Dental implants are small titanium fixtures that provide a foundation for crowns, bridges or dentures. Whether you are missing one, several, or all of your natural teeth, dental implants are designed to look, feel and function like your own. Dental implants are accepted by the American Dental Association and the FDA for replacing teeth, and can help prevent or reduce the typical bone deterioration often caused when teeth are missing.

Are dental implants successful?

Research has shown that implants are long-lasting and very effective. We use the Nobel Biocare implant system. It has demonstrated a success rate of over 95% in documented studies. To ensure the health and longevity of your dental implants, it is important to practice good oral hygiene. Dr. Wood’s staff provide you with instructions for proper home care procedures to keep your dental implants and remaining teeth clean and healthy. It is just as important to maintain your regular visits to our office so we can assess the health of your implants and gum tissue. With proper care and routine check-ups, you can depend on the reliability of your replacement teeth to look, feel and function like your natural teeth for many years.

What are the benefits of dental implants?

Dental implants help to improve your overall appearance. When a person is missing teeth, the jawbone begins to shrink, making the face appear older. Having dental implants will prevent this process. They are also specially designed to look, feel and function like your own natural teeth.

Dental implants increases comfort by eliminating the pain and discomfort of removable full or partial dentures. With the constant shrinking of the jaw bone as a result of missing teeth and with the dentures sitting directly on that jaw bone and gums, the dentures can slip, thus causing irritation and discomfort.

Dental implants can help improve speech that may sometimes be otherwise slurred by dentures that slip or slide around the mouth. Dental implants will allow you to talk with confidence in a calm and natural tone.

Dental implants allow you to eat better and more confidently. By restoring chewing efficiency, you are able to eat your favorite foods with confidence and no pain. While full, upper dentures cover the palate of the mouth and reduce the ability to taste foods, dental implants allow you the freedom to taste and enjoy all your favorite foods because there is nothing covering the palate.

Dental implants also provide convenience by eliminating the grueling task of having to use a sticky denture adhesive that has to be reapplied throughout the day. Dental implants give you the confidence to laugh and smile without the fear that your teeth will fall out or pop down.

In addition, dental implants can provide protection for your remaining teeth. They are a better alternative than having a bridge when replacing one or more adjacent teeth because it eliminates the need to have to modify these teeth, ultimately providing you with a more conservative and aesthetically pleasing restoration.

How long does it take?

Usually, a complete implant reconstruction can take from four to nine months, and in some cases longer. While procedures vary depending on the complexity of the case, the implant reconstruction process takes two surgical steps before the restoration is fabricated. First, Dr. Wood (or an implant specialist, depending on the complexity of the case) places the dental implants into your jawbone. It can take up to six months for the bone cells to grow around the implants. Then, Dr. Wood or the specialist, will make a small incision in the gum tissue to connect a healing post to your implant(s). It will take an additional three to six weeks for the gum tissue to heal around the post. Once it is healed, Dr. Wood will attach the post and make the replacement tooth.

How much do implants cost?

There are several determining factors to establish a fee for dental implants, including how many teeth are being replaced and the number of implants required. Occasionally, additional procedures are required to ensure the long-term health of your dental implants. Usually, there is a fee for the surgical procedure, as well as an additional fee to attach the posts and to fabricate the replacement teeth. For a more accurate fee estimate, please schedule an examination with Dr. Wood. Following a thorough diagnostic examination, he will recommend the treatment that is best for you and provide you with a fair estimate for the procedure. Many times, the cost for dental implants is comparable to that of a fixed bridge.

Is there pain?

Like any surgery, there will be some discomfort associated with the procedure, but anesthesia and patient sedation are used to help eliminate the discomfort during the actual procedure. Very little discomfort and postoperative pain has been reported by patients. Pain medications will be prescribed to help alleviate any pain following treatment. We recommend you speak to another patient who has undergone dental implant surgery to assess their personal experience.

Who are good candidates for dental implants?

Any person who is missing one or several teeth as a result of injury, disease or decay may be a good candidate for dental implants. Dental implants may be used in conjunction with a crown or bridge to replace one or a few missing teeth to prevent the loss of more bone. If you are missing all of your teeth, dental implants will be used in replacement of loose fitting full or partial dentures. Healthy gums and an adequate jaw bone are necessary to support the implant(s). While some patients feel their old age will prevent them from enjoying the benefits of dental implants, health is more of a determining factor. There are certain chronic diseases that may prevent you from being a good candidate for dental implants. Dr. Wood and his staff will work with you individually to determine if you are a qualifying candidate for the procedure.