Dental Implants

Replacing Missing Teeth With Dental Implants


What are dental implants?

A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown. If you compare natural teeth to implant-supported replacement teeth, you’ll see they have the same basic parts. Both have a crown (the visible part used to chew food). Both have a root that holds the tooth securely under the gum and is anchored into the jaw. The difference is that the implant is made of titanium – the same time-tested material used by surgeons for artificial joints. When you lose a tooth, you lose both the root and the crown. To replace the tooth, the surgeon first replaces the root with a small dental implant.

Anatomy of a Dental Implant

Dental Implant
Step 1: Implant

The implant is placed into the jawbone by your oral surgeon.

AbutmentStep 2: Abutment

The abutment is placed on top of the implant, by your dentist.

Dental Implant CrownStep 3: Crown

The crown is placed on top of the abutment, by your dentist.

     

Time is allowed for bone to heal and grow around the dental implant. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth.  A support post (abutment) is then placed on the implant and a new replacement tooth (crown) is placed on top of the abutment. In many cases a temporary replacement tooth can be attached to the implant immediately after it is placed. If all of your teeth are missing, a variety of treatment options are available to support the replacement teeth.

Surgical Advances in Dental Implants

Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Dr. Wightman is able to place single stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require a minimum of six weeks of healing time before artificial teeth are placed. There are even situations where the implant can be placed at the same time as the tooth extraction – further minimizing your number of surgical procedures.

Dental implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist.  Dr. Wightman performs the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting if necessary.  The restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.

Overview of Implant Placement in Tacoma WA

The procedure to place a dental implant takes 30 to 60 minutes for one implant and only 2 to 3 hours for multiple implants. The number of appointments and time required, vary from patient to patient. The surgeon will bring great precision and attention to the details of your case.

Prior to surgery, you may receive antibiotics and for greater comfort, intravenous sedation or nitrous oxide (laughing gas). These options are discussed with you at your consultation appointment. A local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area where the dental implant will be placed.

When you are comfortable, the surgeon makes a small incision in the gum tissue to reveal the bone, creates space using special instruments, and gently inserts the titanium implant. The top of this implant is often visible through the gum. Sometimes it is better in the early stages of healing to have the implant covered by the gum tissue.

Healing after Dental Implant Surgery

Now the healing begins. The length of time varies from person to person, depending upon the quality and quantity of bone. In some cases, implants may be restored immediately after they are placed. The surgeon will advise you on follow-up care and timing. After the initial phase of healing, the surgeon places an abutment (support post) or a healing cap onto the dental implant during a brief follow-up visit. This allows gum tissue to mature and provides access to the implant.

Occasionally, impressions are made at the time the implant is placed. This enables the crown to be ready when the implants have healed. How long your mouth needs to heal is determined by a variety of factors. Follow-up care (one to four appointments) is usually needed to ensure that your mouth is healing well and to determine when you are ready for the restorative phase of your treatment.

It may be beneficial to perform a soft tissue graft to obtain stronger, more easily cleaned and natural appearing gum tissue in the area around the implant. This process involves moving a small amount of gum tissue from one part of your mouth to the area around the implant. Most often, it is a brief and relatively comfortable procedure.

Whether it’s one tooth or all of your teeth that are being replaced, your dentist will complete the restoration by fitting the replacement tooth (crown) to the dental implant.

When are dental implants placed?

Implants are often placed several months after extraction. At times, an implant may be placed immediately after extraction of a tooth. This may involve a little more risk, but it simplifies the process—you won’t have to wait for another appointment to place the implant. When infection or other problems with the bone are present, immediate implant placement is not the best treatment.

If your tooth has been missing for some time, the adjacent support bone is likely to grow thinner and shrink. This occurs because the root of the natural tooth has to be present to stimulate the bone. As much as one third of your jaw’s thickness can be lost in the year following tooth extraction. If you are missing enough bone, you may benefit from having additional bone grafted into the area. This ensures the implant will be adequately supported when it is placed in the jaw.

How many implants do I need?

