Dr. Pickens, along with everyone at Pickens Family Dentistry, is here to provide you with healthy teeth and gums, so that you can continue to chew naturally, speak well, and feel comfortable in social situations. Dental Implants can give you that ability when a natural tooth has been lost. We would love to meet with you to discuss your needs and evaluate your situation.
Learn More About Dental Implants
What is a Dental Implant?Did you only recently hear about dental implants, and you want to know what a dental implant is? A dental implant is not the tooth itself, it’s the base. We take a biocompatible titanium post, which resembles a screw, and surgically implant it directly into your jawbone. This post will serve as a new root system for a tooth that is lost.
How Much Does A Dental Implant Cost?The cost of a single dental implant is usually between $1000 and $3000. There are some situations where the cost of a single dental implant will fall outside of this range, mostly having to do with the oral health of the patient. The value and use that you will get out of a single dental implant over the course of your life will be far more than the cost of the placement procedure.
What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?We can improve your bite, restoring function and your look, with the placement of a dental implant. Tooth implants are a great advancement in modern dentistry, allowing patients to have a tooth that not only looks real, but feels real.
Dental Implants Fuse to Your Jawbone:Once this post is placed, your living tissue will begin to heal around it. This involves more than just healing. A process known as osseointegration occurs. Your bone and tissue will grow around the implant, bonding it to your bone, making it part of it. This is because the implant is biocompatible, meaning that your body does not see it as a foreign object. Instead, your body grows around it, fusing it to the bone. Once this implanted post is fused, it is a solid firm foundation for a number of different dental prosthesis.
You can Customize the Final Restoration:With the implant solidly in place, we can then customize your dental appliance. You can have the post topped with a dental crown, for a single tooth restoration, or you can have it topped with a dental bridge or even a denture device. Depending on the health of your other teeth, we may recommend more than one post to be implanted. There is so much that we can accomplish with the placement of a tooth implant, we can restore your chewing, your bite, and your smile.
Why do I Need to Replace Missing Teeth?When it comes to replacing your natural teeth, there are two options that are the most common and popular: dentures and dental implants. What patients often do not understand is that missing teeth is actually a large problem. When you lose a tooth, whether due to injury or extraction, a number of problems occur, some immediate and some over time. This includes:
Bone Loss:The loss of bone is one of the largest problems after the loss of a tooth. Your teeth make hundreds of small contacts with each other every day. Though it may not seem like much, these small stresses constantly stimulate your jaw bone, prompting the bone to stay strong and rebuild continually. After losing a tooth, the stimulation stops, leading to the loss of alveolar bone. Studies show that there is a 25% decrease in width of bone during the first year. This loss continues over the next few years. This loss of bone is what we associate with having an older physical look.
Teeth Shifting:When a tooth is lost, it opens up room for your remaining teeth to shift. Though this may not sound detrimental, it can be quite problematic. Shifting teeth can affect how your jaw closes, and in some cases cause severe jaw pain. This can lead to a condition known as TMJ disorder, causing jaw pain, ear pain, and even migraines.
Function Loss:Patients with missing teeth adjust how they chew. Whether they are chewing on the other side, or avoiding certain foods, this adjustment can cause additional or uneven wear to other teeth, or just cause a patient to be constantly conscious of what they are eating.
Self-Conscious:Whether you no longer smile big, or you find that you are covering your teeth when you talk, patients who feel self-conscious about their smile make social adjustments that are unnecessary.
How are Dental Implants Placed?Dental implants are made up of three separate parts – the titanium implant post, the abutment, and the restoration. The titanium implant post is the first part to be placed and the most vital part of the dental implant. The implant post is surgically placed into the bone of your jaw.
Site Preparation:Preparing the site is an important step in the long-term success of your dental implant. In most situations, this will require a bone graft procedure. When a patient loses a tooth, there is an immediate response of bone resorption, or atrophy. We will want to ensure that the patient has sufficient bone available for the implant.
Patient Comfort:Your dental implant procedure begins with the appropriate anesthetic for your needs. We want to ensure your comfort during surgery.
Post Placement:Once you are ready, we then open the tissue at the surgical site. Using a specialized dental drill, we prepare the bone for implant placement. The implant is a titanium post that resembles a screw. The post is placed directly into the jawbone. With the post in place, we then suture the site closed.
Healing Process:Once the site is closed, there are two different routes we take depending on the individual patient. For some patients, we then send them home for a period of healing time. While they heal, a process known as osseointegration occurs. This is the process of bone and tissue fusing to the titanium post. This fusion is a natural response from the body that will make this post strong and firm. For other patients, depending on their situation, we may place their denture device or bridge immediately on the day of surgery. We will still want healing to occur, and the patient will be asked to refrain from eating a range of foods that may disrupt this healing process.
Final Restoration:Once your single or multiple implants posts are ready, we can then customize your dental crown, bridge, or denture for you. The end result will be a tooth that looks, feels, and functions as close to your natural teeth that you can get.
How do I care for my dental implants?Keeping your mouth clean is of the utmost importance. Brush your teeth the night of your surgery but be careful to avoid the surgery site. You can start saltwater rinses a full 24 hours after your implant surgery. Just swishing gently with warm salt water can go a long way in preventing bacterial buildup and keeping food matter from getting lodged where it should not be.
How Long have Dental Implants been used for?Here at Pickens Family Dentistry in Vancouver, WA we care deeply for the oral health of all of our patients. Today, dental implants are widely regarded as the greatest success in dental history. Being able to replace a tooth in both form and function is an incredibly valuable discovery. However, how did modern-day dental implants come to be?
There is a tendency to believe that dental implants are a very recent discovery, and while modern dental implants are certainly unique, there is a long history behind them that lead us to where we are now in tooth replacement. We believe in patient education here at Pickens Family Dentistry, and one of the greatest stories in the history of dentistry is that of how the dental implant evolved.
The First Dental Implants:Dental implants first show up in the archeological record roughly 4000 years ago in ancient China. When people lost their teeth in ancient China, they would sometimes replace them with bamboo pegs that were specially carved to fit into the sockets where teeth were lost. How successful these implants were remains to be known, but their use was not widespread.
Some remains found in Egypt suggest the very first use of metals to replace teeth. Archeologists date these remains back to about 2000 years ago. It is thought that most of these “implants” were placed after the subject had died, to help prepare them for the afterlife. Precious metals like copper were used, but ivory was also present in several examples. There is also some evidence dating back to around 2000 years ago, that teeth from other humans and even animals were used to replace missing teeth. It is very likely that attempts to use teeth from donors would result in infections and even the failure of implant placements.
In 1931, the explorer, Wilson Popenoe found the remains of a Mayan in what is now the country of Honduras that was exceptional. These remains showed that seashells had been used to replace missing teeth. What is most impressive about the remain is that there were calculus formations on the seashell dental implants and strong evidence that the bone in the jaw had accepted and grown around the implants. This is one of the first examples of osseointegration in dental implants. Osseointegration describes the healing process of the bone to grow around and meld with a foreign material that is placed in the body.
Modern Dental Implants:In the 1950’s Cambridge University found a way to embed titanium successfully into the skeletal system of a human being. A Swedish orthopedic surgeon named Per-Ingvar Brånemark took this research and continued to research and test his theories and eventually came up with the first successful titanium dental implant. Since then dental implants have given many thousands of people a brighter future and an easier way to eat and speak.
Ready to Schedule Your Dental Implant Appointment?Do you still have questions about dental implants, or are you ready to schedule your appointment? Call us today at (360) 254-6411 to learn more or schedule a no-obligation consultation.