Millions of Americans suffer tooth loss due to tooth decay, periodontal disease, or injury. Today, 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth and about 40 million Americans are missing all of their teeth according to epidemiological studies. For many years, the only treatment options available for people with missing teeth were bridges and dentures. But, today, dental implants have taken the possibilities to a whole new level.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. These are implanted into the jaw to provide a strong foundation for replacement teeth. A single implant is made up of three parts and can be completed in our Las Vegas, NV dentist office.
- Implant Post: The first step is an implant post. This is a tooth-shaped screw that integrates with your natural jawbone.
- Abutment: This is a small piece that provides a base for the crown, (or fake tooth) to sit upon.
- Crown: This is the part that looks and functions like regular teeth.
Types Of Dental Implants
There are multiple types of implants, but they fall into one of two categories:
- Endosteal: These are placed in the jawbone and made of titanium. This is the most common type of dental implant.
- Subperiosteal: An alternative type of implant is placed under the gum, but above the jawbone. These are used for patients that don’t have enough healthy jaw to rebuild it around the implant.
Some of the methods for placing an implant include:
Single Tooth Implant: This is the option most often used for a single missing tooth. If you have a gap or a problem isolated to just one or two teeth, single tooth implants can create a seamless look and work perfectly.
Multiple Implants: If you have several missing teeth, or a larger gap, you can use multiple implants. This is not a full mouth replacement, but it is more than a single tooth implant.
Immediate Load Dental Implants: If you have enough natural bone and an implant secure enough to support immediate placement you can get immediate load implants with same-day implants during the same appointment as your placement.
All-on-4: This is a process for people who have lost most or all of their teeth due to decay or gum disease. Four to six dental implants are placed in available bone, avoiding the need for bone grafting. Special abutments are used so that a temporary set of replacement teeth can be placed the same day. After about six months, the permanent replacement teeth are placed.
We can complete all of the above types of dental implants in our Las Vegas, NV office. To determine which one is best for you, it’s best to meet with a dentist for a full evaluation.
Who Is A Candidate For Dental Implants?
In most cases, anyone healthy enough to undergo oral surgery can be considered for implants. In order to have a successful procedure, patients should have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. They also must be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. There are a few groups of people who may not be a candidate for dental implants. Those groups include:
- Heavy smokers
- Those with uncontrolled diabetes or heart disease
- Patients who have had radiation therapy to the head/neck area
Successful candidates require healthy gums and enough bone to support the implant. If you’re interested in discovering if you’re a good candidate for dental implants, simply schedule a consultation with Dr. Racanelli in our Las Vegas, NV office, and he will explain what options are available for you.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
There are many benefits to implants. With the confidence that comes with fully functional teeth, you can do things that you never thought possible.
- They’re built to last: As opposed to bridges and crowns which last for 5-10 years, dental implants are more durable and last for many decades.
- Increased confidence: You can talk, eat, and laugh without worrying about your teeth slipping or falling. You can enjoy the peace of mind to eat what you love, speak what’s on your mind, and remain active in your life.
- Improved speech: Because they fit so securely, implants provide more improved and natural speech than dentures or missing teeth.
- Promote healthy bones and teeth: Leaving empty spaces will lead to a deterioration of the jawbone. Implants are the only tooth replacement option that stimulates bone growth and prevents bone loss.
- Improved appearance: Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth which gives you a natural appearance.
- Permanent Solution: Because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become a permanent, comfortable solution to missing teeth.
- Easier eating: Dental implants function and feel like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
- Convenience: Implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures and dealing with messy adhesives.
Dental Implant Procedure
Over a series of visits, Dr. Richard A. Racanelli in Las Vegas, NV will anchor titanium posts to your jaw, and then create custom, natural-looking porcelain reconstructions that will match the rest of your teeth. How natural? Dental implants are impossible to detect as they are manufactured and function as your original teeth, and allow you to live your life in comfort and convenience. Here’s a breakdown of how the process works.
Initial consultation: Dr. Racanelli will thoroughly examine your mouth, including taking X-rays or 3D images, discuss the various implant options and develop a plan for you.
Dental implant placement: At your next scheduled appointment in our Las Vegas, NV office, Dr. Racanelli will place the dental implant in your jawbone where your tooth is missing. Local anesthesia or oral sedation can be used to keep you comfortable.
