Dental Implants — Cambridge, OH | Marietta, OH
Permanently Complete Your Smile with Dental Implants
Losing one or more teeth can have severe consequences for your wellbeing. Not only do you experience a higher risk of serious oral health issues, but the function and aesthetics of your smile diminish as well. While there are many tooth replacement solutions available, the clear frontrunner is dental implants in Marietta and Cambridge. Here at Muskingum Valley Oral Surgery, Dr. Jeff Lee and his team provide the surgical placement of your implants, working closely with your general dentist to ensure your procedure is successful and stress-free. If you’d like to permanently complete your smile with dental implants or learn more, give us a call today to schedule your consultation!
Why Choose Muskingum Valley Oral Surgery For Dental Implants?
- Highly Trained Dental Implant Specialist for In-Office Placement
- Advanced Dental Implant Procedures Available
- CareCredit Financing Available & Dental Insurance Welcome
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a small post that is inserted into the jawbone where a tooth once was. Most dental implants are made of a biocompatible material called titanium, which allows them to fuse with the surrounding bone tissue in a unique process called osseointegration. In the end, the dental implant essentially replaces the roots of a missing tooth and can be topped with a custom-made restoration to restore the visible portion of your smile. Depending on how many dental implants you receive, you could replace any number of missing teeth with a crown, bridge, partial, or full denture.
While other tooth replacement options like traditional bridges and dentures only replace the crowns of missing teeth, dental implants mimic the entire structure of a natural tooth, making them the most lifelike and reliable solution available. This one-of-a-kind tooth replacement option allows you to once again enjoy a smile that looks, feels, and functions just like natural.
The 4 Step Dental Implant Process
Depending on the number of teeth being replaced and the individual patient, dental implant supported tooth replacement can be completed in just a few months, a year, or longer. The visits themselves will not be overly long, but between the placement of dental implant posts and the attachment of the restoration, patients will need to wait for their mouths to heal, typically three to six months. During this time, the dental implant fuses with the supportive bone and soft tissue mimicking the natural function of the tooth roots. We’ll walk you through the entire process during the treatment planning appointment to ensure you fully understand the time that will need to be dedicated to implant supported tooth replacement. Read on to learn more about the process of getting dental implants.
Initial Dental Implant Consultation
Before we can begin on your dental implant treatment plan, we need to understand your health history and oral anatomy. During an initial dental implant consultation, you and Dr. Lee will discuss your oral and overall health as it relates to dental implants. Smokers or patients who have been missing teeth for a long time may need to have certain precautions taken to increase the chances of success. Special scans taken with a unique type of CT scanner help Dr. Lee to plan out the treatment — ensuring proper implant placement when the time comes.
If you need to have a bone graft, sinus lift, or other preparatory procedure to make the jawbone stronger before dental implants can be placed, Dr. Lee will recommend this after the initial consultation. If not, you can skip straight to the dental implant surgery.
Dental Implant Surgery
Once the jawbone is strong and able to support dental implants, it is time to place them. Dr. Lee will open up the gums and place the dental implant(s) into your jawbone according to the treatment plan. You will be comfortably sedated throughout this process to ensure you remain at-ease.
Dental Implant Osseointegration & Abutment Placement
After the dental implants have been placed, the important healing phase begins. This is when the magic happens — the titanium implant posts promote bone growth, which helps the jaw actually fuse together with the dental implants (a process called osseointegration). The end result is dental implants that are united with your bone, just like real teeth roots.
It takes around four to six months for osseointegration to occur. Once it has, you will return to our office for your abutments. These are hook-like coverings that go on top of the dental implant posts. They help to secure the crown, bridge, or denture that will complete the process.
Delivery of Dental Implant Restorations
After the abutments have been placed, the fun begins! Dr. Lee can now place your dental implant restorations — or the visible teeth that will help you speak, smile, and eat just like you were used to doing before tooth loss.
The type of restoration you receive depends on how many teeth you have lost. An individual crown is appropriate for single tooth loss or several teeth lost from different areas of the mouth. For more significant tooth loss, you may receive an implant-supported bridge or denture. No matter what the right solution is for you, one thing is for sure — you can now look forward to a sturdy, viable tooth replacement that will last for years to come with proper care.
