Dental Implants
What Is A Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a metal "post" that is inserted into the bone, sometimes right after a tooth is removed. Once integrated with your bone, the implant can be used to support a crown, bridge, or secure a complete denture. The success rates of dental implants increase if a bone graft was placed when teeth were extracted, if you have good oral habits (brush/floss), minimize smoking, and receive regular hygiene check-ups. Dental implant treatment represents a slightly greater investment than conventional treatment; however, the benefits of implant therapy for most patients outweigh the minor additional cost involved.

Dental Implant FAQ

Why are dental implants a good option?

Unlike bridges, partials and dentures, a dental implant replaces the lost tooth root. A bridge, once the common single tooth replacement method, requires the alteration of each neighboring healthy tooth, which is cut down and shaped to accept a crown. With a dental implant treatment, there is no compromise to adjacent teeth. The lost root and crown is replaced leaving neighboring healthy teeth in place. Removable partials connect to healthy teeth by clasps. Partials may need to be replaced or remade often if surrounding teeth dramatically change.back to index

How will my teeth look and feel?

A single tooth supported by an implant is like turning back the clock of time. The implant replaces the natural tooth root so the jaw bone and supportive gum tissue is as vibrant as ever. Multiple single implants may support single teeth or an implant supported bridge. Dental implants may also support the base for full arch dentures to attach to which provides the look, feel and function of natural teeth.back to index

Am I a candidate for dental implant treatment?

If you are missing one or more teeth and in general good health you are a candidate for dental implant treatment. There are a few qualifying factors that need to be addressed:

  1. Quality and quantity of available bone for implant placement.
  2. Uncontrollable diabetes or other medical conditions.

Overall, there are very few conditions that would keep someone from having implant treatment. Even people who have lost a significant amount of bone can qualify for dental implant treatment; although, an additional procedure(s) to add bone or to create new bone may be necessary. Advances in this type of treatment have made it possible for most people who would not previously have been considered candidates to have successful implant treatment.back to index

Is my age a factor for Dental Implant treatment?

Providing your overall health is good there is really no age restriction. The desire to improve your quality of life is frankly a more important consideration than age. It is not unusual for people with dentures to upgrade to implant supported dentures. It provides a renewed self-confidence in their smile and speech and also provides renewed chewing stability, plus brings back foods into their life that were once possibly off limits.back to index

How long will it take to complete treatment?

Traditional treatment may take anywhere from several weeks to several months, depending upon the quality of the bone in which the implants are placed. Some implant candidates may qualify "same day implants".If an additional procedure is required in order to augment the bone, the total treatment time may be between six to nine months. Some implant candidates may qualify for "same day implants".back to index

Is a dental implant procedure painful?

Most implant patients report that the discomfort is far less than they expected, especially coupled with an extraction.. Of course you are anesthetized during the procedure, and although everyone's pain tolerance is different, most patients are very comfortable simply taking over-the-counter analgesics afterward.back to index

How long do dental implants last?

Dental implants are designed to be permanent; however, there are a few factors that may contribute to the long term success of dental implant treatment, such as health concerns, proper home care and regular check-up visits to your dentist or dental specialist.. Dental implant treatment is one of the most successful procedures in the medical-dental field, with documented success rates over 95%. Dental implants have been around for over 30 years and have closely documented clinical research that demonstrates that dental implants will be successful throughout the lifetime of a patient.back to index

Can a dental implant work with existing dentures?

Every patient's situation is unique; however, from time-to-time we can use an existing denture by altering the denture to accommodate the necessary denture attachments to fit the implants.back to index

When should a tooth be extracted and replaced with a dental implant?

There are times when it makes sense to extract a tooth and replace it with a dental implant.

  1. If a natural tooth is failing or about to fail (abscess).
  2. If a tooth has severe periodontal disease (gum disease) that has eroded the bone that supports the tooth. Sometimes in this case, it is preferable to extract the tooth which may eliminate the disease and infection, place a bone graft, and place a dental implant.
  3. When a tooth has had a root canal (nerves have been removed from the tooth) but the tooth has re-abscessed. Sometimes it's not yours nor the dentist's fault that a tooth re-abscesses.back to index

Do dental implants require special care?

Home care for dental implant single tooth and implant crown and bridge is cleaned like a natural tooth, with regular brushing, flossing and hygiene appointments. Home care for implant bridges requires an extra tool to help guide floss under the bridge. If a surgical specialist who placed the implant(s) is involved, they may want to see you at least once each year in addition to your regular dentist. These visits, combined with proper home care, are essential to the long term success pf implant treatment.back to index

What is the cost of dental implant treatment?

The actual cost of dental implant treatment is based on a number of factors, such as the number of missing teeth being replaced, the type of implant supported teeth recommended and whether additional procedures are necessary to achieve the proper esthetic and functional result. The only way to accurately estimate the cost for an individual patient is to have an examination and consultation with your dental specialist.back to index

Is dental implant treatment covered by my insurance?

Dental insurance coverage of implant treatment depends on your individual policy. Dental benefits are determined by your employer. Most insurance plans only cover the basics with an annual maximum allowable benefit of $1,000-$1,500. Most insurance plans do not include dental implant coverage; however, often they will pay the same benefit they would cover for the lowest cost alternative treatment option (partials and dentures) and some of the diagnostic records, if a specific request is made for alternative benefits. You should review your dental insurance plan and your medical insurance plan to see the coverages. Some insurance plans cover both implants and related crowns while others only cover the crown or nothing implant related. The best way to determine coverage it to contact our office at 281-534-7112 and ask how we can send a pre-determination of benefit coverage to your insurance company.
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Implant Benefits
Implant Benefits

1. Eliminates the need to "prep" adjacent teeth for a bridge.
2. Maintains the jawbone structure.
3. Feels and functions like natural teeth.
4. Does not rely on other teeth for support.
5. Replaces partial plates and may be used to secure loose dentures.
6. Cleaned and flossed like a natural tooth.

Single Tooth Implant

Do you have missing teeth? It is important to replace missing teeth for several reasons. Eating and chewing with missing teeth can disrupt your bite and possibly lead to discomfort. Missing teeth can change tooth position that often results in "fallen" or misaligned teeth. If a tooth is missing or has been extracted for any reason, a single implant can be used to replace the missing tooth. The implant is placed into the bone of the jaw and acts as the new tooth root. After the bone has healed over the implant an abutment can be placed on the implant and a crown can then be attached. This method of tooth replacement looks and feels like a natural tooth.

Multiple Tooth Implants

In cases where multiple teeth are missing or have been extracted, multiple implants can be used to bring back your smile. The implants are placed into the jawbone and are given time to heal. After the bone has healed around the implants, an abutment is attached to the implant which then allows for a crown or bridge to be placed right on the implant. These new teeth will look and act just like natural teeth.

Ask Dr. Elliott, a popular implant dentist in Dickinson, if dental implants are right for you.

Full Arch Implants

If you need dentures, have slipping with your current dentures, or are tired of being self-conscious about the thought of losing them at an inopportune moment, full arch implants are a great alternative. This is done by strategically placing implants along the upper and/or lower jaw, attaching abutments on the implant posts, and adhering implant crowns to the abutment. Once placed, full arch implants will feel and perform like natural teeth allowing you to chew with confidence.

Implant Alternatives

Unfortunately, implants cannot be used in every situation. Alternatives to implants are:

- Tooth support bridges
- Complete dentures
- Partial dentures
- No treatment

Implant Supported Dentures

This implant technique, is the optimal solution for those who have lost or are about to lose all of their upper and/or lower teeth. It's a procedure that comes closest to having a new set of permanent teeth.

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