Most frequently, one implant per missing tooth is placed. Because many of the larger teeth in the back of your jaws have two or three roots, the most common approach is to replace missing back teeth with larger implants.


Dental Implant Options in Tacoma WA

Quick Links:

Illustration showing the parts of a Dental Implant

You can select from a number of different options to replace your missing teeth – from temporary to long-lasting solutions.

A good candidate is anyone missing one or more teeth, or who is unhappy with their dentures. Age is not a factor. However, smoking, diseases such as diabetes, and radiation therapy to the area, have been shown to lower the success rate of implant placement. X-rays of your jaw will be taken to evaluate whether they will accommodate implants. Detailed x-rays may also be required to determine if other tests or procedures are needed to place implants properly.

Single Tooth Replacements

Your teeth affect your whole body. When they’re healthy, you’re healthier too. A missing tooth can affect your bite, speech and eating choices. As you rely more on your remaining teeth, you increase the chance they will wear out prematurely, or be damaged or lost. You may also experience headaches and/or jaw pain.

Who would want their appearance and health to deteriorate? That’s the natural consequence of missing teeth – the jaw literally melts away. Generally, people will lose 25% of their supporting jawbone structure within the first year after tooth loss. Dental implants are more easily placed when teeth are first extracted because bone replacement becomes more complex as time passes. The great news? Implants act just like your natural teeth. They safeguard and preserve your bone structure, oral health and appearance. Your dentist and the implant surgeon will provide you with options so that you can make the most informed decision concerning tooth replacement.

Full Mouth Dental Implant

Ball Attachment Denture

One option is to have two implants placed in your lower jaw and a denture made that snaps onto these implants. This option allows your lower denture to be more stable while chewing than without implants. However, there will still be movement of your lower denture, and sore spots will occur if any food particles, especially seeds, are caught under it. As with all removable replacement teeth, you still will need periodic appointments for denture adjustment.

A mouth with the lower jaw missing all of its teeth
1. Before
A mouth with the lower jaw with two implants and no bottom teeth
2. Implants Placed
A mouth with a Ball Attachment Denture latched onto the lower jaw by two implants
3. Denture Attached

Bar Attachment Denture

Another option involves placing four to six implants, depending on your jaw size or shape, into your lower jaw. After healing is complete, the implants are connected with a custom-made support bar. Your denture will be made with special internal retention clips that attach onto the support bar, enabling the denture to snap firmly into place. This is called an “overdenture.” The advantage of this option is that it is much more stable than the first option and allows very little denture movement. Your denture is still removable for easy cleaning and maintenance.

A mouth that has all teeth missing on its lower jaw
1. Before
A mouth without teeth and four implants connected by a metal bar on its lower jaw
2. Implants Placed
A mouth with a Bar Attachment Denture secured onto the lower jaw by four implants
3. Denture Attached

Screw Retained Denture

A third option involves placing five or more implants in your jaw and attaching a permanent denture. Your denture is held in place by screws or clasps that secure it to the support posts or bar. It doesn’t touch the gum tissue, which allows you to clean under the denture without removing it. This denture will replace all your missing lower teeth and will not be removed except at maintenance visits. Although cleaning under your denture without removing it is more time consuming and requires more dexterity, many patients who want a permanent denture prefer this option.

A mouth that has all lower jaw teeth missing
1. Before
A mouth that has six implants and no teeth on its lower jaw
2. Implants Placed
A mouth with a Screw Attachment Denture affixed onto the lower jaw by six implants
3. Denture Attached

Individual Implants

The final option is to have all your teeth individually replaced so that they will appear to be growing out of your gum tissue and will most closely resemble the appearance of your natural teeth. This option usually requires eight or more implants. Separate abutments or support posts for each one of these implants will be made and crowns for each missing tooth will be placed. The teeth are often joined together for sinus grafting to replace bone height strength and support. Overall, this is the most costly option, because it requires the most implants and individual replacement tooth fabrication. Your replacement options may also be limited by the current size and shape of your jawbone.

