Traditional replacements for missing teeth, like dentures and dental bridges, might look like your natural pearly whites, but they still leave a lot to be desired. That’s because they only bring back the visible crowns of the teeth, not the root structure hidden beneath the gumline. For that reason, they don’t quite feel natural. At Lifetime Dental, Dr. Shue Her often recommends dental implants to patients looking for a more lifelike and long-lasting tooth replacement. If you’re missing a single tooth or several teeth and want the most comprehensive solution to replace them, give our dental office a call to schedule a consultation to discuss dental implants in Gainesville, GA.
Dental implants are small titanium cylinders that are surgically inserted into the jaw to recreate the roots of missing teeth. Titanium is the preferred material for dental implants due to its biocompatible properties. After their surgical placement, the implant posts fuse to the surrounding bone and tissue through the months-long process of osseointegration. Once this process is finished, Dr. Her can install a custom dental crown, bridge, or denture on top of the implants. In the end, you’ll have replacement teeth that look, feel, and function just like the genuine article!
Although dental implant treatment takes longer than getting a denture or bridge, implants can provide a lifetime of healthy smiles if you take good care of them! The dental implant process varies slightly on a case-by-case basis, but here are the four basic steps:
The benefits of dental implants in Gainesville are many. In fact, once you begin to make a list and notice the differences between them and more traditional prosthetics (i.e., dentures, dental bridges), you quickly become aware of just how wise of an investment it is to choose dental implants. With more than 500,000 placed each year and more than 3 million people living with them in the United States, it’s easy to see why they are the gold standard for tooth replacement. Their longevity, stability, functionality, and ability to improve jawbone stimulation and oral health make them far superior to other solutions. They also provide patients like yourself who are suffering from tooth loss a chance to enjoy a better quality of life.
Since dental implants are incredibly versatile, you can replace teeth in a multitude of ways. Whether you’re missing a single tooth, multiple consecutive teeth, or all the teeth in your arch, implants can be used to restore your smile to the fullest. Below, we briefly explain how we get it done in each scenario.
Replacing a single tooth requires one implant to be placed directly into the jaw and given several months to heal. Once your bone and gum tissue have healed around the implant, we can place an abutment, which is used to stabilize the implant crown. The crown used to restore the implant is made from all-ceramic material, typically porcelain, for the most natural-looking esthetics.
Unlike traditional dental bridges, implant bridges do not require the removal of existing tooth enamel just to have them placed. A pair of dental implants can lay the groundwork for a strong three or four-crown bridge.
By using a series of dental implants, typically four to six, we can create a stable foundation for your new partial or full denture, whether it’s fixed or removeable. In this way, implant dentures actually help you save money on dental costs overall.
The cost of your dental implant treatment largely depends on your needs. Keep in mind that if the upfront costs seem high, it’s because treatment is akin to other long-term investments designed to last you for decades at a time. Furthermore, dental implants are a tooth replacement option that provides its own unique restorative benefits. Since many factors go into your final cost, we’re happy to discuss treatment with you in great detail during your consultation. Here’s a brief preview of what you can expect when you arrive.
For starters, if you need to have preparatory treatments to make implant placement viable, such as bone grafts, periodontal therapy, or sinus lifts, this will increase overall costs. If you are told you need one or multiple of these procedures before receiving dental implants, it’s because they ensure the long-term health and success of your tooth replacement.
The same applies depending on the extensiveness of your tooth loss. If you need to have multiple implants placed, this increases the length and complexity of your oral surgery. The amount of anesthesia used to make your treatment not only comfortable, but possible, will also influence your final costs.
Thankfully, because our office keeps the entire process in-house, you can expect your fees to be more compact and easier to understand when all is said and done.
When multiple implants are needed to rebuild your smile, more materials are required to make these implants. In most cases, that material is titanium, a specialized resource that is biocompatible with bone and gum tissue. Like cars or other highly customized items, there are different makes and models of dental implants that work better or last longer than others, which influence your final price tag. Of course, our team is happy to explain why we use certain implants over others and how they make a difference in your tooth replacement.
With more implants come more complex dental restorations to complete your smile. For example, a single implant only requires one dental crown to cover the post and fill the gap in your mouth. However, a pair of implants will need a bridge and several implants will need a dedicated denture. The larger the restoration, the more time and materials are needed to craft it.
Dental insurance does not cover dental implants in most cases. However, you may be able to receive partial coverage for preparatory treatments or restorations used during the tooth replacement process. Our team will review your plan’s benefits to confirm if coverage is available for any phases of your care. If there is coverage, it will likely be only for a specific percentage of the cost.
If you do not have dental insurance at this time, there are other options for you to consider to make your dental implants affordable. For example, financing through CareCredit allows you to make monthly installments on more expensive services like dental implants with little to no interest attached. This makes more costly services affordable even to those on a budget. You may also be able to save money on preventive services by signing up for our in-house Lifetime Club, a patient membership plan that provides guaranteed rates on preventive services and discounts on other in-house treatments.
At Lifetime Dental, we understand that making the choice to replace your missing teeth with dental implants in Gainesville is a huge decision. That’s why we go out of our way to make sure that you have all of the facts and information you need to feel confident in your treatment choice. When you visit us for an initial consultation, we’ll walk you through the procedure step-by-step so you know exactly what to expect. In the meantime, we’ve answered some common questions we receive from our patients for your convenience.
Whether you’re having a single implant placed or many, the procedure itself should be virtually painless. In fact, most of our patients are able to go back to their daily routine the very next day. We typically administer a local anesthetic to numb your mouth before we insert the implants. Plus, the bone where they’re placed has very few pain-sensing nerves.
For the few days following your dental implant surgery, you may experience some soreness and general discomfort around the implant site. Typically, it’s nothing that can’t be remedied with over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen. Using an icepack and a soft-food diet can help you make a speedy recovery and reduce any possibility of swelling.
If dental implants are properly cared for, they can last for up to 35 years. After your restorations have been permanently placed, your dentist in Gainesville will provide you with aftercare instructions so you can get the most out of your replacement teeth. Since they’re the closest solution to your natural teeth, you can care for them in the exact same way. Be sure to brush twice each day, floss, rinse with antibacterial mouthwash, and visit our office every six months for a professional checkup and cleaning.
Not every patient that gets dental implants is a perfect candidate to begin with. Remember that just because you may not possess all of these qualities right now, it doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t get implants. It just means that you may need a preparatory procedure such as gum disease therapy or a bone graft beforehand.
Here are some qualities that make the best dental implant candidates:
Just because you smoke doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t an eligible candidate for dental implants. Although, it’s important to know that smoking increases your risk of gum disease, slows down your healing process, and can ultimately result in implant failure. If you’re considering investing in this tooth replacement solution, consider quitting smoking so you can enjoy your new smile for longer.