Dental Implants

Losing a tooth is devastating but with the invention of dental implants, tooth loss can be as temporary as the simplest of cavities. Hawley Lane Dental is a dedicated provider of dental implants in areas near you to Stratford, Trumbull and Bridgeport patients.

Our dentist, Dr. Kristy Gretzula, is a member of the  American Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry. She is continually voted “Top Dentist” by Westport Magazine, reflecting her skill and experience in dental care.

If you need a dentist for teeth implants in Connecticut please don’t hesitate to call us (203 377 9300) or send us a message to arrange a consultation.

WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS?

Dental Implants may be used to permanently anchor crowns, bridges or dentures.  When used for crowns or bridges they consist of three parts: the body (single or multiple), the abutment(s) and the crown or bridge.  The implant body is commonly referred to as the “implant”. It is a metal (usually titanium) post that is placed below the level of the gum, into the bone.  The abutment is then attached to the implant to be visible above the gum; it is what holds the crown in place. The crown is then cemented onto the abutment.

The most common type of implant case is for replacing a single tooth.  Most patients who choose implants do so because they do not wish to have their natural teeth cut down for a fixed bridge. The implant allows them to replace their missing tooth while saving their own surrounding teeth.

Many patients in Stratford also choose dental implants so as not to have to worry about the long term replacement cost.  Tooth supported bridges and dentures need to be replaced over time due to wear and loss of integrity.  When cared for properly, dental implants should not have to be replaced.

While dental implants may be a larger investment of time and money, the long-term benefits usually outweigh the initial cost of treatment.

WHAT IS THE AVERAGE COST FOR DENTAL IMPLANTS?

Like any other dental procedure, the cost of a dental implant can vary based on a number of factors. The average cost can range from $2,500 to $6,000.

Initially, the investment of a dental implant may seem higher than a denture or a bridge. The cost difference can make dentures or bridges more attractive options however, the dental implant can last a lifetime.  Since a bridge or denture may need replacing sooner, they can actually cost more money over time.

Many dental insurance plans have started covering a portion of the cost of dental implants and implant crowns so be sure to check with your insurance provider to see if you’re covered.

woman with dental implant smiling in Stratford CT

WHY GET DENTAL IMPLANTS?

Most people choose dental implants for their longevity and aesthetics. Dental Implants are most often made of titanium. The titanium is medical grade, similar to the metal used in joint replacements. The implants are placed subgingivally (below the gum) and into the bone. They mimic the root of a tooth.

Overtime (usually 4-6 months), the bone of the jaw grows around the implants and locks the implants into place. This process is called osseointegration. Following successful osseointegration the implants are ready to be restored.

Your tooth may be lost due to a variety of factors including gum disease, fracture, abscess, facial trauma or cavities. If you have a missing tooth, today there are a variety of options to choose from to help improve your smile. Fixed dental bridgesremovable dentures or dental implants may be chosen to replace missing teeth. Each one of these options has its pros and cons.

PREPARING FOR YOUR DENTAL IMPLANTS

Once a patient has made the decision to have dental implants and is determined to be a good candidate, a dental team will work together to ensure the best outcome is obtained.

Treatment planning and record taking are essential steps to allow seamless surgery and restoration. X-rays and cone beam (CT), models, wax-ups and surgical stents may be utilized as well.

DENTAL IMPLANT PROCEDURE

Oral Surgeons, Periodontists, and some General Dentists may perform the implant surgery, placing the implants into the bone. Most patients tolerate surgery well.

cut-away of dental implant in gum

The surgery begins with anesthesia, either local (Novocain) or sedation. The dentist may use a guide to place the implant in the optimal position. The implant is drilled into the bone and tightened. Sutures are placed so as to cover the implant with the gum. Sometimes a temporary tooth is placed with a denture or temporary crown.

When healing is successful and complete (usually 4-6 months), a second minor surgery is necessary to expose the implant. A minor incision is created and a healing cap is placed on the implant. The gum is closed around the cap but leaves the cap exposed. Once this has healed (usually in a couple of weeks), a Prosthodontist or General Dentist will continue the process and provide the final prosthesis.

In a typical single implant case, the implant is restored in two possible ways:

  • Cement-retained – a part called an abutment is screwed to the implant. It sticks out of the gum and a crown/tooth is cemented to the abutment
  • Screw-retained – a crown is screwed directly to the implant, eliminating the cement.

Depending on the case and the doctor’s preference, the dentist may choose either one of these options. Both cement and screw-retained implants are designed to give the patient many years of use of their new tooth.

A removable denture held in place with implants is called an overdenture. If implants are placed to hold a removable denture in place, abutments are placed on the implants, just as they would for cement-retained crowns. Rather than crowns going over the abutments, attachments are placed inside the denture.

These attachments engage the abutments and usually allow the overdenture to “snap” into place. This provides greater retention and less movement of the denture, making it easier to speak and eat. The most common place for an overdenture is the lower jaw, however upper overdentures are advantageous as well.

Having an overdenture on the upper jaw allows the palate (roof of the mouth) to be exposed rather than covered by the denture. When the palate is not covered by the denture, the mouth can feel more. Patients may notice they can speak more freely and taste their food better.

Although dental implants cannot get cavities, they are susceptible to infection and gum disease. Proper home care is necessary to ensure the gum and bone around the implants remain healthy.

Patients with implants should brush and floss around their implants and see their dentist regularly for maintenance and observation. The dentist or hygienist will clean around the implants, measure that the gum is still tight and no infection is present and ensure that all parts are working properly.

Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?

Teeth all work together as a unit to aid in chewing, speaking and smiling. The loss of one or more teeth can make these everyday functions difficult and even change the appearance of facial features. Fortunately, there are options for replacing missing teeth. Dental implants are the most permanent and aesthetic option for patients looking to replace teeth that have been lost due to decay, infection, periodontal disease or trauma.

How a Dental Implant Works

A dental implant is placed below the gum line and acts the same as the root of the tooth would. By placing a supporting crown or denture on top of the implant, a patient is able to function like they would with a natural tooth.

Who is a good candidate?

  • Patients missing one or more of their natural teeth
  • Good general health
  • Patients unhappy with the fit or look of partial dentures or full dentures
  • Good supporting bone

Although good general health is very helpful to the success of a dental implant, patients with health conditions can still be good candidates. Those with diabetes, certain heart conditions or high blood pressure should alert their dentist to their health condition so that their overall general health can be closely monitored.

Success Rate of a Dental Implant

Dental implants have a very high success rate if they are placed in proper conditions and in the right patient. Certain conditions can exclude dental implants as a choice or cause them to be unsuccessful, such as:

  • Thin jaws that cannot take a bone graph
  • Smoking – According to a study done in the Journal of Periodontology (JOP) smokers are have greater risk of infection and tend to heal more slowly.
  • Children – Since the jaw bone is still growing, dental implants are usually delayed until adulthood.
  • Health – certain medical conditions or medications may prevent implant healing

What if I have bone loss?

Over time, in areas where teeth are missing, the bone is naturally resorbed by the body. It becomes shorter and thinner. If a patient desires an implant and has been missing a tooth or teeth for several years, the bone has most likely already begun to resorb and the area may require the placement of additional bone. Bone grafting may be placed prior to an implant to ensure that the bone is thick enough and strong enough to successfully support an implant.

What is the cost of dental implants?

  • Implants and their corresponding crowns range in cost from $2500 – $5500.
  • In some cases, insurance may provide benefits toward an implant, but the majority do not.
  • Our office offers payment plans and financing through Chase and CareCredit.

TYPES OF IMPLANTS

Fortunately, there are several implant restoration options to maintain a healthy, functioning smile. Dental implants may be used in many ways from replacing a single tooth to full mouth rehabilitation:

  • Single Tooth – A single implant replaces a single missing tooth. A single crown is placed on top of the implant.
  • Multiple Teeth – Multiple implants may be placed and a fixed bridge may be attached to them
  • All teeth – Multiple implants may be placed and a fixed or removable denture is made. The implants firmly hold the prosthesis in place allowing you to chew more food than was possible with dentures alone. It also eliminates the worry of dentures moving or falling out when speaking.

Dental implants have a very high success rate (close to 98%) and with proper care and maintenance, they can last a lifetime.

DENTAL IMPLANT PROBLEMS

The loss of one or many teeth may lead to any of the following problems:

  • Stress – when a tooth or teeth are lost, the remaining teeth absorb the forces. When a tooth is under more stress than it should be, it may shift, loosen or crack.
  • Bite Changes – Over time, teeth will unevenly shift and drift to fill in the spaces. The result of the shifted teeth is an imbalanced bite that leads to premature wear, cracking and possible further tooth loss.
  • Bone loss – the pressure of the teeth stimulates the jawbone. When there are no teeth to put force on the bone, the result is a shrinking of the bone. Over time, the bone will become thinner and lower. Eventually, it may not be strong enough to support an implant or a denture comfortably.

The majority of patients choose dental implants because they are more durable and they do not want to cut down adjacent teeth, as would be necessary with a fixed dental bridge. Patients who are candidates for implants:

  • are in good general health and see a medical doctor regularly for check-ups
  • are in good oral health and have a mouth free from gum disease
  • want to improve the tightness and stability of their dentures without adhesive
  • want to improve aesthetics, speaking and eating
  • do not want to cut down natural teeth to support
  •  a fixed bridge

Not everyone is a candidate to receive dental implants. Patients with poor bone structure or not enough supporting bone may not have jaws strong enough to hold the implants. In many cases, bone grafting or a procedure called a sinus lift may be performed to shape and rebuild the bone. However, in more severe cases there may be too little bone to rebuild.

Patients with certain medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes or osteoporosis may not be able to have dental implants. Additionally, smokers may have a greater chance of implant failure or delayed healing.

HISTORY OF DENTAL IMPLANTS

Dental implants aren’t a modern luxury. History taught us that this is a common misconception. The first evidence of dental implants dates back to around 600 AD. X-rays taken of Mayan remains show bone growth around shells used to replace missing teeth in the lower jaw. From the 1500s through the 1800s, experiments were done with transplanting teeth.

The teeth to be implanted were usually obtained from underprivileged people or from “grave-robbers”. The early 20th century saw the use of different types of metals to determine which was the most “biocompatible“.

As the 1900s progressed, dentists and surgeons experimented with not only implant design but also with placement and restorations.

Mid-century America produced the first subperiosteal implant, as well as the first implant textbook to allow the expansion of implant knowledge.

Today, dental implants are a common, well-studied and an accepted form of tooth replacement.

For most people, the loss of a tooth or several teeth can have many repercussions. Teeth may be lost due to a variety of factors including gum disease, fracture, abscess, facial trauma or cavities.

BOOK YOUR DENTAL IMPLANT CONSULTATION IN STRATFORD

If you are missing any of your natural teeth, a dental implant can be a permanent solution to fixing your smile.

Please contact Hawley Lane Dental at 203-377-9300 to schedule an appointment. We are always happy to evaluate the candidacy for dental implants of Stratford area patients, placing you on the path towards fully restored smiles!

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