Healing Phase: As you heal, your implant and jawbone will grow together forming a strong, long-lasting foundation for your replacement teeth.
Abutment placement: Once your implant bonds with your jawbone, Dr. Racanelli places the abutment, or connector on the dental implant just above the gumline.
Attaching new teeth: After your gums heal, Dr. Racanelli will make impressions of your mouth and the missing teeth are custom-made to match your existing teeth perfectly. These teeth are attached to the abutment.
Periodic checkups: Although they don’t decay, your new teeth will need the same routine care, checkups and cleanings as your natural teeth.
Because dental implants can involve multiple phases and office visits, it’s not unreasonable to expect treatment to take 6-12 months, depending on your specific situation.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
With care, implants are meant to last a lifetime. Yet there are some factors that can affect their longevity.
Hygiene: Because they look and function like normal teeth, they also require the care of normal teeth. If you brush and floss at least twice a day and maintain regular visits to the dentist, this helps prevent any developing disease from affecting your implants.
Diet: You can eat and drink normally with implants, but the dentist will most likely advise you to refrain from eating certain tough foods in the beginning to protect the implants.
Care: You need to take care of your dental implants perhaps even better than you care for your original teeth. Habits like chewing or biting down on things like ice, pen tips, or even opening bottles or wrappers with your teeth, are not recommended for implants.
Health: Your teeth are often an indicator of your overall health. Patients with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer or diabetes, have a high risk of dental implant failure. It is important to take care of your oral as well as overall health to keep pre-existing conditions in check.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
No two patients’ treatments are exactly the same. This also goes for cost. Dental implants are an incredibly personalized procedure. What they cost for one will most likely differ from another. The cost of your implants can be affected by numerous factors
- Number of Replacements: Replacing more teeth costs more than a single tooth. The more teeth you need, the higher the cost.
- Location of the Tooth: Sometimes the angle of the front teeth, or the configuration of your jawline can make the procedure more or less difficult, which can affect the cost if it requires more time or advanced work.
- Bone Density: If you have low bone density, it requires more preparatory work such as initial bone grafts or sinus augmentations to ensure a successful result.
To learn more about our specific costs, call our office today to schedule a consultation to learn about our dental implants in Las Vegas, NV.
Dental Implant Surgery Aftercare
As with any surgery, you will have a post-surgery discussion with the dentist, so you know exactly what to expect and how to take care of your new dental implant at home.
- Bleeding: There is not much bleeding with this procedure, even patients on blood thinners experience little to no bleeding after implant surgery.
- Swelling: Swelling is rare, but we do provide ice packs and suggest cold liquids just in case.
- Diet: You will need to stay on a very soft diet for 8 weeks and avoid crunching or tearing food with your new teeth until they have had time to heal.
- Pain: Prescription strength Ibuprofen is recommended for a short period of time.
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics are typically prescribed and are important to use as directed to prevent infection.
- Oral Hygiene: You will receive specific instructions on how to care for your mouth after having implant surgery which will likely include cleaning and massaging the prosthetic.
- Activity: If you were sedated, you should not drive the day after your procedure. Otherwise you can return to normal activity as you feel up to it.
Dental Implant FAQs
What is the success rate of dental implants?
Implants regularly achieve success rates in excess of 95%.
Does getting dental implants hurt?
Although it sounds like a very painful procedure, most people find dental implant surgery very easy to tolerate. The area is completely numb during the procedure, and pain afterward can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain-relievers and ice packs.
Will dental implants affect my speech?
Yes. You may end up talking clearer and with more ease thanks to your implants. It may feel funny at first, but as you get use to them, you will forget you even have them.
Can my body reject a dental implant?
No, because the dental implant doesn’t contain any living cells, they can’t be “rejected” by the body. However, they can fail to integrate with the jawbone if an infection develops, or if it is subjected to biting forces too soon.
Step Into The Next Phase of You
Consequences of missing teeth is about more than a pretty smile. Tooth loss can cause significant nutritional changes which may lead to obesity, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and even some forms of cancer. Dental implants deliver a sense of comfort and stability that conventional substitutes lack, so everything from speaking to eating becomes more natural.
If you’re interested in discovering if you’re a good candidate for dental implants, simply schedule a consultation with Dr. Racanelli in our Las Vegas, NV dental office, and he will thoroughly explain all options are available for you.