Dental Implants

doctor holding model of teeth

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots used to replace missing teeth. Dental implant surgery is a common procedure that can be performed in your local dental office. The dental implant itself is placed in the upper or lower jaw, and it will fuse with the bone over time, anchoring it in place and allowing the implant to support a dental prosthetic. The placement of this device allows for normal chewing function, which restores both your smile and confidence.

Did You Know?

Dental implants offer a variety of benefits, such as:

  • Low maintenance
  • Natural appearance
  • Prevent bone deterioration
  • Allow for a healthy diet with variety

Frequently Asked Questions:

Am I a candidate for dental implants?

Dental implants may be recommended for patients who have one or more missing teeth, or for patients who are having one or more teeth extracted. With that being said, however, dental implants are not right for everyone. In order to have dental implants placed, ideal candidates will need to have enough bone mass in the jaw to support the implant. In some cases, bone augmentation procedures, such as a bone graft or sinus lift, can be used to increase bone mass in a particular area to allow an implant to be placed.

The best way to know if you are a candidate for dental implants is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dickey of Dickey Dental today.

What are bone augmentation procedures?

Bone augmentation procedures are sometimes performed before dental implant surgery in order to build up the amount of bone in the jaw. They are necessary in cases where an individual has undergone bone loss as a result of missing teeth and/or severe gum disease. There are two main types of bone augmentation procedures:

Bone Graft: Occurs when bone is harvested from another portion of the body and transplanted into the jaw. Sometimes bone material made in a lab can also be used. The transplantation takes advantage of the fact that living bone cells will quickly grow in adjacent areas to repair missing bone.

Sinus Lift: This procedure entails the creation of new bone in the upper jaw where bone mass is low. This can be necessary when dental implants are being placed below the sinus cavity, or if only a small amount of bone mass exists between the upper jaw and nose. Essentially, bone is placed under the sinuses in order to “lift” the sinus cavity and allow for the safe placement of dental implants in the upper jaw.

After undergoing a bone graft and/or sinus lift, it can take about 3-6 months for new bone to form. At this point, your dentist may decide to place your implants if they believe the new bone growth is stable.

What can I expect when having dental implants placed at Dickey Dental?

When having dental implants placed at Dickey Dental, you can expect to receive a minor oral surgery using local anesthesia. Dr. Dickey will begin by making a small incision in the gums to access the jawbone. Then, he will drill into the empty tooth socket to shape the socket accordingly. The implant screw will then be placed in the jawbone and a small metal connector piece, called an abutment, will be screwed into the implant. In some cases, this metal piece may extend past the gum line, meaning that it will be visible. The gums are usually sutured around this post and a temporary restoration may also be mounted until it can be replaced with a permanent restoration.

Will I need to follow any special guidelines after having dental implants placed?

Yes. In fact, the success of dental implants is highly dependent on patient compliance. This means that it is essential to follow any and all instructions provided by your dentist. While your exact guidelines may vary depending on a variety of factors, here are a few things you can expect after dental implant surgery:

  • Temporary diet restrictions (soft food diet): reduces the amount of stress exerted on the healing implant
  • Avoid smoking/tobacco use: Smoking can complicate your treatment and damage your implants over time, so it is important to quit. If you are a smoker, speak with your dentist about ways to safely reduce nicotine intake until you can quit.
  • Habits to improve dental health: After the procedure, it is important to take care of your implants so that your new teeth can last for life. Practice proper dental hygiene at all times by brushing twice per day and flossing daily. Additionally, Dr. Dickey may also recommend prescription mouthwashes during your recovery period
  • Avoid certain activities: for the first few days after your procedure, you will need to abstain from strenuous physical activity. After that, Dr. Dickey will let you know what activities to avoid.