The self-consciousness caused by missing teeth may be impacting many areas of your life. When you are too embarrassed to smile, you may have trouble interacting with others in a confident manner.
The dentists at the Spring, Texas, dentistry practice Stephens & Gatewood want you to love your smile. If you are missing teeth, we want to help you find the best way to replace them, and dental implants are one of the best tooth replacement systems.
- What Are Dental Implants?
- Dental Implant Candidates
- The Dental Implant Procedure
- Mini Dental Implants
- Implant-Supported Dentures
- Advantages of Dental Implants
- Choosing an Implant Dentist
- How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
- Dental Implant Cost
- Ongoing Dental Implant Care
- Finding Out If You Are a Candidate
Dental implants are total replacement of a missing tooth, from root to crown. Considered the best tooth replacement option by many, dental implants come closest to mimicking the look, feel, function and fit of a natural tooth, thereby joining optimum cosmetic dental benefits with durability and performance.
A dental implant restores the entire tooth. While it of course replaces the upper, visible portion of the tooth, it also replaces the root of the tooth below the gums. The following are the major parts of a dental implant:
- Root: The titanium post is implanted in the boney ridge beneath the site of the missing tooth. This root replacement is what sets dental implants apart from dentures and dental bridges. When you lose a tooth root, the bone in that area begins to resorb and shrink, which is often what causes a shrunken lower jaw appearance in some elderly adults. The presence of a tooth root – or the presence of a replacement root – keeps the bone stimulated and healthy.
- Abutment: This piece connects the root to the crown. It may be made of titanium or porcelain. It looks like a tiny tooth-shaped peg, and it will be screwed onto the implant and will sit above the gums, where a tooth restoration is placed over it.
- Crown: The tooth restoration is the replacement of the visible "crown" of the tooth. It's what shows when you smile. Dental implants can be topped with single dental crowns, attachable dentures or an attachable dental bridge. The dental restorations used by our dentist offer both optimal aesthetics and durability.
Dental implants provide the perfect combination of ideal function, form and comfort.
The only way to know if you are a candidate is to visit the experienced dentists at Stephens & Gatewood. Here are some of the main aspects of candidacy:
- Missing one or more teeth
- Desire to replace missing teeth with a durable, long-lasting option
- Generally good overall health
- Willingness to commit to the length of treatment, which potentially lasts several months or longer from start to finish
- Willing to cease smoking, if you are a smoker
You may have heard about the issue of insufficient boney tissue. Some patients do not have sufficient bone in the area to support an implant. In such cases, the risk of implant failure is high. But just about all of these patients are good candidates for a bone grafting procedure, which augments bone in a targeted area. Therefore, even if you aren't currently a good candidate, a bone graft can get you to a point where you are a candidate.
You'll first visit us for a consultation and exam, during which one of our four experienced dentists will make sure you are a good candidate. Then begins the actual process of placement.
The first step is the oral surgery to implant the root into the boney ridge beneath your gums. Using advanced technology, our dentists will have mapped exactly where they want the titanium post placed.
The next phase is called "osseointegration." That term refers to the fusing of the implant with the bone. During the healing process after surgery, your bone will accept and adhere to the post, creating a very durable bond. This can take several weeks or longer, but it's essential to the long-term performance of your dental implant. You will have a temporary tooth restoration during this time.
Next you will receive the abutment and tooth restoration. Your teeth will be scanned to create the dental crown, dentures or bridge. The replacement teeth are color-matched to your natural enamel for a seamless result.
And that's it! Your dental implants should last for decades, potentially a lifetime, without issues. Remember to practice good dental hygiene and visit the dentist for your routine checkups.
Certain people are good candidates for mini implants. Slightly smaller in size, they are sometimes a good option for patients that do not have sufficient bone for conventional implants.
Because they are smaller, the implantation surgery and the recovery are shorter. The process can often be completed in one appointment. Mini dental implants tend to have a less secure bond with the bone, but they can be a great option for certain people. Ask our dentists if they are right for you.
If you want dentures with enhanced stability, then implant-supported dentures may be a good option. You will receive a customized, aesthetically pleasing denture, but it snaps onto a series of dental implants. Special hardware connects the implant to the denture. These dentures may be removable or fixed in place, depending on the circumstances of your situation.
For good candidates, there are many benefits to choosing dental implants:
- Look like real teeth
- Feel like real teeth
- Provide an optimal chewing surface
- Provide a highly secure fit
- Potential to last a lifetime
- Success rate around 98 percent
Dental implants aren't right for everyone. Dental bridges or dentures may work better for you. Because there is more than one option, it is important to meet with a caring, skilled dentist who will explain all of the options that will work for you. Your dentist will then help you choose the one that meets your expectations.
Your implant dentist is in charge of managing the entire process. It is important to choose one whom you trust. We encourage you to schedule a free initial consultation and office tour with us, so you can meet the dentists and get to know us.
We want you to learn about our qualifications, skills and customer service as you choose a dentist. To arrange your visit, please call our Spring, TX dental office at 281-320-2000.
Dental implants tend to be one of the longest-lasting ways to replace missing teeth. With good dental hygiene and avoidance of bad habits (such as chewing ice cubes or biting pen tips), your dental implants have the potential to last a lifetime. Although it's not unheard of for something to happen that necessitates replacing the crown or implant.
The cost is variable. It is influenced in part by our geographic region – for example, implant dentistry costs in New York City tend to be more expensive than most parts of Texas – as well as materials used and the specifics of the procedure. The type of restoration will also impact the price.
When you visit our office, we will go over all aspects of cost with you. We will help you review your insurance policy to see if any coverage is provided. Stephens & Gatewood offers financing options that we will also describe, in case you want to apply for affordable financing.
Wondering about the maintenance of dental implants? Another great thing about them is that they do not require special care.
Continue to brush, floss and visit the dentist for routine cleanings. Although the actual implant and other artificial components cannot decay, all of the surrounding natural tissue can. Keep your gums healthy and strong by practicing great oral hygiene.
Ready to learn more about dental implants? If you live in Spring, Conroe, The Woodlands, Magnolia, Tomball or any of the surrounding areas in Texas and want to find out if you are a good candidate for these restorations, please call Stephens & Gatewood Dentistry at 281-320-2000. Your initial consultation is free!