The foremost reason to get a dental implant in Carrollton, Texas is tooth loss. According to the CDC, 52% of American adults aged 20-64 have lost at least one tooth.
The causes of tooth loss vary. They include:
- tooth decay or caries
- periodontal (gum) disease
- poor oral hygiene
- trauma or accident (tooth injury)
- congenital defects
- poor diet and/or smoking
However, the deleterious effects of tooth loss go beyond having one less tooth (or multiple teeth) to masticate food properly. Individuals who’ve lost a tooth, a few teeth, or suffer from complete tooth loss (edentulism) generally become more self-conscious of the appearance of their teeth.
Eating and talking may be an uncomfortable experience. Smiling doesn’t come easy anymore. And the fact that being in public can lead to awkward situations may negatively impact social life, daily lifestyle, and self-confidence.
To compound issues further, there’d be inevitable jaw bone deterioration at the region of the lost tooth and diminished protection to adjacent (surrounding) teeth.
There are several dental restoration options available to replace lost teeth. Each has its pros (and cons), some better than the others.
But, none really comes close to being a true replacement for a healthy, natural tooth. Except dental implants that is.
What is a Dental Implant?
So, what is it about dental implants that’s made them popular?
For starters, the name (specifically implant) offers pointers. A dental implant is a biocompatible (tolerated by your body) insert placed in your jaw to serve as an anchor (foundation or support) for replacement teeth—be it a crown, bridge, or denture.
In many respects, it is an artificial tooth root. It is firm, exceptionally durable, and offers the same benefits as a natural tooth root.
The Use of Dental Implants in Carrollton, Texas
Experts have called dental implants the Cadillac or Ferrari of dental restoration. It may sound flattering, but it is accurate. It is unarguably the best option available. Even more so because of its versatility.
As a fledged tooth root, dental implant specialists can use it as a solid foundation to replace a tooth, some teeth, or an entire row of teeth.
Implant-Supported Single Tooth Replacement
Sometimes called a tooth implant, this is the basic form of dental implant use. It comprises a/an:
- dental implant, serving as the root;
- abutment (also appropriately called a connector)
- crown, the visible white part serving as the enamel and modeled to look like your other natural teeth
When the procedure is complete, a tooth implant looks like, has the same structure as, and functions like a natural tooth.
- Tooth-supported fixed bridge
A tooth implant and tooth-supported fixed bridge compared
By far the commonest alternative, it involves shaving (grinding) the enamels (an irreparable damage) of perfectly functioning adjacent teeth, only so they can serve as abutments (supports) for the replacement bridge.
- Removable partial denture
If you are concerned about the trimming of healthy adjacent teeth, you may opt for a single removable partial denture. It requires attaching hooks (or clasps) to other teeth to provide support for the pontic (replacement tooth).
- Resin-bonded bridge
Also called a Maryland Bridge, this type of restoration also avoids chipping away the enamels adjacent teeth. Instead, it involves the use of a pair of thin metal wings (some use only one wing) bonded (attached) to adjacent teeth using composite resin cement.
How Do the Alternatives Compare?
In general, compared to a dental implant, the alternatives often have the following downsides:
- Deteriorating bone (increased bone resorption) at the region of the lost tooth
- Can’t provide the same excellent function
- Typically do not have similar longevity or success rates
Additionally, each alternative has its peculiar drawbacks.
A tooth-supported fixed bridge may offer the next best stability after a dental implant, but it:
- involves irremediable crowning or chipping of adjacent teeth that compromise their long-term health
- requires regular replacement (on average, once every decade), with each replacement involving the grinding of more tooth structure
- has relatively increased susceptibility to decay, gum, and root canal problems
- requires more care and maintenance
A removable partial denture may not involve trimming healthy teeth, but it:
- is not as stable or as comfortable as an implant
- may negatively affect your speech and eating
- may cause loosening of the teeth to which it is hooked over time
- does not look as natural, nor does it function as well as a dental implant
A resin-bonded bridge may offer the best of both worlds (a fixed bridge and a partial)—better looks, stability (although not as strong as a fixed bridge), and functionality but without the grinding of abutment teeth. However, dental implants have better functionality and longer lifespan.
