If you're missing one or more of your teeth, a dental implant is a permanent solution for replacement. Dental implants are made of a titanium screw that gets inserted into your jawbone to support your dental restoration.
Dental implants can be used even in procedures where you need to replace multiple teeth and provide the strongest and most reliable form of tooth replacement available. Implants can also be used in order to secure a dental crown or dental bridge.
If you're in the Boston area and are interested in discussing dental implants, please contact our team at Cosmetic & Esthetic Dentistry. We do all of our dental implant procedures in-house, including bone-grafting if it's a necessary part of your procedure. Call us at (781) 350-4385 today.
Why You Need Dental Implants
Dental implants may be required for a variety of reasons including the loss of a tooth. If you’ve experienced any of the following, our dentist may recommend that you have a dental implant procedure:
- Severe tooth damage
- Tooth decay
- Tooth loss
- Tooth extraction
- Cracked, chipped, misshapen, or discolored teeth
- Multiple teeth that need repair
Dental implant surgery can serve as the primary way to restore teeth that aren’t aesthetically pleasing or are unhealthy. With the recent addition of our oral surgeon, Dr. Valerie Martins, we can now offer you dental implants in the same office as our cosmetic dentistry procedures. Dr. Martins is a board-certified periodontist and has been helping members of our Boston community with their dental health issues for years. At Cosmetic & Esthetic Dentistry, you will not have to visit multiple offices to complete your dental implant process; we offer everything you need in-house.
The Dental Implant Process
Dental implants are placed in a multi-step process that used to require our team to outsource you to an oral surgeon and then restore the tooth when the surgeon was done. Now, we can evaluate your teeth, take the necessary X-rays, perform oral surgery, and place your implants under the same roof. Our entire team works together to ensure that your dental implant surgery goes as smoothly as possible.
Dental implants are a three-part process that our oral surgeon will help place for us. The three parts include the following:
- Titanium screw - this screw is surgically placed into your jaw bone and will serve as the anchor system for the implant
- Abutment - this serves as the connector between the titanium screw and the crown, bridge, or implant-supported dentures
- Crown, dental bridge, or dentures - this is the part that looks like your natural tooth and attached to the abutment
Our dentist uses porcelain crowns and porcelain bridges or dentures to ensure that your teeth look as natural as possible. We utilize top-of-the-line technology from Straumann Dental Implants to make sure that the porcelain matches your natural tooth color as well. Straumann Dental Implants is an advanced and reputable company that we work with exclusively to ensure that your dental implants are the best available.
How long does it take to have dental implants placed?
The dental implant process is completed in three main phases, typically over several months. During your first visit, we will place the titanium screw in your jaw bone. This has to completely fuse with your jaw just like all of your other teeth, which may take several months. Once it has fully-adhered with your jaw, you can come in for your second appointment. During your second visit, we will place an abutment. On your final visit we will place your restoration, ensuring a comfortable bite and that it fits in seamlessly with your smile.
You may require additional visits if bone grafting is necessary for successful implant placement. As with all other aspects of your dental implant placement, this is completed in our office by our experienced dentists and periodontist.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
When considering the advantages of dental implants, there are plenty of reasons for choosing them. Because your implant fuses into your jaw, it serves as a permanent solution for your missing teeth. Certain dental implant alternatives do come with a risk of being affected by jaw shrinkage or collapse, unlike dental implants, which help to preserve your bone.
Dental implants will also restore full function to your bite and will improve the appearance of your smile by filling in the gaps.
Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss
The most significant advantage of a dental implant is its ability to preserve the bone in your jaw. When you lose a tooth, the jawbone at the location of the missing tooth will slowly begin to dissolve away – a process called resorption. By placing a dental implant or several implants to support your bridge, you stimulate new bone growth in the area, preventing bone loss and helping your jaw retain its shape in the future.
Typically, dentures are supported by the gums and are secured with adhesives. This method can restore some function and beauty to your smile, but is far from ideal. Adhesives can become unstuck at inopportune times. They can also make fitting your dentures snugly into your mouth a hassle, interfering with basic functions such as biting, chewing, and even speaking. Additionally, dentures don’t fuse with your jawbone and, therefore, can cause eventual bone loss.
As an alternative, implant-supported dentures do not rely on adhesives. Instead, they use dental implants to securely hold your dentures in place, preventing slippage and making a seamless, beautiful, and functionally superior smile easy to obtain.
Types of Implant-Supported Dentures
There are two types of implant supported dentures:
- Ball-retained – if you are missing three or more teeth in a row, ball-retained partial dentures may be best. These dentures have a ball-shaped attachment that is simply inserted into a socket in the implant abutment, making both insertion and removal quick and easy.
- Bar-retained – if you are missing a row of teeth, bar-retained dentures are the best option. These dentures will have clips on the back that are slipped over a thin metal bar strung in between your implants. As with ball-retained dentures, this option is quick and easy to attach and detach.
Dental Implants Preserve Tooth Structure
Traditional dental bridges rely on your existing teeth for support. A dental crown is attached to the bridge, and a portion of your natural tooth enamel is removed in order to fit the “anchor” crown to a neighboring tooth.
In contrast, when dental implants are used to support a bridge, no tooth reduction is required. You can avoid altering your healthy teeth, preserving their structure and integrity.
Health Problems that Interfere With Dental Implants
The following health conditions can interfere with the dental implant placement process:
- Bruxism (grinding or clenching of teeth)
- Regular use of drugs or steroids that suppress the immune system
If you have one of these problems, you are not necessarily disqualified from getting dental implants. We will simply need to ensure that your condition is adequately controlled before moving forward in order to maximize your chances of a successful procedure.
The Ideal Dental Implant Candidate
Dental implants are the most permanent and long-lasting solution for missing teeth, but they may not be right for everyone. Good candidates for dental implants should:
- Have healthy gums
- Have sufficient bone to anchor the implant(s) in the jaw
- Not be a heavy smoker
- Not have significant immune deficiencies or connective tissue diseases
If we determine that you do not have enough bone density in the location of your missing tooth (or teeth) to anchor a dental implant, we can perform a bone grafting procedure to supplement it. If you are a smoker, you will need to quit for an extended length of time both before and after your dental implant procedure to ensure the smoothest possible healing process.
Schedule Your Dental Implant Consultation Today
If you’re ready to discover whether or not dental implants are right for you, please contact Cosmetic & Esthetic Dentistry today. In addition to having decades of experience helping members of the Medford and Boston communities love their smiles, we offer superior in-house service. You won’t have to go elsewhere for your oral surgery because everything we offer is done at one office, saving you time and ensuring that we can provide with the best possible service as we do with all of our patients.
Dental implants can greatly improve your quality of life, your confidence in your smile, and serve as a permanent solution to missing or unhealthy teeth, so don’t wait to contact us. To reach us, please fill out the form on this page or call (781) 350-4385. We proudly serve patients in Boston, Medford, Cambridge, and the surrounding areas.