Dental implants constitute the most significant advance in dentistry in the last 40 years. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, three million people in the US have implants and that number is growing by 500,000 a year
Dental implants are similar to traditional crowns, in which the root of a damaged tooth is capped. But when there’s not enough left of the natural tooth to support a crown, an artificial root can be implanted to anchor the crown.
The use of implants allows us to replace teeth with strong and beautiful artificial teeth that look natural and function as well as real teeth. A benefit that they have over natural teeth is that they can’t develop cavities.
Should I Get a Dental Bridge or a Dental Implant?
A New York Times article entitled “A Dental Shift: Implants Instead of Bridges”, the author contends that because of recent improvements in materials, procedures and professional experience, implants have become the best long term solution for tooth replacement.
One of the considerations in getting a bridge is the condition of the teeth next to the one that is missing. We believe in the adage, “keep a one tooth problem a one tooth problem.” If those surrounding teeth or existing crowns are in good shape, we would not recommend a bridge . This is because a dental bridge requires that the teeth on either side of the toothless space be trimmed down to support the fake tooth. Fortunately, we have the capabilities to do either procedure and can walk you through all of the considerations of each option.
What is the Process for Getting an Implant
The process to get a dental implant takes several visits over a number of months. It is done in what is called a staged surgery process.
Once we have consulted with you about your options and you have made the decision to go with an implant or implants, you will see one of our oral surgeon partners (see below). To ensure you get the very best results, we believe that the surgery part of the implant process is best done by a trained surgeon. Oral surgery residency training typically requires four to seven years of intensive medical and surgical training. In our long partnership with our oral surgeons, we have found them to provide very comprehensive treatment planning and he employs the most state of the art surgical procedures to achieve optimal results.
The first step will be for the oral surgeon to place the titanium post part of the implant into your gums. This is the part of the implant that replaces the root of your tooth. To function like the root of your tooth (e.g. making the tooth fixed to your jawbone and thus just as stable as a natural tooth) it needs to literally bond to your jawbone through a biological process called “osseointegration“. Unfortunately, there is no short cut for this process and it can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months. The good news is that this is why implants never slip or make noises like dentures sometime can.
The next stage is for you to come back to Sage Dental and your dentist here will check that the post has successfully integrated and then he or she will place what is called the abutment, or connector. This is what connects the post to the replacement tooth or crown. The gum is then allowed to heal around the abutment.
In the final stage, your dentist here at Sage will work with our state of the art lab to create and fit you with new replacement tooth or crown to go on top of the implant. Sometimes a couple visits may be required to make sure the crown is fitting perfectly as your gums heal. Once the crown is securely attached, the implant will provide excellent stability, comfort and long lasting results.
We will provide you with ongoing care instructions. If you practice good oral hygiene, eating habits and have regular dental check-ups, your implants should last a lifetime.
Total treatment time for most implant cases will typically be 5-8 months and sometimes longer if bone or gum procedures are needed.
Our Dental Surgeon Partners
Getting a proper implant requires the work of a trained oral surgeon. We partner with three of Boulder County’s best:
Dr. Bruce C. Wetmore
Dr. John R. Dodge
Dr. Alan Reisman
Note: We will coordinate all appointments with the oral surgeon, so please don’t contact them directly. We can also coordinate a free consult with these surgeons.
Dental Implants Have Three Parts
Dental Implant – A tapered or cylindrical post, most commonly made of titanium, which serves as a substitute for the tooth root.
Abutment – This is a connector which is placed on the top of the dental implant. It connects the implant to the replacement tooth.
Crown –This is the part of the implant that is visible. It is custom made to match the color and size of your natural teeth.
At Sage Dental, we will take into account your own unique situation in determining the right tooth replacement option for you. In general, if there is enough bone structure and your adjacent teeth and overall bite are in good shape, an implant is often a great choice for you.
Call us today to schedule your free consultation for Dental Implants Lafayette CO and Boulder.
Sage Dental, Your Lafayette and Boulder Colorado Dentist.
Serving the Boulder County community, including the surrounding areas of Lafayette, Longmont and Louisville.