Dental ImplantsIf you lose one or more teeth due to periodontal disease, or another cause, there is hope. Dental implants change the way people live. They provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts that protrude through the gums are then attached to the implant. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth. Dental implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
If, like many others, you feel implant dentistry is the choice for you, the first step is a complimentary consultation appointment. During these consultation visits, Drs. Meraw, Plonka or Lopez-Torres will address your specific needs and considerations. Your questions and concerns are important to us and our team will work closely with you to help make your procedure a success. We will also discuss fees and insurance at this time. There are many types of insurance plans, and coverage for implants is varied. We will be happy to assist you in obtaining any benefits to which you may be entitled.
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two steps:
- First, implants are placed within your jawbone. This procedure is performed with local anesthesia (numbing) for your comfort. Sedation options are also available. After the procedure, if discomfort is present it is generally mild and usually controlled with over the counter medication such as Advil or Tylenol. For the first three to six months following the surgery, dental implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. Your family dentist or one of our doctors can provide you with a replacement tooth.
- Second, the implants are uncovered after they have bonded to the jawbone. Drs. Meraw, Plonka or Lopez-Torres will uncover the implants and attach a small healing collar. After a few weeks, you will see your general dentist who will make your new teeth and connect them to the implants. The entire procedure usually takes from three to eight months. Most patients do not experience any disruption in their daily life.
What Types of TEETH are Available?
- A single crown: replaces one missing tooth – each tooth attaches to its own implant.
- A partial prosthesis (fixed bridge): replaces multiple teeth and may require only two or three implants.
- A complete dental prosthesis (fixed bridge): replaces all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants varies.
- A removable prosthesis (overdenture): requires fewer implants
- A fixed prosthesis: is permanent and removable only by a professional
Dr. Meraw and Dr. Plonka perform the implant procedure in the office and most patients return to daily activities. Dr. Meraw and Dr. Plonka have received extensive training in Dental Implantology. Through continuing education, we are abreast of the most current information on implant dentistry.