Dental Implants

If you lose one or more teeth due to periodontal disease, or another cause, there is hope. Dental implants are changing the way people live! They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These titanium post anchors act as tooth root substitutes.

The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. At the appropriate time in healing, an abutment, or extension, is attached to the implant. These abutments provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth. Dental Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.

Evaluation and CT Scans

If, like many others, you feel implant dentistry is the choice for you, we ask that you undergo a dental/radiographic examination and health history. Dr. Vest may feel a CT Scan is needed prior to placement of dental implants. The CT Scan will give an accurate view of the bone present, the sinuses and any abnormalities as well as the location of the mandibular nerve. This scan will be provided in our office. If a CT Scan is taken, Dr. Vest will review the findings with you as well as your restorative dentist. During your consultation visits, Dr. Vest will address your specific needs and considerations. Your questions and concerns are important to us and our team will work with you very closely to help make your procedure a success.

We will also discuss fees and insurance at this time. There are many types of insurance plans, and coverage for implants is varied. We will be happy to assist you in obtaining any benefits to which you may be entitled.

The Surgical Procedure

For any procedure in our office, our patients are given the option of IV sedation to ensure their comfort during procedures. For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. Healing time following surgery varies from person to person and is based on a variety of factors, such as hardness of bone.

For the first three to six months following the surgery, most dental implants are beneath or level with the surface of the gums, gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear a temporary appliance during this period of the implant(s) integrating. In some cases, the implant may be immediately temporized.

After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Dr. Vest will uncover the implants if needed, or change the small healing collar that may be visible to you at the gumline. After this visit, you will be scheduled with your general dentist to start making your new teeth. Most patients do not experience any disruption in their daily life.

What Types of Prosthesis are Available?

A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing tooth each prosthetic tooth attaches to its own implant. A partial prosthesis (fixed bridge) can replace two or more teeth and may require only two implants. A complete dental prosthesis (fixed bridge) replaces all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended. A removable prosthesis (over denture) attaches to a bar or ball in socket attachments, whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by a professional.

Dr. Vest performs in-office dental implant surgery in a hospital-style operating suite, thus optimizing the level of sterility.

Dr. Vest has received extensive training in Dental Implantology and is a Diplomate in the International Congress of Implantology. Through continuing education, Dr. Vest is abreast of the most current information on implant dentistry.