A digital representation of a the lower jaw missing all of its teeth
1. Before
A mouth showing the lower jaw with all the teeth as individual implants
2. Implants Placed
A mouth showing the healed lower jaw after individual implants were placed
3. Healing Completed

Implant Supported Overdenture

An Implant Supported Overdenture is a contemporary restoration that has revolutionized the way surgeons and dentists think of replacing a full set of teeth. Standard dentures are unsecured prostheses with inherent limitations. Most often, dentures are painful, inconvenient and unstable. Such dentures can make chewing foods difficult, limiting the foods that you once enjoyed. Modern dentistry can help with implant supported dentures.

The Implant Supported Overdenture treatment concept replaces your missing teeth with a full dental bridge supported by dental implants. Fewer implants are needed and overall treatment time and cost is reduced. An Implant Supported Overdenture solution also ensures greater stability in the bone, reducing the need for bone graft surgery to increase bone volume. Implant-supported overdentures stay connected with bar and clip attachment methods or use a variety of abutment-based attachments (ball, magnets, and resilient stud attachments such as Locators). The most appropriate attachment system for your individual needs relates to a variety of factors that is determined early in the treatment. Typically, a temporary set of teeth can be placed on the same day of surgery. The temporary teeth allow you to lead a normal life immediately after surgery. After a short healing period, your dentist will place the final bridge. Your quality of life is improved, and you can start enjoying your favorite foods again with renewed confidence.

Implant Supported Overdentures offer you many advantages:

  • A cost effective solution. When compared to some other implant supported restoration methods, your new replacement teeth require fewer implants for each jaw. With fewer implants required, the cost is lowered.
  • Reduced need for bone grafting. The special angled placement of two of the implants ensures a secure and stable anchorage for the replaced arch, often making bone grafting unnecessary.
  • Faster treatment and healing time. Your replacement arch can be attached to your implants immediately after insertion.

Scientifically proven and documented. Implant Supported Overdentures have had good clinical outcomes from decade long studies with favorable results.

Immediate Dental Implants

TEETH-IN-A-DAY™ is a revolutionary concept providing patients with fully functioning teeth on dental implants in a single procedure that takes about an hour. This technology was developed by Nobel Biocare and utilizes collaboration between both the restorative doctor and the oral surgeon. This merging of knowledge and experience achieves not only increased safety, but also a more precise implant placement. In addition, the fabrication of a final prosthesis is completed prior to the surgery. The computer-guided implant surgery is done in an arthroscopic fashion without requiring any flap reflection. This benefits the patient in that there is less postoperative discomfort, less swelling, and less bruising. Patients can often resume their normal activities the next day.

The process begins when a CAT scan is taken of the patient’s jaw bone. This CAT scan allows for the generation of a three-dimensional model of the jaw bone that can then be used with virtual reality software to plan the implant placement without the presence of the patient. The results are a more accurate implant placement and less chair time for the patient.


Cost of Dental Implants

Dental implants have been available for several decades. However, for most patients, they are still a relatively new concept. When considering the cost of dental implants and comparing quotes, there are several important points that should be kept in mind.

Longevity

When comparing the cost of dental implants to other tooth replacement methods such as dentures and bridges, it is important to take into consideration the longevity offered by dental implants that is not always afforded by other, more traditional methods.

While dentures and bridges are initially less expensive, their affordability can be short-lived. Because these older methods require repair and replacement every 5-10 years, they are often more expensive over time. By contrast, dental implants, when properly placed and cared for, can last a lifetime.

Jaw Bone Health

Over time, when a tooth is missing, the jaw bone deteriorates. So while a denture or bridge may seem to function similarly to a tooth, underneath the surface damage is being done to the jaw bone and ultimately to the structure of the face. This can result in the distortion of the shape of a person’s face, leading to additional cosmetic costs down the road.

On the other hand, dental implants are made of titanium, which actually integrates with the jaw bone, strengthening it and stimulating bone growth. This preserves the natural strength and quality of the mouth, lessening problems in the future.