For individuals missing several teeth in a row, it would be impractical and costly to have each lost tooth replaced with a tooth implant. The alternative, and preferred option, is to have dental implants anchor a dental bridge.
- Traditional tooth-supported dental bridge
It is essentially the same as the tooth-supported fixed bridge above to replace a single tooth. Except, the pontic is not a single tooth, but multiple teeth.
- Traditional removable partial denture
Also the same as a single-tooth replacement partial, with the pontic being multiple teeth.
How Do the Alternatives Compare?
Compared to a traditional bridge and partial, an implant-supported bridge:
- offers better stability and functionality
- lasts longer and has a higher success rate
- preserves bones and gums
Furthermore, with a traditional fixed bridge:
- the bridge may begin to slide and cause irritation; due to the jawbone weakening and gums receding
- plaque may creep into the space between the dental bridge and gum; thereby increasing the likelihood of developing periodontal disease, losing more teeth, or developing some other oral health issue
With a partial, slips are common, especially when eating, speaking, or laughing. It also offers the least stability and functionality of all three multiple-teeth restoration options.
These downsides are in addition to those shared above in the single tooth restoration sub-section.
An implant denture is ideal for individuals who are (or are about to be) edentulous (lacking teeth) on one or both jaws. The most popular type of implant denture in Carrollton, Texas is the All-On-4 dental implant.
The alternative—All-On-6 dental implant—is similar in structure, form, and function to the All-On-Four, except it uses six implants rather than four. Oral surgeons may prefer to use an all-on-6 for complete teeth restoration in the upper jaw. Or in individuals with particularly weak jawbone.
Dental implant specialists may use any number of implants (between four and eight) they surmise would provide proper stability and functionality for a specific individual.
An implant denture uses strategically placed implants that’d act as support for a full-arch detachable bridge or overdenture, or a fixed bridge.
Furthermore, in some cases, specialists can place a temporary or interim set of teeth on the implants using special abutments on the same day of the implant surgery. The procedure is colloquially called Teeth In A Day.
The major benefit is that patients do not have to live without teeth while the implants osseointegrate (fuse) with the jawbone to which they’re attached and gum tissues heal. Patients can only munch on a modified diet (soft food) with the temporary teeth.
After the healing process is complete, the specialist replaces the temporary bridge with a fixed bridge that is about as stable and strong as natural teeth.
A traditional denture rests on and gets its support from the gums. It is understandably cheaper than an implant-supported denture but has more cons.
Implant-Supported Denture vs. Traditional Denture
The implants of implant-supported dentures function as tooth roots in that they maintain gum and bone structure and health, offer chewing support, and provide stability for dentures.
Traditional dentures do not have these implants, and the consequences include:
- Accelerated bone resorption leading to substantial bone loss
- Receding gums
- Both (bone loss and receding gums) culminate in altering the appearance of your face and smile
- Embarrassing sucking or clicking sounds when one eats, speaks, coughs, yawns, or smiles
- Minimal support for chewing resulting in sore gums due to irritation
- Sliding and slipping
- Talking and tasting food is impaired
- Denture resizing may be required over time
- Relatively higher risk of periodontal disease
Benefits and Advantages of Dental Implants
- Implants function, fit, feel, and look like natural teeth. Implants and natural teeth have roughly the same structure.
- Implants can last a lifetime, have the highest success rates, and so offer long-term, cost-effective teeth restoration. Alternatives such as crowns, bridges, and dentures are usually only good for 5-10 years.
- Implants are good news for other structures in your mouth. As they:
- help stimulate and preserve the jawbone that’d otherwise deteriorate,
- prevent gums from receding, and
- provide essential protection to neighboring teeth (and do not compromise the health of adjacent teeth)
Alternatives, on the other hand, don’t help much in preserving the health of other mouth structures. Some, like a tooth-supported fixed bridge, require damaging other okay, healthy teeth.
