implants can be used to completely replace your dentures, make them more stable, or allow you to get rid of your partial. Your chewing ability and appearance may be dramatically improved with implants. Many patients have missing teeth without any replacement, leaving various sized gaps in their smile.  Leaving gaps in your smile can be dangerous.  If a space is left unrestored, many things happen slowly over time without you being aware they are happening.  Adjacent teeth will tilt sideways and drift into the space.  The bone and gums around the missing teeth will shrink throughout your lifetime making your options for restorations diminish due to lack of bone in those areas.  Although you may feel ok without your teeth, with implants you can feel more secure knowing that your bite is supported, your remaining teeth are not overly stressed, and you can avoid future dental problems.


What Is An Implant?



An implant is a man-made Titanium replacement for the roots of your teeth. We can place crowns/caps, bridges, or dentures on top of the implants with a connector called an abutment.


How Many Teeth Can I Replace?


Implants can be used to replace a single tooth, or multiple teeth.  They can support crowns/caps or bridges to fill these spaces. A traditional tooth-supported bridge can also be used to replace multiple teeth, but this requires cutting down the teeth. Research has shown the lifespan of a crown/cap or bridge to be around 7-10 years before it needs replacement.  Looking at the short-term, a tooth bridge can be completed quicker and with less expense, but over your lifetime it can be the most expensive and least conservative option due to the fact that it will not last forever.  In the right enviornment with the proper treatment planning, implant teeth and bridges can last for decades.


Can They Replace All My Teeth?



Implants can be used to support partials or complete dentures. As few as two implants in the lower jaw can make a complete lower denture much more stable and create a much better quality of life by fabricating an implant-assisted denture.  Four to six implants in the upper jaw can allow an upper implant denture to cover less surface area, allowing you to enjoy the taste, temperature, and feel of your food.  As many as 5-8 implants may be used to completely replace your denture with a permanent implant-supported denture/bridge that will simulate real teeth.


Can Implants Go In When My Tooth Comes Out?


The implant surgeon wants the best possible scenario for you and your new implant in order to heal properly.  Implants can be placed on the same day that the tooth is removed if certain criteria are met, but if those criteria are not met it will be placed later after minor healing in that area once the tooth is removed. Implants can also be fitted for temporary teeth immediately after placement. While this is not right for everyone, this may be a good option for you. Dr. Howell can discuss the differences between these options with you.