Quality of Life

Dental implants can be seen as a long-term investment not only in terms of money, but also in terms of quality of life. A dental implant is the closest thing to a natural tooth. In addition to allowing the patient to eat the same healthy foods he or she has always enjoyed, it also eliminates the day-to-day hassles and possible embarrassment that are frequently caused by dentures.

Comparing Dental Implant Quotes

There are several steps (and often multiple professionals) involved in the placement of a dental implant. When comparing quotes, it’s important to factor in the cost of each of these steps:

Financing for Dental Implants

First, check with your dental insurance carrier to see what portion, if any, of dental implants they cover.

Dental Implants are an investment in your health as well as your appearance. A full set of teeth makes eating a pleasure again, making it easier to eat a balanced, healthy diet. A full set of teeth also preserves the contours of the face, keeping you from looking old before your time.

Schedule Your Consultation

The only way to receive an accurate price quote is to call us and come in for a consultation, and we can give you a specific price for your case. Please call us at Evergreen Oral Surgery Phone Number 253-473-0651 to schedule your consultation.

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Dental Implant Placement FAQ

      

What can I use for teeth while the implants heal?

Many options are available, and they are tailored to your specific requirements. If you need a replacement tooth while the implants are healing, temporary removable teeth or a temporary bridge can be made. If all of your teeth are missing, we can usually modify your present complete denture or make you a new temporary denture. If you would prefer non-removable teeth during the healing phase, temporary transitional implants usually can be placed along with the permanent implants, and temporary teeth may be made and inserted the same day. Depending on your particular situation, some implants can be placed and “loaded” immediately. This means a temporary or permanent replacement tooth can be placed on, or shortly after, the day the implant is placed.

What are the potential problems after dental implant surgery?

Although it is natural to be concerned about the pain that may be caused by these procedures, most patients do not experience severe or significant post-operative pain. Pain medication and antibiotics will be prescribed for you to make your recovery as easy as possible. Occasionally, some people develop post-operative infections that require additional antibiotic treatment. Even though great care is taken to place the implant precisely, occasionally adjacent teeth are injured in the placement process. In addition, there is a chance that the nerve in the lower jaw, which provides sensation to your lower lip and chin, may be affected. If you are missing quite a lot of bone, it might be difficult to place an implant without infringing on the nerve space. Although we take great care to avoid this nerve, occasionally it is irritated during the procedure, resulting in tingling, numbness or a complete lack of sensation in your lip, chin or tongue. Usually these altered sensations will resolve within time, but they can be permanent and/or painful. If you notify us of post-operative numbness as soon as possible, it will allow us to manage your care in the most appropriate way.

How long will the implants last?

Implants usually last a long time. When patients are missing all of their teeth, long-term studies (more than 30 years) show an 80 to 90 percent success rate. For patients missing one or several teeth, recent studies show a success rate of greater than 95 percent, which compares favorably with other areas in the body that receive implant replacement (such as hips or knees). However, if one of your dental implants either doesn’t heal properly or loosens after a period of time, you may need to have it removed. After the site heals (or on occasion at the time of removal), another implant usually can be placed.

When are the replacement teeth attached to the implant?

The replacement teeth are usually attached to the implant when adequate healing has occurred and your jaw bone is firmly fused to the implant. Depending on a variety of factors, it may be possible to begin this phase of your treatment immediately or shortly after implant placement. We will review the most appropriate treatment sequence and timing for your particular situation.

The dental work required to complete your treatment is complex. Most of the work involves actually making the new teeth before they are placed. Your appointments are considered more comfortable and more pleasant than previous methods of tooth replacement. Frequently, this process can be performed without local anesthesia.

Your restorative treatment begins with specialized impressions that allow us to produce a replica of your mouth and implants. We will also make “bite” records so that we see the relationship of your upper and lower jaws. With this information, we will make the abutments (support posts) that attach your replacement teeth to your implants. Various types of abutments exist. Frequently, we can use “off the shelf” abutments. Other times, custom abutments must be made of gold or a tooth-colored ceramic material. As you can imagine, these custom made abutments add to the cost and treatment time involved. Which abutment to use is a decision that often cannot be made until after healing is complete and impressions have been made.

