Tooth Replacement with Dental Implants
At Smiles by Arnold and Associates, we offer a wide range of treatments, including oral surgery, to help patients achieve and maintain their optimal level of oral health. For patients with missing teeth, dental implants allow us to restore both the roots and crowns to fully renew dental health and function. If you need to restore your smile, call our team to schedule a consultation in one of our two convenient office locations. We have offices in Valparaiso and Chesterton, and we welcome patients from the surrounding communities.
Importance of Replacing Missing Teeth
When even a single tooth is not replaced, the overall health of the smile is adversely affected. Jawbone density and gum tissue volume begin to diminish. Over time, surrounding teeth will shift to fill the gap left by missing teeth, which can cause bite alignment concerns. Additionally, the shift in the way teeth fit together may place excessive amounts of pressure on specific teeth that can then be chipped or broken. Most importantly, the shifting of teeth and diminished supportive structure can lead to further tooth loss.
Why Choose Dental Implants
Unlike other tooth replacement options that only restore the part of the smile visible above the gum line, dental implants actually mimic the function of the tooth’s roots. The benefits of this are two-fold. First, the implant posts provide support for replacement teeth that mimics the natural stabilizing structures, recreating flawless form and function. The increased stability also leads to a longer lasting restorations. Most patients keep their implant retained denture for twenty years or longer – even for the rest of their lives. Second, the dental implants stimulate the gum tissue and jawbone to avoid destruction of these supportive structures.
Dental Implant Placement
The dental implant tooth replacement process is completed over the course of two treatment phases. The first phase is the surgical placement of the implants into the jawbone, and the second phase is the attachment of one or more replacement teeth. In order to fully understand the placement process, it’s important to first understand the composition of a dental implant restoration. There are three main parts. The first is the implant post itself. Inserted below the gum line, this metal post mimics healthy root structure. Then, there is the dental crown, bridge, or denture attached to the implant to recreate lost teeth. Between these two main parts of the implant prosthetics are tiny abutments. These abutments actually attach the implant post to the replacement tooth or teeth.
Once we’ve determined dental implant supported tooth replacement is the best option for you, we schedule the implant placement procedure. Though dental implants are placed surgically, the process is minimally invasive. We begin by making a small incision into the gum tissue. Then, the implant post is placed into the jawbone. Once the implant is in position, a protective cap is connected to the top of the implant. Then, patients need to wait three to six months to allow the implant to fuse fully with the supportive gums and bone tissue before we attach their restoration, which is the second phase of the implant retained tooth replacement process.
Dental Implant Restoration
Every patient is unique, but we will typically use the following numbers of dental implants to support replacement teeth:
- One dental implant post will support a single dental crown or two fused together dental crowns
- Two dental implants may be used to support a fixed bridge restoration to replace three to five teeth in a row or a small partial denture
- Three to six dental implants can be used to support partials and full dentures
- In rare cases, more than six implant posts are used
Sedation Dentistry Options
In order to ensure our patients’ comfort throughout the implant supported tooth replacement process, we offer sedation dentistry. By taking a prescription sedative pill about an hour before treatment, patients will arrive at our office already feeling completely relaxed and stay calm and pain free throughout treatment.