A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically anchored into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place. The benefit of using implants is that they don't rely on neighboring teeth for support and they are permanent and stable.
How do dental implants work?
Once the root part of the implant is "bonded" to the bone, it is ready to be used. An artificial tooth is placed directly on top of the implant. In some cases, several implants are placed. Here, the implants are connected to a bridge. A bridge is a number of teeth (usually 3-4) that are bonded together. The two ends connect to the implants. By doing this, many people avoid needing removable dentures at all.
How many teeth can be replaced with implants?
You can replace a single tooth, multiple teeth or all your teeth with implants (View Examples). You don't even need one implant for every missing tooth. As few as two Implants can support a removable lower denture, while as few as four implants can provide a full, permanent set of top or bottom teeth.
Can anyone receive dental implants?
Dr. Leitner's will be happy to discuss whether you are a good candidate; however, there are some limitations. You must be in good health and have the proper bone structure and healthy gums for the implant to stay in place. People who are unable to wear dentures may also be good candidates. If you suffer from chronic problems, such as clenching or bruxism, or systemic diseases, such as diabetes, the success rate for implants decreases dramatically. Additionally, people who smoke or drink alcohol may not be good candidates.
What can I expect during this procedure?
First, Dr. Leitner's performs surgery to anchor the "artificial root" into or on your jaw bone. The procedure is done in our office with local anesthesia. The gum is then secured over the implant, which will remain covered until it fuses with the bone. This usually takes about 3-6 months. The dentist then uncovers the implant and attaches an extension, or post, to the implant. With some implants, the implant and post are a single unit placed in the mouth during the initial surgery. Finally, the dentist makes an artificial tooth, or crown, that is attached to the implant post. It will be as if you never lost your tooth.
How long does the implant process take?
The process can take up to nine months to complete. Each patient heals differently, so times will vary. After the implant and posts are placed surgically, the healing process can take up to six months and the fitting of replacement teeth no more than two months. Sometimes, if a patient has good bone quality, posts can be placed and replacement teeth fitted in one appointment.
How do I care for dental implants?
Poor oral hygiene is a big reason why some implants fail. It is important to floss and brush around the fixtures at least twice a day. Dr. Leitner will give you specific instructions on how to care for your new implants. Additional cleanings of up to four times per year may be necessary to ensure that you retain healthy gums.
What is the cost of implants?
Since implants involve surgery and are more involved, they cost more than traditional bridgework. However, some dental procedures and portions of the restoration may be covered by dental and medical insurance policies. Dr. Leitner's team can help you with this process to make your dental implants as affordable as possible.