Benefits of Dental Implants
New advancements in dentistry give you more options than ever to replace missing teeth. However, dental implants are quickly becoming the most popular choice. When you look at how they can improve your life, it’s easy to see why! As the only tooth replacement option to replace the entire structure of missing teeth, dental implants offer a host of important benefits that choices like dental bridges and dentures simply can’t. Read on to find out how dental implants can improve your health, confidence, and quality of life.
- Eat steak, apples, nuts, and more: Your jawbone fuses to the dental implant post through a process called osseointegration. This stable foundation gives your restoration as much as 80% of your natural biting force, oftentimes more! You can enjoy your favorite foods without worrying about any slipping or irritation. They will stay firmly and comfortably in place no matter what is on your plate.
- Look younger: Preserving your jawbone and replacing your missing teeth provides your facial tissues with support. This stops premature wrinkling and sagging skin to help maintain a youthful appearance. Plus, dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that prevents the jawbone loss that occurs after tooth loss.
- Say goodbye to slipping, irritation, and sensitivity: Thanks to their unique placement, you will never have to worry about your dental implants slipping or popping out of place at embarrassing times. And since they don’t rely on your gums or natural teeth, they won’t cause any gum irritation or tooth sensitivity either.
- Keep your smile healthy: The implant post stimulates your bone to encourage new growth. This stops dental drift and keeps your jawbone strong around your remaining teeth, which will help prevent future tooth loss. You’ll lower your risk of cavities, gum disease, and other serious oral health issues while also lowering your long-term dental care expenses.
- No need to alter healthy teeth: Dental implants don’t rely on healthy teeth for support. You won’t need to permanently alter any teeth, so they can stay strong for a lifetime.
- Enjoy a long-term solution: Dental implants are proven to last for several decades with the right aftercare. In fact, with good oral hygiene and routine dental checkups, most patients enjoy their dental implants for a lifetime.
- Cost-effective treatment. Traditional restorations like dentures and dental bridges need to be replaced every five to seven years, which is both inconvenient and costly. On the other hand, the one-time cost of dental implants gives you a new smile that has the potential to last for decades to come without any problems. This can save you thousands of dollars on replacements alone!
- Dental implants are more affordable than you might believe. While dental insurance companies typically don’t fully cover dental implants, they will often pay for parts or percentages of it. Your treatment is also spaced out over several steps, each of which incurs its own fee, so you can break up the cost of your treatment over time. Our office also accepts a variety of payment options for any remaining balance, like third-party financing with CareCredit.
Who Dental Implants Can Help
Dr. Lee can treat all severities of tooth loss with dental implants if you are a candidate. Depending on how many teeth you are missing, the treatment process varies slightly. Dr. Lee will evaluate your oral and overall health, walk through your medical and dental history, and discuss past surgical experiences. If you’re in relatively good health and have not responded adversely to surgical care in the past, you are likely to complete the dental implant restoration process successfully. If you are not initially a good candidate for dental implants, he and his team can often use a few preliminary procedures such as bone grafting to help you become one.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
If you have missing teeth, good oral health, and minimal risks for complications, you are often a candidate for dental implants. Dr. Lee reviews several factors to determine if dental implants are right for you, such as:
- General health
- Oral health
- Jawbone’s density
- Patient compliance
- Lifestyle habits, like smoking
If any of these conditions are not met, there are workable solutions our team may recommend, including bone grafting. Once you mee the requirements of being a good candidate for dental implants, we can begin planning your treatment around how many teeth you’re missing.
Missing 1 Tooth
A single missing tooth is replaced with an implant-retained crown. A biocompatible implant posts is surgically placed into your jawbone. This mimics your tooth’s root while also providing a secure foundation for your new tooth. After your jawbone has healed, an abutment is attached to the post. This is a connector piece between the post and the crown. Your crown is carefully crafted to look like your remaining teeth, so no one will know it is not your own.
Missing Multiple Teeth
Several missing teeth in a row can be replaced using an implant-supported bridge. An impression of your mouth is taken to carefully craft prosthetic teeth to fill the empty space. Instead of placing dental crowns on the adjacent teeth to hold the bridge in place, an average of 1 or 2 implant posts anchors it to your jawbone. This gives your remaining natural teeth the support they need to stay in place without permanently altering them.
