You know that your confidence about your teeth affects how you feel about yourself, both personally and professionally. Perhaps you hide your smile because of spaces from missing teeth. Maybe your dentures don’t feel secure. Perhaps you have difficulty chewing. If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to smile, speak, and eat again with confidence, there is good news! Dental implants are teeth that can look and feel just like your own. Dental implants can be used to support a crown, bridges, or dentures. Unlike dentures, which can be removed, implants are permanently anchored into the jaw itself.

The ideal candidate for a dental implant is in good general and oral health. Adequate bone in your jaw is needed to support the implant, and the best candidates have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease. Dental implants are intimately connected with the gum tissue and underlying bone in the mouth. When the implant device is inserted into your jaw, a chemical and mechanical bond is formed.

With implants you get a perfect fit, and they will look and feel as good as (or better than!) your original teeth. Our experienced dentist, Dr. Anne Nicholas, has been providing patients with dental implants in Palm Desert, California and the surrounding areas of the Coachella Valley for over 17 years!

To learn more about dental implants and to find out if they are right for you, contact our office nearest to you.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a substitute, or replacement tooth root, that provides a stable foundation for a replacement crown. The bone forms a biological bond with the new root (implant), giving your new crown the same stable foundation as a natural tooth. Dental implants are made out of a metal called titanium, and they are surgically implanted in the jaw bone. As the body heals for approximately three to six months after the surgery, the bone around the implant bonds to the implant through a process called osseointegration. After the healing process is complete, the implants are used to anchor crowns, bridges, or dentures. Dental implants are the most natural replacement for a missing tooth.

What is the dental implant process like?

The process should begin with a thorough evaluation of the patient’s medical and dental history, as well as a full examination of the entire mouth and missing teeth areas. The clinical exam should also include specific X-rays. Sometimes a CT scan of your jaw bone is needed in order to determine three dimensionally the bone available for implant placement. After assessing the patient, a comprehensive treatment plan can be devised. The next step is the surgical placement of the dental implants in the jaw bone after local anesthesia. The length of the healing period depends on the quality and quantity of bone, as well as the type of implant placed. After adequate healing is allowed to occur, the implant can be used to support the crown, bridge, or denture.

Are there different types of dental implants?

Yes, several types are available. There are root form implants called Endosteal, there are Subperiosteal implants, there are mini implants, and there are blade implants. An important factor for selection is to determine whether your jaw bone can adequately support the implant. Most dental implants placed today are Endosteal root form fixtures (similar to a man-made tooth root) as they have the highest success rate!

How many implants should be placed?

This is a question that you should discuss with your dentist during the treatment planning phase. A good rule of thumb is to place one implant for each tooth replaced. For molars, since they have two or more roots, more than one implant is needed to support the forces of chewing. Other decisive factors for the number of implants needed for success are the quality and quantity of the patient’s bone. Equally as important are the existing anatomy of the bone and the financial resources of the patient. Placing enough implants to restore teeth is vitally important to the long-term success of the restoration. Simply stated, the most costly mistake is to have an implant fail because not enough implants are placed to support the teeth. If the number of implants is limited due to financial constraints of the patient, then the implant treatment should be avoided or the type of restoration must be altered.

Who should you see about getting dental implants?

When getting dental implants, you should select a dentist that is a specialist in the surgical placement of the implant and who has in-depth knowledge and training of three additional years after dental school. It is important to know that implant treatment consists of two components: surgical phase and restorative phase.

Traditionally a dental surgeon, like an oral surgeon or a periodontist, performs the surgical component. A general dentist or a prosthodontist, with the assistance of a laboratory technician, performs the restorative component. Usually you have to go from the periodontist’s office that does the surgery to the restoring dentist’s office (prosthodontist). In our office, the periodontist, Dr. Nicholas, and the prosthodontist, Dr. Adishian, are working as a team at the same location. This way you don’t have to go from one office to another, and the communication between the two doctors is much better.

Case #1 – Full mouth reconstruction with crowns, veneers, and bridges for the lower jaw and an implant-supported overdenture that corrected the bite and improved aesthetics.

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Case #2 – Hybrid fixed overdenture supported by 7 mandibular (lower jaw) dental implants.

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Case #3 – From acrylic to porcelain lower fixed denture over dental implants.

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Case #4 – Full mouth reconstruction to correct the bite and improve the aesthetics with implant-supported bar overdentures.

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