- Implants offer excellent stability, strength, and functioning. You’d be able to eat your favorite foods and savor the full taste of food. You’d not have to cope with slips, slides, shifts, or clicks and the inevitable “repositioning” you have to do; which may be embarrassing, uncomfortable, make you mumble or slur your words, make chewing difficult, or make your smile to look unnatural.
- Implants bolster self-confidence and self-esteem. This stems from the fact that you do not have to worry about the appearance of your teeth, face, and/or smile as implants preserve your face shape, contour, and smile. Nor do you have to worry that your tooth-supported replacement teeth or denture could loosen or fall out when you eat, talk, or laugh; since you know that your implants will stay firmly in place for years.
Thus, you can laugh, smile, and converse more as you would with healthy, fully functional natural teeth. This makes you feel better about yourself and join in the fun effortlessly. Your teeth (or lack thereof) no longer dictates how you lead your life, you do!
- Implants are easy to care for. You can brush and floss a tooth implant as you would your other teeth. All that is required to ensure maximum durability is to care for your gums and teeth regularly and keep your dental appointments (as you should even with natural, healthy teeth).
Types of Dental Implants
Dental implants come in various sizes, configurations, and materials used. That said, they are often classified based on the number of steps required to implant them and how they are implanted.
By number of procedural stages
- Single-Stage Dental Implants
Implants of this type require only one surgery. The oral surgeon places the implant into the jaw, such that it sits on the jawbone and is level with the gumline. After stitching the gums, the head of the implant remains in sight.
After the healing process is complete, the prosthodontist can attach the abutment directly to the implant without having to perform another surgery.
- Two-Stage Dental Implants
These implants require a major surgery to place the implant into the jaw and a minor follow-up surgery after healing is complete to attach the abutment to the implant.
By attachment to the jawbone
- Endosteal or Endosseous Implants
A simple translation of “endosseous” is endo- for ‘within’ and –osseous for consisting of ‘bone’ to mean within the bone. Put simply, an endosseous implant is implanted within (or directly into) the jawbone.
It is also called an endosteal implant because it attaches to the endosteum (an inner layer) of the jawbone
Endosseous implants may have a blade, cylinder (smooth), or screw configuration. And they are commonly used for the two-stage implant procedure.
- Subperiosteal or Eposteal Implant
While the endosteum is an inner layer of your jawbone, the periosteum is a sheet that covers the outer surface of your jawbone.
Subperiosteal (meaning situated or occurring beneath the periosteum) implants are placed on top of the jawbone (just beneath the periosteum).
Eposteal implants typically consist of a specialized metal frame attached to the jawbone just below the gum tissue and periosteum, with the implant posts protruding through the gums. This frame becomes affixed to the jawbone as the gums heal.
Subperiosteal implants are commonly used for the single-stage implant procedure.
Endosteal implants are the more common type of implants used in Carrollton, Texas. Subperiosteal implants are often used for patients who lack adequate jawbone structures and individuals who are unable to or do not wish to have a bone graft.
An even less common type of implant is the transosteal implant. However, because of lower long-term success rates and complications, specialists do not use them any more for contemporary dental implant procedures.
The Dental Implant Process in Carrollton, TX
The procedure depicted in this section is for an implant-supported single tooth replacement. The procedure for other dental-implant prosthetics (bridges and dentures) may differ considerably.
Consultation and Planning
This is when you have a sit-down to go over your interest in a dental implant. It entails everything from finding out if you are a candidate for dental implant restoration to knowing what the procedure would cost you.
Can I get a dental implant?
The answer to this question would determine if the consultation would proceed for a dental implant or if it’ll veer off to discussing other restoration alternatives.
