Let’s learn more about dental implants and how implant dentists at Lake Forest Smiles, conduct this common procedure.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant consists of three components:
- An implant post made of titanium
- An abutment, which attaches to the top of the implant
- A dental crown that connects to the abutment
How are dental implants used?
An implant could replace a single missing tooth or be used to support a set of dentures. If you have one or two missing teeth, traditional dental implants may be a viable option for you. In cases where more than one tooth is missing in a row, an implanted-support dental bridge may be recommended. For patients missing all of their teeth on the same dental arch, or for those that want to upgrade their floppy, worn-out dentures for a more secure fit, implants can be used to secure specially designed dentures. Implant-supported dentures, also known as implant dentures, the implant posts are surgically placed in strategic locations of the dental arch. The dentures then connect to the abutments on these implants, providing a more secure fit and superior stability as compared to any standard set of dentures, which is made to rest on the boney ridge of the gums.
What to expect when getting dental implants
You’ll need to schedule a consultation with your implant dentist. At Lake Forest Smiles, we partner with Dr. Michelle Zmick, a Lake Forest periodontist, to surgically place implants for our patients. To begin, we will evaluate your current oral health, as well as your complete dental and medical history to ensure you are a good candidate for dental implants. We also will review every step of the implant procedure to help you understand the process. During this consultation, we may perform a few diagnostic tests, which will provide more information about your current dental health.
Next, you have your appointment with Dr. Zmick at our Lake Forest dental practice. She administers an anesthetic to make sure you feel no discomfort while the implant is surgically placed into the jawbone. Dental implant surgery usually can be performed under local anesthetic alone. However, ask about sedation dentistry if you feel anxious about your procedure. At Lake Forest Smiles, we offer nitrous oxide or IV sedation to help patients feel calm and relaxed while receiving treatment.
Following the implant placement, your jawbone will need to heal, allowing time for the implant to fuse to the bone. Each patient’s healing time is unique, but this part of the process usually takes anywhere from three to six months for the implant to fuse to the jawbone, and be stable enough to receive the dental crown. Healing time may vary for implant-supported dentures.
The Final Steps
Once healing is complete, you return to Lake Forest Smiles to begin the dental crown process. We fabricate crowns made of beautiful dental porcelain. Not only is this an extremely durable material, but also our crowns can be matched to the shape and color of your other natural healthy teeth.
The first appointment involves taking impressions and digital images that will be used to fabricate your porcelain crown. It may take a couple of weeks to have the crown made. At your second appointment, we will fit the crown, make any necessary adjustments, and then seat the crown in place to complete your implant procedure. Placing the permanent restoration completes your dental implant procedure.
Once your implant is complete, it is essential that you practice good oral hygiene and continue with routine visits to our Lake Forest dental office. Maintaining good oral hygiene will prolong the results of your new implant and help you avoid gum infections or gum disease.
The advantages of dental implants
- Implants help prevent jawbone loss. If you lose a permanent tooth, deterioration of the supporting bone structure is inevitable. This occurs because the tooth root is no longer stimulating that area of the jawbone, so it is re-absorbed into your body. An implant helps prevent this bone loss thanks to the titanium implant screw that acts as a tooth root. When inserted, this screw provides the same stimulation to your jawbone that came from the root of your natural tooth.
- Unlimited food choices. An implant is extremely durable, which means you regain a greater amount of your chewing ability than you had with missing teeth. You can start enjoying all the foods you once avoided when you had tooth loss.
- Stability. An implant is fixed in the mouth because the implant screw has been installed surgically in your jawbone. That means it won’t slip or shift. You can smile with confidence, and won’t have to worry about your implant affecting your speech. A dental implant is as stable as your natural teeth, so you can feel confident with your tooth placement option.
- Convenience. Cleaning your dental implant is simple. Just brush and floss your implant as you would your other natural teeth. Be sure to clean along the gum line under your implant crown. Floss this area daily to remove bacteria and food particles that could lead to gum infection or total implant failure.
- Appearance. Because the crowns are crafted with beautiful dental porcelain, your restoration will look natural, and blend seamlessly with your smile.
- Permanence. By maintaining a diligent regimen of oral care that includes twice-yearly visits to your Lake Forest dentists for a check-up, an implant could last the rest of your life. Dental implants are considered the only virtually permanent tooth replacement option in dentistry.
- Results. Of all dental implant procedures, 98 percent of them are successful with diligent care and oral hygiene.
The cost of dental implants
While we can make general estimates, Lake Forest Smiles determines the cost of each individual procedure on a case-by-case basis. We will discuss treatment options, as well as the estimated cost of each option, before beginning treatment. Payment is expected at the time of treatment. We always recommend checking with your insurance provider to verify your benefits.
For self-pay or any remaining balance, we accept the following methods of payment:
- Personal check
- Most major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express)
- In-house financing
While the price of a dental implant procedure is significant, choosing implants from Lake Forest Smiles to replace your lost teeth represents a long-term, quality investment in your oral health. Third-party financing options allow you to pay for your procedure at the time of service, and then make monthly payments.
Are dental implants right for me?
Despite all their benefits, dental implants are not suitable for everyone. Dental implants may not be suitable for children. You also need to have good oral health, and enough density in your jawbone to support a dental implant. There should be no presence of gum disease. If you have gum disease, this infection will need to be treated first before the work on a dental implant begins.
Any of these conditions or habits could increase your risk of complications or implant failure:
- Taking certain medications, especially steroids and bisphosphonates
- Any pre-existing condition that slows your body’s healing ability, such as diabetes
If you are not a good candidate for dental implants, Lake Forest Smiles offers other tooth replacement options that may be right for you. Ask us about partial dentures or dental bridges for other options of replacing your missing teeth.
You also need to determine how many implants you need. If you are living with substantial tooth loss, then you may want to consider implant-supported dentures, rather than have an implant to replace each of your missing teeth. Lake Forest Smiles also provides implant dentures for current denture wearers seeking an alternative to their loose-fitting dentures. Drs. Campbell and Schmidt also offer teeth-in-a-day, also known as all-on-4, which is ideal for patients with significant tooth loss, but that are not candidates for traditional implants. This procedure allows you to have the implants, and final restoration placed all in a single day. But, the best way to determine how many implants are right for you is to have a consultation with Lake Forest Smiles.
Dental Implants in Lake Forest
At Lake Forest Smiles, we strive to be a one-stop-shop for your dental needs. That means providing a variety of dental services to fit the needs of our patients. In addition to our implant dentistry and periodontal services, we also offer a wide range of general and cosmetic dentistry treatment options.
Are you ready to see if dental implants are right for you? Contact our office by calling (847) 234-4800. Drs. Campbell and Schmidt have been providing elite dental care to the communities of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire for more than 30 years. We welcome you to our practice.