Missing teeth can cause people to feel self-conscious and make them want to hide their smile. Having these gaps can also make it difficult to speak or chew properly. In addition, having one or more missing teeth can lead to more severe oral problems in the future. The surrounding teeth can start to shift; your jawbone may start to recede, causing a sunken facial appearance; and you become more susceptible to gum disease. Fortunately, with dental implant solutions, you can prevent these issues.
As an experienced prosthodontist, Dr. Dean E. Kois specializes in improving his patient’s smiles and dental health through the placement of dental implants. Dr. Kois uses the highest quality of materials available so that your dental implants give you a smile that is not only beautiful, but durable and long-lasting.
- What Are Dental Implants?
- Dental Implant Candidates
- Ceramic Dental Implant Benefits
- Ceramic vs. Metal Dental Implants
- Types of Dental Implant Solutions
- Dental Implants Safe
- Dental Implant Procedure
- Dental Implant Before & After Photos
- Dental Implant Recovery
- Dental Implant Lifespan
- Dental Implant Maintenance
- Dental Implant Cost
- Dental Implant Alternatives
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a teeth replacement option that involves a post—typically made of metal or ceramic—that is surgically placed into the jawbone where the missing tooth root is. A dental crown or other restoration is then affixed to the top of this implant post to replace the visible portion of the tooth. By replacing the full structure of the tooth, patients can complete the look of their smile, restore oral function, and prevent health issues in the future.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
You may be considered a good candidate for dental implants if you have the following:
- One or more missing teeth
- A tooth or teeth that are damaged (cracked, chipped, etc.)
- Healthy teeth and gums
- Sound overall health (no serious medical conditions)
What Are the Benefits of Ceramic Dental Implants?
Zirconia dental implants are a metal-free alternative to titanium implants that is made of a durable ceramic material. These tooth-colored implants can be especially beneficial for the right candidates. The material is hypoallergenic and offers more favorable biocompatibility with the body. The entire dental implant is composed of ceramic, offering a highly natural-looking outcome. Since the device is a single piece, there is no connective space that could potentially hide dangerous bacteria, which helps lower your risk of developing an infection. Ceramic implants offer the additional benefit of being placed in a one-stage process, without needing a secondary appointment to place the permanent restoration.
Why Choose Ceramic vs. Metal Dental Implants?
Ceramic and metal (titanium) dental implants both have the potential to provide successful outcomes for patients wanting a permanent teeth replacement. While each option has its pros and cons, there are factors that make ceramic more appropriate for certain individuals. As a hypoallergenic material, zirconia is more suitable for those with metal allergies. It may also be the preferred option for patients concerned with metal implant posts causing discoloration, which can occur if the titanium post becomes visible along the gumline or at the base of the crown. Although each implant material has its unique benefits, the best option for your needs will ultimately be determined during the diagnostic and planning stages of your dental implant process.
What Are the Different Types of Dental Implant Solutions?
The dental implant procedure is customized for each patient based on their individual needs and preferences. Depending on the specifics of your case, one of the following implant solutions may be recommended:
Single-Tooth Dental Implants
If only one tooth is missing, a single-tooth dental implant is recommended when possible. This is a standalone tooth replacement that looks and functions just like a natural tooth.
If multiple teeth are missing, a fixed bridge supported by one or more dental implants can offer a secure replacement, without needing a separate implant post for each missing tooth.
Implant-supported dentures, such as the All-on-4 dental implant method, are a highly beneficial solution for patients with several missing or severely damaged teeth. They offer a more life-like replacement compared to traditional dentures.
Are Dental Implants Safe?
When performed by a qualified dental professional, dental implants are considered a safe procedure with long-lasting results. However, as with any surgery there are certain risks to the dental implant procedure. Although rare, patients are at risk of complications such as infection, nerve damage, and implant failure. To maximize your safety and the success of your procedure, it is important to follow your doctor’s pre- and post-operative care instructions to lower your risk of any problems.
What to Expect from the Implant Placement Procedure
Dr. Kois knows that each patient and their needs are unique, which is why he customizes a treatment plan to fit your needs using the latest and most advanced technology. Using the cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scan, he will first create a detailed 3D digital image of your mouth and jaw, and use it to plan your procedure. This includes using the 3D image to first place your dental implants “virtually,” a process that allows you to get an idea of what the end result will look like before even having the procedure, while also allowing Dr. Kois to plan for a precise placement of your dental implants.
The procedure itself involves Dr. Kois making a small incision in the gums and placing the implant underneath the gums, into the jaw bone. In cases where a patient doesn’t have sufficient jaw bone volume to support an implant, Dr. Kois may use a bone graft to strengthen the jaw bone. One or more replacement teeth, such as a crown or implant-supported denture, are then attached to the implant posts. Dental implant placement causes only minor discomfort, as a local anesthetic is used during the procedure. Whether replacing one or several missing teeth, the dental implant placement procedure is typically performed in one office visit.
Dental Implant Before & After Pictures
What Can I Expect During My Recovery?
Most of our dental implant patients experience very little discomfort after the procedure; in fact, they often don’t even have to take time off of work. Other patients — namely those who have had a more complex procedure involving techniques such as bone grafting — may experience some mild swelling and bruising of the gums and minor bleeding and discomfort. These effects are temporary, only lasting about two or three days after surgery. For these patients, Dr. Kois will prescribe pain medication that they can use to manage any discomfort, if necessary.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Since dental implants fuse with your jawbone to become a permanent part of the mouth, they should last several decades if not your lifetime. While a successful dental implant may never need to be replaced, the restoration affixed to the top is vulnerable to wear and tear over the years. Dental crowns, bridges, and other solutions can break or become loose. While dental implants allow you to eat your favorite foods again, we recommend avoiding hard items, like hard candy and ice, as these can put excess pressure on the restoration and lead to breaks. In addition, if you grind your teeth, you may be recommended a treatment, like night guards, to protect your restoration.
How Do I Clean My Dental Implants?
Dental implants require no additional maintenance beyond routine oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing. Although the implant material will not decay, your surrounding gum and bone tissue can still be damaged if not cared for properly. This is why in addition to maintaining a good daily hygiene routine, you should return for twice-yearly dental exams and professional cleanings to preserve your oral health.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
The cost of a single-tooth dental implant averages about $3,000 to $4,500. However, this total can greatly vary based on factors like:
- Expertise of the dental professional
- Geographic location of the practice
- Dental implant material being used
- Complexity of the case
Although they may have a higher upfront cost, dental implants are a very cost-effective treatment compared to other tooth replacement options. They are an investment in your oral health that can last for decades, if not a lifetime, when cared for properly.
Are There Any Alternatives to Dental Implants?
Dental implants are considered the gold standard in tooth replacement options, but they may not be appropriate for everyone. For those who are not good candidates for single-tooth implants, they may be recommended a bridge or denture that is anchored by one or more implants. This allows the patient to receive the enhanced stability of implants and reduction in jawbone recession, without the need for several implant posts. If an individual is not eligible for any dental implant solutions, or would prefer a different tooth replacement option, Dr. Kois is experienced in placing traditional bridges, partial dentures, and full dentures. These solutions can be highly beneficial for the right candidates. During your appointment, he will introduce all viable options, explaining the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision about your dental care.
Call Us to Re-Build Your Smile
Would you like to learn more about how dental implants can give you back a full, functional smile? To learn more about the dental implant options offered at Kois Dentistry, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kois, please contact our office today.