The number of appointments and the amount of time required for each appointment is different for each patient. No two cases are exactly the same and regardless of the number of teeth replaced, the work must be completed with great precision and attention to detail. If you are having only a few teeth replaced, as few as three short appointments may be required. Between appointments, we will need time to complete the necessary lab work to make your replacement teeth. It is most beneficial that you keep all of your scheduled appointments.

If your final restoration is a removable denture, you will need to come to as many as five office appointments (although it may be fewer) over the following several months. During these appointments, we will perform a series of impressions, bites and adjustments in order to make your new teeth, as well as the custom support bars, snaps, magnets, or clips that will secure your teeth to the implants. During this period, every effort will be made to ensure you have comfortable, temporary replacement teeth.

In general, once your implants are placed, you can expect your tooth replacement treatment to be completed anywhere from 1 to 12 months. For these reasons, it is difficult for us to tell you exactly how much the restorative phase of your treatment will cost, although you should receive a reasonable estimate from our office. It also is difficult to give you a specific timeframe for completion of your treatment until after the implants are ready for restoration.

How do I clean my new teeth?

As with natural teeth, it is important that you clean implant-supported restorations regularly with toothbrushes, floss and any other recommended aids. You should also visit your dentist several times each year for hygiene and maintenance. As with regular dentures and other tooth replacements, your implants and their associated components are subject to wear and tear and eventually will need repair, including clip replacement, relines, screw tightening, and other adjustments.

Will one doctor do everything?

Usually, a dental surgeon places the implant(s) and performs other necessary surgical procedures – your general dentist provides the temporary and permanent replacement teeth. Both doctors are involved in planning your dental treatment. Also, depending upon a variety of factors, different dental specialists may help with your dental care.

How much does dental implant treatment cost?

Before treatment begins, every effort will be made to give you an accurate estimate of all the expenses involved in placing the implants and making your replacement teeth. In many cases, there is an initial charge for the diagnostic work-up, including study models, x-rays, and the fabrication of a surgical template to ensure the best possible result. In addition you will be charged for the abutment or support post(s), plus the crown, dentures, or anything else that will be placed over the implants, including temporary restorations. Periodic maintenance such as hygiene visits, tissue conditioners, denture relines and other repairs will also incur additional charges.

When different doctors are involved in your treatment, you will be charged separately for their services. We will try to assist you in estimating what your actual payments will be after we evaluate your insurance coverage or other third party payments. Also, you should consider your personal financial investment in each treatment option as some insurance companies provide limited or no coverage.

Each patient is unique, and it is not possible for us to discuss every option and every contingency for treatment outcome. This website is intended to help you understand the general treatment options available to you. If your specific treatment options are not clear, please contact us.

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Evergreen Oral Surgery

5 out of 5 stars based on 10 Dental Implants reviews.

Our Latest Patient Testimonial By Theresa M

I had to have surgery to lift my sinuses for my implants. The whole staff made me feel calm with nothing to worry about. The Doctor was fabulous! So easy to talk to and he explained everything to me. Today is my day after surgery and I can’t believe I don’t really have any pain! This was actually a great experience.

- Theresa M

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial By Dennis M

I have already recommended this office to all of my coworkers just based on the experience I have had up until now.

- Dennis M

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial By Marilyn M

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- Marilyn M

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial By Linda A

Painless from start to finish....slight discomfort after implant...as one would expect. High confidence in Dr. Wight an and entire staff.

- Linda A

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial By Gary P

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- Gary P

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial By marrk J

Good

- marrk J

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial By Stanley S

This was the best experience I have ever had when getting dental work done.

- Stanley S

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial By Quang T

Very clean place, friendly staff and highly care for your health.

- Quang T

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial By Sherry m

I am so pleased with the trained staff and quality care. This is an outstanding staff!

- Sherry m

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial By Marianne C

Awesome

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