Missing All Teeth
A traditional denture relies on suction or an adhesive to hold the arch to your gum tissue. No matter how well it is crafted, there will always be some limitations to your biting force. Not to mention, slipping and irritation over time are common occurrences.
You can avoid the slipping and irritation of a traditional denture by anchoring it to your jawbone with dental implants. Conventional dentures rely on suction or an adhesive; however, implant dentures use an average of 4 to 6 implant posts to stabilize it. This allows you to regain as much as 70% of your biting force to enjoy a solution that closely looks and feels like your real teeth.
Understanding the Cost of Dental Implants
When determining how much you can expect to pay, there are several factors that are considered, such as if you need any additional procedures and how many teeth are being treated. Dr. Lee and his team will help you maximize your dental insurance to reduce the amount you need to pay. Our office accepts a variety of payment options to keep your new smile affordable, including CareCredit.
How Dental Implants Can Save You Money
Dental implants cost more upfront than traditional treatments, but they are more cost-effective long-term. They have the potential to last for several decades, so you will never need to worry about having them replaced. This allows them to pay for themselves over time. Not to mention, they lower your overall dental costs by preventing common issues associated with missing teeth, like a heightened risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and additional tooth loss.
Does My Dental Insurance Cover Dental Implants?
Now, many insurance carriers cover a portion of the cost of dental implants. The amount they pay varies depending on your specific policy. Although it will not pay the entire balance, it can help lower the amount of certain aspects of your treatment, like the restorations. We work on your behalf with the insurance company to reduce your out-of-pocket balance. We accept several payment options to make paying the remaining balance affordable, such as using third-party financing with CareCredit.
Advanced Dental Implant Procedures
Some patients require additional treatment before getting implants. If you have lived with untreated tooth loss, it is common to have experienced some degree of decreased bone density in your jawbone. Since the long-term success of dental implants relies on your jaw’s ability to support the posts, you may need a bone grafting procedure before Dr. Lee can place them. Bone from another area of your body or from a donor is grafted onto the weakened location to enhance the thickness of your jaw so that it can adequately support the posts. Additionally, if you’re receiving implants to replace certain teeth in the upper jaw, you might require a sinus lift in order to create enough room for them to be placed safely.
Whenever you’ve lost one or more teeth, a serious consequence of tooth loss is the gradual reabsorption of the jawbone. Since that area is no longer being used, it starts to break down. Other reasons for bone loss include physical injuries or the presence of gum disease. A weakened jawbone threatens the success of dental implants, so Dr. Lee will need to perform a bone graft before moving forward.
Bone grafting is a procedure where bone tissue is added to areas where it’s lacking. The tissue can be taken from another one of your bones, but it may also come from a cadaver or an animal. There are even examples of synthetic material being used for bone grafting. In any case, once the graft is in place, the jaw will start to create new bone tissue of its own. Eventually, there’ll be enough bone to support the dental implant posts.
Keep in mind that it can take several months for a major bone graft to fully take effect; you’ll have to wait until you’ve fully recovered before you can move on with the process. On the other hand, if you only need a minor bone graft, you might be able to have the grafting procedure and the implant placement performed during the same visit.
Your sinuses are located above your upper teeth and behind your cheeks, where some of the roots extend. If some or all these teeth have to be removed, patients often find that there’s only a very thin area of bone that separates the sinuses from the mouth; this can lead to complications during implant placement. For this reason, a sinus lift procedure is usually recommended when teeth are missing in a certain area in the upper jaw.
During a sinus lift, Dr. Lee will make an incision in the gums to expose the membrane of the sinuses. After the membrane is lifted upwards, new bone tissue (or synthetic grafting material) can be placed in the now empty space. Just as with a regular bone graft, the material will eventually become a natural part of the jaw.
Just like bone grafting, it’s usually necessary to wait several months after a sinus lift to try and place dental implants. That said, the surgery can sometimes be performed during the same visit if you already have plenty of existing bone in this area.
Maintaining & Caring for Your Dental Implant
One of the most popular benefits of dental implants is how easy they are to care for. While other tooth replacement options may require specialized pastes, cleaners, or other products, dental implants can be cared for just like natural teeth. With a few healthy habits and simple steps, you can easily count on your dental implants to last you a lifetime. Read on as we go over the five most effective ways to maintain and care for your dental implant.
