Whether you're missing one tooth or several, dental implants can restore your mouth to a natural, healthy state. A dental implant mimics the tooth-root structure to maximize your ability to eat, chew, and speak with full confidence.
At Hardin Advanced Dentistry, we place and restore dental implants right in our office, so you can receive all of your dental care in our state-of-the-art facility.
Please call (513) 234-5531 to speak with us about implant dentistry in the Cincinnati and Mason, Ohio area.
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial replacement for a missing tooth. While natural teeth consist of a crown and a root, implants comprise three elements:
- The biocompatible titanium implant, inserted directly into the bone
- The porcelain crown or denture
- The abutment, the connecting device between the implant and crown
What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Dental implants are often the ideal tooth-replacement option, because unlike traditional tooth-replacement solutions (such as bridges, dentures and partials) implants replace the missing tooth's root as well as the crown. Dental implants do not require support from adjacent teeth, and they keep the jawbone strong because it has a purpose – to support the tooth's root.
For this reason, dental implants have many benefits, including:
- Independence - The implant will not damage neighboring teeth by relying on them for support
- Comfort - The implant will look and feel like a natural tooth
- Integration - Bone tissue grows around the implant for seamless integration
- Beauty - Implant crowns, bridges, or dentures can be made with all-ceramic materials
- Longevity - With proper oral hygiene, dental implants last most people for a lifetime
Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
The conditions for successful treatment with implants are relatively few. To be considered a good candidate for dental implants, you should:
- Have generally good health
- Be free of gum disease
- Have adequate bone structure in your jaw
Depending upon your own unique situation, some preparatory treatments such as bone grafts and sinus grafts may be needed so that you’re ready to receive the implants.
A few conditions may limit the suitability of dental implants for replacing your missing teeth, including the following:
- A jawbone that has not yet reached its full, adult size
- Heavy smoking (and unwilling to quit)
- Uncontrolled diabetes and other chronic diseases
- Severe grinding or clenching of teeth
You may still be a good candidate even if you have one or more of these conditions. We’ll assess your unique oral health needs to determine whether or not implants are right for you.
Choosing Your Implant Prosthesis
Your gums need to heal for a week or two following your abutment placement before an artificial tooth can be placed. After your gums have adequately healed, more impressions of your mouth and remaining teeth will be made. Your porcelain crown is made based on these impressions. Your periodontist cannot place the crown until your jawbone is strong enough to support the new tooth and its functionality.
There are two main types of artificial teeth from which to choose:
- Removable implant prosthesis: Similar to a traditional removable denture, this prosthesis consists of artificial teeth surrounded by plastic pink gum. It is mounted on a metal frame that can snap into place and be removed for nightly cleaning.
- Fixed implant prosthesis: You can’t remove the teeth for daily cleaning with this type. The artificial tooth is permanently cemented or screwed onto an individual abutment. Each dental implant has its own individual crown.
What is the Dental Implant Process?
Dental implant surgery is a process which includes:
- Your periodontist removes the damaged tooth.
- Bone grafting may be required as the jawbone is prepared for surgery
- The dental implant post is positioned once the jawbone fully heals.
- A several-month healing period elapses.
- An extension to the dental implant post, called an abutment, is attached.
- The crown is placed
The full implant process may take anywhere from three to eight months or longer, depending on your situation and circumstances. Much of the process time is spent healing and waiting for bone growth (osseointegration). The process of osseointegration begins once the implant post is placed in your jawbone. During this time, the jawbone grows around and binds with the surface of the post. This process can take up to six months. Just like roots support your natural teeth, the process of osseointegration helps to provide a solid base for your artificial tooth.
Placing the Implant
During your dental implant surgery, your expert periodontist will make an incision, opening your gum and exposing the bone beneath. Small holes are drilled into your jawbone where the implant posts will be placed. The implant is then placed deep into the bone, serving as an artificial equivalent of a natural tooth root.
You’ll be left with a gap in your teeth at this point. Usually, a partial temporary denture can be placed for the sake of aesthetics. This denture can be removed for cleaning each night while you sleep.
Placing the Abutment
Once the osseointegration process is complete, an additional surgery to place the abutment is the typical next step. The abutment is the piece upon which the crown will eventually be placed. To place the abutment:
- Your periodontist makes an incision to expose the implant post.
- The abutment is attached to the post.
- Gum tissue is closed around (not over) the abutment
The abutment is frequently attached to the dental implant when the post is placed. In these cases, you don’t need an extra step in the surgical process. However, since the abutment is exposed beyond the gumline, it’s visible every time you open your mouth. For this aesthetic reason, many patients prefer to attach the abutment in a later procedure.
What Can I Expect After My Surgery?
No matter how many stages your dental implant process requires, there are some common discomforts associated with the surgery, including:
- Discomfort around the implant area
- Minor bleeding
Contact Dr. Tara if discomfort or swelling gets worse in the immediate days following your surgery. Pain medications or antibiotics may be necessary. During certain stages of your implant process, you may need to eat soft foods for a week or two to help your recovery.
Implant Surgery Risks
Since no surgery is completely risk-free, dental implant surgery does pose some risks. Luckily, problems are rare, and if they do occur they're almost always minor and easily treated. Implant surgery risks include:
- Nerve damage
- Tooth damage
- Sinus problems
What are Mini Dental Implants?
If you aren’t a good candidate for conventional dental implant surgery, mini dental implants may be a viable alternative strategy. Some of the differences between conventional dental implants and mini dental implants include:
- Mini implants are nearly half the width of a traditional implant.
- A mini implant is not fully submerged.
- Grafting is not necessary if implant failure occurs.
- Mini implants are less expensive.
- Mini implants do not contain a screw (and are still solid!)
What are Implant-Supported Dentures?
If you’ve worn dentures before, you are likely all too aware of their shortcomings. Dentures require messy adhesives, occasionally shift, agitate the gum line and necessitate food restrictions. For many of our Mason and Cincinnati patients, dentures are an imperfect, but practical, solution to significant tooth loss.
Implant-supported dentures, on the other hand, can offer you a more comprehensive way to restore a lifelike smile and improve functionality if you are missing several or all of your teeth.
While a lone dental implant typically only reinforces a single crown, multiple implants can support a full denture prosthesis and replace an entire row of teeth.
Implant-supported dentures offer many benefits, including:
- Comfortable fit
- Improved chewing function
- Realistic smile
- Freedom from denture adhesives
- Better speaking ability
As we mentioned earlier on this page, not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. If your jawbone isn’t dense enough to support an implant or you suffer from complicated dental issues, another dental solution may better address your needs.
At your initial consultation, our experienced Mason dentist will assess the condition of your oral health and help you determine which treatments are right for you.
Why Choose Hardin Advanced Dentistry?
While any dentist can place a dental implant, we prefer to rely on the expertise of an expert periodontist. We work closely with a periodontist who visits our office specifically for implant placement. Having a skilled periodontist working with our team ensures precision placement which results in a more successful outcome. Dr. Tara Hardin or Dr. Gary Hardin will oversee the treatment to ensure your comfort and peace of mind.
If you are interested in finding out more about the benefits of dental implants, contact our experienced Cincinnati, Mason, and Dayton dentists online or by calling (513) 234-5531 today. We proudly serve multiple Ohio communities, as well as Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana.