Dental Implants

What are Dental Implants?

A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown. If you compare natural teeth to implant-supported replacement teeth, you’ll see they have the same basic parts. Both have a crown (the visible part used to chew food). Both have a root that holds the tooth securely under the gum and is anchored into the jaw. The difference is that the implant is made of titanium – the same time-tested material used by surgeons for artificial joints. When you lose a tooth, you lose both the root and the crown. To replace the tooth, the surgeon first replaces the root with a small dental implant.

Once the implant is surgically placed into the jawbone, the bone will bond to the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. 

Implants help to preserve facial structure and prevent bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.

Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth which look, feel and function like natural teeth. If you have a missing tooth or teeth dental implants allow for you to regain the ability to eat virtually anything. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.

The following link “Implant Timeline” lays out the entire implant placement process. Review this for what you can expect in terms of time and steps:

Dental Implants Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of dental implants, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to dental implants are discussed.

Dental Implants Presentation

Dental implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist.  Drs. Coviello or Starley performs the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting if necessary.  The restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.

How long will implants last?

Implants usually last a long time. When patients are missing all of their teeth, long-term studies (more than 30 years) show an 80 to 90 percent success rate. For patients missing one or several teeth, recent studies show a success rate of greater than 95 percent, which compares favorably with other areas in the body that receive implant replacement (such as hips or knees). However, if one of your dental implants either doesn’t heal properly or loosens after a period of time, you may need to have it removed. After the site heals (or on occasion at the time of removal), another implant usually can be placed.

Guided Implant Placement

Guided implant surgery is the process of planning the implant surgery on a computer using the patient’s CBCT image. We work with a lab to generate a virtual representation of the patient’s jaw and oral anatomy. This is utilized to develop a digital treatment plan in which the exact position of the implant is determined in advance of treatment. A surgical guide is fabricated by a lab that controls the osteotomy in precise accordance with the preplanned implant position.                                                              Image of an implant guide

Pros for Guided Implant:

  • Surgery can be precise, safe, and predictable. 
  • Surgery time is shorter. 
  • Generally carried out as a flapless surgery and shorter recovery time for the patient. 
  • Less invasion, blood, and pain for the patient. 
  • Immediate loading is possible. 
  • Bone grafts can be minimized.

Downside for Guided Implant: 

  • It is more expensive due to working with the lab to fabricate the guide.