Make Oral Hygiene a Priority
While dental implants cannot develop cavities like your other teeth, you will still need to practice excellent oral hygiene. This includes:
Good oral hygiene habits like these will keep your gums healthy and stave off issues like gum disease, which can potentially cause your dental implant to fail.
Eat a Healthy Diet
While dentures only bring back about 25-30% of your biting force, dental implants can restore 80% or more of your natural chewing ability! This means you should have no trouble eating all your favorite foods once again, such as steak, nuts, and apples. However, you should still strive to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Sugary snacks increase your risk of serious oral health issues like gum disease, and particularly hard foods can damage your restoration. Instead, make sure to eat plenty of foods with calcium, protein, and vitamin C to keep your smile sparkling and strong.
Break Bad Habits
A few healthy practices can help your dental implants last a lifetime, but by the same token, a few bad habits can dramatically shorten the lifespan of your new smile. Once you’ve replaced your missing teeth with dental implants, it’s important that you take the time to break bad habits like:
Protect Your Dental Implants
Do you play sports? If so, you should be wearing a custom-made mouthguard. Not only will this little appliance help protect your remaining natural teeth as well as your dental implant, but studies suggest that they may be able to help lower your risk of concussion as well.
Do you grind your teeth in your sleep? This is a condition called bruxism, and it can weaken and loosen your dental implant over time. Thankfully, with a custom nightguard for bruxism, we can help protect your smile while you sleep and promote relaxation in your jaw.
Schedule Regular Dental Checkups
Whether you’ve replaced one, several, or all your teeth with dental implants, it’s important that you still come see us for regular checkups and cleanings every six months. We’ll help you clean all the nooks and crannies that are difficult to reach at home, which will dramatically lower your risk of developing issues like gum disease or oral infections. Plus, we will monitor your dental implant above and below your gumline, which will allow us to catch any potentially problems as early as possible.
Dental Implant FAQs
Before you are ready to invest in dental implants in Marietta, we understand you have some concerns. Your implant dentist will take the time to explain everything and address your apprehensions during your consultation. In the meantime, here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions about dental implants.
Can I take dental implants out?
No, only a trained dental professional can remove them, such as in situations of failure. A titanium post is surgically placed into your jaw to replicate the root. Your bone will fuse to it through a process called osseointegration. Therefore, the implant can remain in place forever potentially. While you can’t remove any posts, some implant dentures can be taken out for easier cleaning.
Does it hurt to get dental implants?
You’ll require oral surgery to place the posts, but you don’t need to be worried about any pain because your jaw doesn’t have any nerve endings. Not to mention, your implant dentist in Cambridge will use a local numbing agent and sedative for a pain-free experience. Although you won’t feel any discomfort during the procedure, it’s normal for your mouth to be sore for a few days. You can manage it with an OTC pain reliever. Applying a cold compress to the outside of the face can numb the area temporarily while reducing swelling and bruising.
Am I too old for dental implants?
There isn’t an age limit for dental implants; however, older patients can have a slightly higher risk of complications. Certain underlying health conditions and medications can affect the body’s ability to heal and fight infections. If you have pre-existing conditions, like diabetes, or use specific medications, you can still be a candidate for dental implants; however, your dentist will take precautions to ensure the success of your procedure. It’s not unusual for older patients to require a little prep-work before their placement surgery, such as tooth extractions, periodontal therapy, or bone grafting.
What’s the lifespan of a dental implant?
A dental implant can last for 30 years or more with the right care. Various factors influence the lifespan, such as your oral and lifestyle habits. Committing to your oral hygiene at home and visiting your dentist regularly will protect your investment. Your implant dentist will recommend avoiding anything that can compromise your new smile, like using your teeth as tools or smoking. Besides keeping your smile clean and healthy, the location of the implant can affect how long it will last. Molars undergo more pressure and strain than the front teeth, so they have slightly shorter lifespans. Skipping hard and sticking foods will put less wear and tear on your dental implants.
What should I do if my dental implant feels loose?
After your bone has integrated with the post, your dental implant should never feel loose. If it feels unstable, you need to contact a dentist right away. It can be a sign of early dental implant failure. The quicker the problem is addressed, the more likely they can save your smile.