Dental Implants

Dr. Miller placed his first dental implant in 1989. The advances in dental implant dentistry have changed so rapidly that today, dental implants are not only routine procedures in the office, but in many cases are the standard of care.  Today, over 50% of the practice is dedicated to dental implant therapy. This will continue to grow as patients often come in to the office requesting dental implants for themselves and information for other family members. This includes their children who are congenitally missing teeth and parents/grandparents who are having trouble with there removable appliances.

Dental implants have a long-term success rate of 97%. This high degree of predictability has significantly changed the way in which cases are treatment planned.  Bone grafting procedures are also highly predictable.  Grafting allows patients who otherwise may not be candidates for dental implants to experience the benefits of a cosmetic and functional dentition by replacing their missing teeth with implants.

 What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a small titanium screw that serves as the replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. Dental implants can be placed in either the upper or lower jaws. Due to the biocompatibility properties of titanium, a dental implant fuses with the bone and becomes a good anchor for the replacement tooth. Dental implants can be used in solutions for replacing single or multiple missing teeth.

Why dental implants?

There are a number of reasons why you should consider a dental implant:

Without the root structure of a natural tooth present, the jawbone can shrink. This shrinkage will make your face look older than it is. This loss of bone will continue over time and often makes wearing a denture very difficult. Dental implants are not susceptible to decay (caries) so in patients with a high cavity rate, this is an excellent option. Also, dental implants allow you to replace missing teeth without preparing ("cutting down") the adjacent teeth and because dental implants are not connected to the adjacent teeth, it makes flossing and home care easier. Dental implants are stable, comfortable and look and function as natural teeth. No adjustment is needed after placement and it is a long-term solution.

How much do dental implants cost?

The fee for tooth replacement with dental implants depends on several factors, including the number of teeth being replaced and the number of dental implants required to support your replacement teeth. Some additional procedures may be required prior to the placement of your dental implants to ensure the long-term health of your dental implants. To obtain a specific fee estimate, it is necessary to have a Dr. Miller examine your mouth. After a thorough diagnostic examination, Dr. Miller will present you with a written estimate

Who is a Candidate?

Anyone who is missing one or more teeth due to injury, disease or tooth decay may be a candidate for dental implants. Generally, the determining factors are the amount of available bone and the functional and esthetic outcome. Dr. Miller will determine if you are a candidate for dental implant therapy.

Is old age a problem?

Occasionally, older patients express concern that their age may prevent them from enjoying the benefits of dental implants. However, health is more of a determining factor than age. If you’re healthy enough to have a tooth extracted, you’re probably healthy enough to receive dental implants. Certain chronic diseases may contraindicate dental implant treatment. To date, our oldest patient to have dental implants is 91 years old!

What are the advantages of dental implants over dentures or a dental bridge?

Improved appearance: When you lose the entire tooth - crown and root - shrinkage of the jawbone may cause your face to look older. Dental implants can stop this process. A traditional denture or dental bridge does not.

Preserve natural teeth: With traditional dental bridges, teeth adjacent to missing teeth are normally ground down to be used as anchors for a dental bridge. Dental implants often eliminate the need to modify healthy teeth.

Permanent solution: There are no loose parts to worry about losing.Dental implants are stable and comfortable. No adjustment is need after placement. Normally, it will serve its owner for life.

Easier Oral Hygiene:  Since dental implants are not connected to the adjacent teeth, home care and flossing can be much easier.

How will dental implants affect my life?

Dental implant-supported replacement teeth look, feel and function like natural teeth. This means that you can eat and drink whatever you choose. But most importantly, dental implants often improve quality of life in a very concrete way. People who have felt embarrassed and worried because of their tooth problems are often overwhelmed by what new permanent teeth can do for their self-esteem.

Will my new teeth look natural?

When dental implants are used in combination with modern restorative dentistry, their appearance, comfort and function are very likely to exceed your expectations. Often they are hard to tell apart from your natural teeth.

Will I be able to chew with the same force and pressure I use with my natural teeth?

Yes. Following a brief adaptation period, chewing capacity is comparable to that of natural teeth.

How much time is required for a dental implant placement?

Advances in dental implant therapy have allowed for greatly reduced healing times and easier surgeries. Very often only one surgical procedure is needed to place a dental implant. Even if bone grafting is needed, this can often be addressed at the same time as the placement of the dental implant. For areas where there is adequate bone, only 10-12 weeks is needed for healing before the new teeth can be made. During the healing process, you will be provided with a temporary appliance to replace the missing teeth should they be in a cosmetic area.

Is the treatment painful?

Most patients are pleasantly surprised by how little discomfort they have after surgery. With any surgery, there can be some discomfort. Generally, the amount is related to the extent of the surgery. For those patient who are very anxious, Dr. Miller offers oral sedation as well deep sedation by an anesthesiologist. Most patients report that they were much more comfortable following the procedure than they had anticipated. Dr. Miller will prescribe pain medication and antibiotics after surgery to ensure that you will be comfortable and infection free. Ask your dentist to recommend another patient who has already had tooth replacement therapy to assess their personal experience.

How will I feel after the treatment?

Unless you are sedated, you will be able to drive yourself to and from the office. We recommend relaxing the day of surgery but you should be fine to return to work the next day. Generally, bruising and swelling are not common and mild if they do occur. Discomfort, if any, is treated with an ordinary painkiller.

How will I care for my dental implants?

It is important to think of your dental implants are natural teeth. Your new teeth must be cared for and checked regularly, just like your natural teeth. Brush and floss as recommended by Dr. Miller or his dental hygienists and see your regular dentist for routine check ups.

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