Dental implants are the most effective and longest-lasting solution for replacing missing teeth. They have the same look, feel, and function as healthy natural teeth. At Oral Surgery Associates & Dental Implant Centers in Atlanta, we’ll provide you with durable options for tooth replacement that will help you smile with confidence.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root, usually made of titanium. A complete dental implant has three components:
- Implant – a titanium root form that is surgically placed into the jawbone
- Abutment – a connector, placed on top the implant root form before a crown is secured to it
- Crown – a restoration to replace the visible, white portion of your tooth
One of our oral surgeons will place the implant and the abutment, and your general dentist will place the crown.
When Are They Used?
If you’re a candidate for them, dental implants can be used to replace one or more missing teeth.
- Single tooth – A single root form can replace a missing tooth.
- Multiple teeth – Each missing tooth can be replaced with an implant. Or a dental bridge that is used to replace two or more adjacent teeth can be anchored with implants. When an entire arch of teeth needs to be replaced, three bridges are used to complete the arch.
- Dentures – Snap-on dentures, implant overdentures, or All-on-4 dental implants can secure your dentures and improve the way they look, feel, and function.
Why Are They So Effective?
The human body accepts a dental implant as if it is your own natural tooth root. In a process called osseointegration, the jawbone fuses with the artificial root—so well that it’s almost impossible to remove. A well-placed and deeply anchored dental implant will function like a natural tooth.
Also when a tooth is missing, jawbone shrinkage occurs, which we’ll discuss in more detail below. Dental implants stimulate bone to help preserve it. And they help prevent facial collapse, which occurs when all of your teeth are missing. Read our facial collapse page for information on preventing and treating it.
The Dental Implant Process
High-quality implants can last a lifetime. Our oral surgeons adhere to the highest standards to ensure you get optimal results.
- Consultation and treatment plan – We start the process by ensuring you’re a candidate for this treatment. We’ll take 3-D images of your facial structures and teeth and thoroughly review your medical and dental histories. You’ll receive a thorough explanation of your treatment options and what you can expect from each of them. After you choose an option, we’ll provide a treatment plan that matches your goals for your oral health and your budget.
- Extraction – If you have a damaged tooth that needs to be extracted, it may be possible to immediately replace it with a dental implant. At times, bone grafting is required before placing the implant.
- Bone grafting – When a tooth is missing, your body will begin to resorb the bone from that space. Studies show that within one year of tooth loss, there is a 25% decrease in bone width. If you don’t act quickly, the bone can shrink so much that it won’t support a dental implant. Bone grafting is needed to provide support for a dental implant. We allow four to six months for the graft to heal before placing the implant.
- Dental implant surgery – You will be anesthetized to ensure your comfort throughout the surgery. A small incision will be made, and the implant will be placed in the bone. The procedure takes one to two hours.
- Osseointegration – After we place the implant, we will cover it with the surrounding soft tissue. We allow a healing period of three to four months for the implant and bone to fully integrate.
- Final restoration – After the healing period, we will check the implant site to ensure osseointegration is complete. An abutment is placed on the implant to connect with the restoration or dental crown. Your general dentist will place the crown.
How Much Do They Cost?
The upfront cost of dental implants makes them more expensive than other forms of tooth replacement, such as traditional dental bridges or removable dentures. But dental implants can outlast the alternatives by many years, making them more affordable in the long run.
Request a Dental Implants Consultation
Oral Surgery Associates & Dental Implant Centers of Atlanta has a host of specialists who are lecturers, past or current leaders in highly respected dental organizations, and diplomats or fellows of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. We invite you to learn more about their background and training in the About Us section of our website.
If you would like to enhance your smile and improve your oral health with dental implants, schedule an appointment for a consultation or an exam. Call one of our offices near you or request an appointment online.