Dental Implants are the most modern and predictable way to replace missing teeth.
For more than 20 years, Fiddlehead Dental has been mastering the process of restoring smiles with dental implants; now the most predictable and least painful way to permanently replace missing teeth.
Some people loose teeth due to injury, tooth decay, or gum disease. Others may have been missing teeth since childhood. You can even use several, carefully placed, implants to support a partial denture or complete denture. All of those situations are ideal for dental implant treatment. Whatever the reason, if you want a long-lasting dental restoration, that looks and feels as though it's really part of your mouth, without involving neighboring teeth, dental implants may be the perfect answer.
People worry about how painful the process looks, but that's one of the big myths about this procedure. This is not an uncomfortable process. Dr. Chuck's brother came to Vermont to have 4 implants placed on his lower right, on one Friday afternoon and by Sunday, we had to remind him to take some Ibuprofen.
Dr. Lynda's sister had the same, nearly painless, experience when she lost a front tooth in a swimming accident. She's also a dentist, so that was a really unfortunate turn of events; but now she proudly asks her own patients to see if they can recognize which one of her front teeth is the implant. No one can tell!
Bottom-line: dental implants, when done by people like Dr. Chuck, who have mastered the procedure, should involve some of the easiest dental visits you may ever have. In fact, it's common in our office to have patients who finish implant treatment and remark how pleasantly surprised they were with the whole process.
So just what are "Dental Implants?"
A "Dental Implant" is actually a false tooth root, often made of titanium. It has ridges that look like those on a regular screw you'd use in wood. Once the implant is carefully placed and healing begins, these ridges provide more surface area for the bone to integrate (form) around and will help to stabilize the "bionic" root.
Most often, an implant procedure involves two parts:
- The implant (false tooth root) is placed by an oral surgeon or periodontist (gum specialist).
- Then after three months, when the bone has made the implant solid, in our office, Dr. Chuck creates a crown that is cemented on top of the implant, so it looks and functions exactly like a natural tooth.
You care for the implant tooth exactly like it was a natural tooth and will forget it's even there.
Dental Implants can seem like an enormous investment, until you really break down the value you are getting.
Firstly, it is possible, and often likely, that a dental implant and crown may last you your whole life. Other options for tooth replacement may seem less expensive at first glance, but most will need to be redone over and over, through your life time.
Secondly, dental implants are "stand alone" procedures. They do not involve neighboring teeth. For example, an option to replace a single, missing, tooth in the middle of two, healthy teeth would include a conventional dental "bridge" - this involves shaving down the two neighboring teeth down to nubs for crowns; if those teeth were healthy to begin with, that seems like such a shame.
Thirdly, dental implants just become part of your normal routines in caring for your teeth. No new daily tasks are necessary. But if you chose a less expensive route to tooth replacement, you will add to your daily maintenance chores. Cleaning under a bridge, or taking a partial denture in and out, can make maintenance a bit of a pain.
And the cost.. This will vary greatly all over the U.S. and remember, there are usually two parts to the process.
- The fee for the actual implant (false root) can be $1,600 to $3,000 in our region of Vermont, depending on whether you need the surgeon to make the bone in the area of the implant more substantial. (That's called a "bone graft.")
- And in our office, the cost of the "implant crown" is $1,550 to $1,800, depending on the unique demands of the situation in your mouth.
So your total investment may be in the $3,200 to $5,000 range, depending on where you live and the complexity of your particular dental situation. That said, keep in mind you will be hard-pressed to find another thing that you will use hundreds of times each day, for decades and decades, that would bring this much value. A dental implant is something you will thank yourself for doing for decades.
To learn about the specifics of your situation, Dr. Chuck is happy to spend a half hour with you discussing all your options and at that visit, you'll leave with a better idea of the cost of each option.
After we determine that a dental implant is the best option for you, you'll make a visit to the surgeon who will be putting the implant in place. We collaborate with them about your specific needs and then the surgeon will place the correct sized implant, in a carefully planned position. (You are numbed-up completely for that procedure and patients report that the visit is always easier than they imagined.)
Usually, three months are allowed to pass with the implant covered only by a "healing cap", like the ones at left here. During this important period of healing, the body will fully integrate the implant into the newly formed bone surrounding the threads of the implant.
If the implant is placed in an area of the mouth that is cosmetically important, we will create a custom, temporary, tooth replacement while the bone around the implant is growing.
Once the implant is solidly a part of the jaw, the dentist can proceed with your restoration; either a beautiful, natural looking crown is bonded on the implant, or a new denture can be made to precisely and snugly attach to multiple implants.
Those visits are uncomplicated and painless. Usually it will take two visits to complete the crown on an implant: one to make a model of the implant post and a second to cement the crown on top.
Here's a diagram of the steps for all of you who are "visual learners"...
First you are numbed up completely and a tiny incision is made in the gums
Next, while you are numb, a pilot hole is made in the bone. Again... Not to worry here; our patients tell us that they are amazed at how much easier the process was compared to their run-away imaginations.
Then the implant is placed down in the hole and covered with a little flat metal button that is called a "healing cap."
After 3 months, the healing cap is removed and the "abutment" is placed, which stands above your gums. The abutment is the part that we cement our crown to.
Finally, here's a diagram of the implant with Crown cemented! It looks, feels and functions just like any other tooth in your mouth!