Dental Implant Services
Cristi Y. Cheek, DMD & Kristina E. Chandler, DMD
Why Choose Dental Implants?
If you are self-conscious because you have missing teeth, wear dentures that are uncomfortable or loose, or don't want to have good teeth drilled on to make a bridge, talk to Dr. Cheek to see if dental implants are an option for you. Dental implants are a safe and effective way to replace missing teeth and are designed to blend in with your other teeth. They have proven to be the best long-term option for restoring our patients’ smiles.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is actually a replacement for the root or roots of a tooth. Like tooth roots, dental implants are secured in the jawbone and are not visible once surgically placed. They are used to hold crowns (the parts of teeth that are seen in the mouth), bridgework or dentures by a variety of means. Placing dental implants also stabilizes bone, preventing its loss. Along with replacing lost teeth, implants help maintain the jawbone’s shape and density. This means they also support the facial skeleton, and therefore, the soft tissue structures like gum tissues, cheeks and lips. Dental implants help you eat, chew, smile, talk and look completely natural.
The development of implants has been one of the biggest advancements in dentistry over the last several decades, and millions have been placed with lifelong success. Dental implants are made up of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body and have had the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device. Watch our dental implant videos for more information.
What are the Steps Involved?
There are generally three steps to getting an implant:
- First, an oral surgeon on our restorative team places the implant into the jawbone. Most patients comment that this procedure caused very little discomfort and was completed in under an hour.
- Next, we wait for a process called osseointegration to occur. During this phase the implant is becoming one with the bone as the bone grows around it. Some patients might need to wait until the implant is completely integrated, up to several months, before replacement teeth can be attached to the implant. Other patients can have the implants and replacement teeth placed all in one visit.
- Finally, we are ready to place the artificial tooth/teeth. For a single tooth implant, Dr. Cheek will customize a new tooth for you, called a dental crown. The crown will be designed to blend in with your other teeth. If you are replacing more than a single tooth, custom-made bridges or dentures will be made to fit your mouth and your implants.
What do I have to do to Maintain My Dental Implant(s)?
Implant-supported artificial teeth must be treated like “real” teeth in that they must be brushed and flossed and kept free of plaque, tartar, and food debris. The bone and gums around an implant-supported tooth can develop periodontal disease just like any other tooth. Even if ALL of your natural teeth are removed and you have artificial teeth supported by implants, you should still have regular dental cleanings and exams to maintain the health of the bone and gums around those implants.
Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
Generally if you are missing a tooth or several teeth and are in good physical health, you are a candidate for dental implants. Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or leukemia, may interfere with healing after surgery. Some medications such as those for osteoporosis can interfere with implant integration. Patients with these issues may not be good candidates for implants. Using tobacco can also slow healing. If you are interested in replacing your teeth with implants, discuss all medications and health issues with Dr. Cheek or Dr. Chandler so we can determine if implants are right for you!