Tooth loss is surprisingly common — some studies estimate as many as 178 million Americans are missing at least one adult tooth. And 40 million Americans are missing all of their teeth!
Missing teeth are more than just a cosmetic issue. Even one missing tooth can cause serious lifestyle and health problems, including:
- Increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease
- Shifting teeth
- Increased chance of developing TMJ and chronic headaches
- Difficulty eating and speaking
Luckily, there’s a permanent and natural-looking solution to tooth loss: dental implants.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is the foundation upon which a single missing tooth or multiple missing teeth is built.
A dental implant resembles a small, durable screw and can be made from titanium or ceramic (zirconium). Once the implant is placed in your jawbone, it functions just like a natural tooth root.
Single or multiple implants are both possible options and when cared for properly, dental implants are permanent and can last for 30+ years.
The benefits of dental implants
- Promote gum health and oral health
- Help align neighboring teeth
- Good for your jaw bone
- Restore the ability to eat and speak naturally
- Easy to care for
- Are a durable and permanent solution
How do dental implants work?
There are 3 parts to an implant:
- Implant – This is a screw that replaces the root of your missing tooth. This screw is fitted into your jaw bone and provides stability.
- Abutment – The abutment is the connection between the implant and crown, or the prosthetic tooth.
- Crown – The crown is the part of the implant that looks like a tooth and that you can see in your mouth. This 3rd part of your implant might also be a bridge or denture.
Still have questions? Let us know! Our friendly clinical team will show you educational videos explaining the difference between the implant screw, abutment and crown.
What to expect from a dental implant procedure
Whether you’re missing one tooth or multiple teeth, the first step in a dental implant procedure is to make sure your gums and jaw bone are healthy and strong.
Missing teeth can cause your jawbone to disintegrate, weakening your jaw and making it too unstable for a dental implant procedure. This can easily be treated with a bone graft, which strengthens your jaw and provides a strong foundation for the implant.
If you’re suffering from gum disease, it’s important to address the issue before an implant procedure. Otherwise, gum disease can lead to gum recession and bone loss, which can increase your chances of implantits or a failed implant. Gum disease treatments vary depending on the severity of the issue. You may benefit from a laser treatment, osseous surgery, gum recession therapy, or scaling & root planing.
After the bone graft has healed or gum disease has been successfully treated, you’ll be ready for your implant.
Here’s how it works:
- High-tech 3D imaging technology is used to plan your implant procedure and ensure the quality of the bone structure in your jaw. Unlike traditional x-rays, 3D imaging produces high-definition crystal clear images.
- The implant will be placed in your jaw. We offer sedation options and use advanced technology to ensure you are relaxed and comfortable throughout the procedure.
- Your implant is given time to heal.
- You’ll soon be ready to visit your general dentist for the final restoration.
Remember, like most dental implant specialists, our periodontists only perform the initial placement of the implant and possible abutment.
When the implant is ready to be restored, approximately 4-6 months after initial implant placement, your general dentist or prosthodontist will be responsible for restoring the implant with the crown, bridge, or implant denture.
Common questions about implants, answered
A few of the most common questions we hear from patients about dental implants include…
Do dental implants hurt?
Our team works hard to ensure your comfort and relaxation during every procedure, and especially during a dental implant treatment. We offer comprehensive sedation dentistry options to ensure your comfort. You’ll feel relaxed throughout the procedure. We’ll provide at-home care instructions to help limit discomfort during the healing process and will check in on you to make sure you’re feeling okay!
How long does it take to get dental implants?
In most cases, we can perform your implant treatment in just one comfortable visit!
Does an implant procedure include the crown?
No. Once your implant is healed and ready to be restored, you’ll visit your general dentist to finish your implant with a crown or other restoration. We have great relationships with local dentists and will do our best to make the entire implant procedure a seamless experience.
How to care for your implant
Care for your implant the same way you would your other teeth:
- Brush and floss daily
- Keep an eye out for any changes in your dental health
- Visit your dentist for recommended check-ups and cleanings
- Avoid smoking and eat a healthy diet
Alternatives to dental implants
If you’re missing multiple teeth, you might be looking for an alternative to adhesive dentures or to getting a full mouth of implants. Implant supported dentures (often called all-on-4 or all-on-6) are a great solution and can replace any number of missing teeth.
Implant supported dentures are a hybrid of dentures and implants and a proven method for replacing any number of missing teeth.
This procedure involves carefully placing up to 6 (and as few as 4) individual implants in your upper/lower jaw. From there, dentures are permanently attached to these implants, providing a rock-solid foundation and natural-looking results.
Bonus: Tips for keeping your natural teeth healthy
Your natural smile is your best smile. So if you’re at risk of losing a tooth, take action now to treat the problem and save your tooth.
Our team offers several treatment options to save your tooth and help you avoid the time, expense, and process of getting a dental implant. From minimally-invasive laser treatments to advanced surgical procedures, we’ll create a personalized treatment plan to ensure you receive the best care possible and have the best chance for keeping your natural teeth.
Are you a good candidate for dental implants?
Schedule a consultation today to find out if dental implants are right for you.
Our doctors are some of the few periodontists in Midtown Atlanta and Roswell who are board certified in Periodontology and Dental Implant Surgery. With thousands of dental implants completed and a precise eye for aesthetics, we’ll ensure your implant looks and feels just like your natural teeth.