In general, if you’re healthy enough to undertake routine dental extraction or oral surgery, then you could get a dental implant. But it isn’t always so simple. Implants have certain requirements, chief amongst which are:
- sufficient jawbone to hold the implant
- healthy gums
- commitment to good oral hygiene
- commitment to make regular dental visits
If you check out on these counts, you may be subject to added individualized evaluation if you:
- suffer from chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, or leukemia
- have had radiotherapy to the head/neck area
- are a heavy smoker
As they may impede healing after surgery.
The bottom line is that the dental specialist you interface with is in the best position to determine if you can or cannot get a dental implant.
If you are green-lighted to have a dental implant, thorough dental examination follows to help prepare a treatment plan. This examination may include:
- visual inspection
- use of photographs
- x-ray imaging
- [3D] CT (computed tomography or CAT) scans—Panoramic View and/or Cone Beam CT scans
The dental professional conducts these tests to evaluate your gum health, quantity and density of your jawbone, and determine the appropriate location to place the implant(s).
Additionally, models would be made of your mouth and teeth.
Discussing the treatment plan and other requisite information
The dental specialist would use information gleaned from the examination to prepare a detailed treatment plan. The specialist would discuss details of the plan and other important information with you.
The details you would discuss with the dental professional in no particular order include:
- Removal of any bad or damaged tooth
- Number of teeth to be replaced
- Type of implant and implant material to be used
- The condition of your jawbone and surrounding gum tissue
In most cases, your jawbone would be in good condition to hold an implant. Sometimes, your jawbone as is may not have sufficient quantity and density. In which case, bone grafting or augmentation will be necessary to beef it up.
Similarly, a gum graft may be necessary if you have issues in the gum surrounding the implant site. The dental professional may also advocate the use of mini implants (implants with smaller diameters).
- Anesthesia and pain management
Options include local anesthesia (you’re awake, but the surgical area is numbed), sedation (you’re awake, numb, and ‘out of it’), and general anesthesia (you’re in la la land).
You’ll be told what to eat and drink before surgery, depending on the type of anesthesia you would have. If you opt for sedation or general anesthesia, you’d have to make plans to have someone take you home after surgery.
- Number of appointments that’d be scheduled and estimated duration of the entire treatment process
- Cost of the procedure
- How to care for the implant teeth
- Any medical conditions you have and the medications (both over-the-counter and prescription drugs and supplements) you are on
- Any concerns you may have
Addressing any underlying health issues
- You may be required to take prescribed antibiotics before surgery if you have certain orthopedic implants or heart conditions. This is to help prevent infection.
- You may have to undergo treatment for conditions such as periodontal disease, active diabetes, or cancer before you can have a dental implant
- You may have to quit smoking several months before the implant surgery. This is because smoking can cause poor osseointegration—the #1 reason why implants fail.
Bone and/or gum grafting
Bone grafting is required if your jawbone is not thick enough to support the implant post and withstand the enormous amount of pressure that it’d exert during chewing. Bone from another part of your body or an artificial bone would be used for the bone augmentation process.
Depending on the condition of your jawbone, the bone graft may be done several months before or on the same day (especially if only minor grafting is required) as the implant surgery.
In a similar vein, if surrounding gums are not sufficient or healthy enough, a gum graft (gingival graft) will be done. The gum to be grafted in is taken from another area of your mouth.
After the graft is done, you’d have to allow for the transplanted bone to heal and grow. The healing process would take several months.
Dental implant surgery in Carrollton, Texas is an outpatient or ambulatory procedure, in that it does not require an overnight hospital stay.
Placing the implant
This is a multi-staged surgery. The stages include:
- administering anesthesia
- preparing the implant site after the anesthetic takes effect; involves making an incision to open the gums for access to the jawbone
- making a hole in the implant site
- placing the implant post
- closing the implant site using an implant cap and stitches
After the implant site is closed, a partial or temporary prosthetic may be placed on the implant post for appearance.
Osseointegration and healing
After the implant surgery is complete, a period of osseointegration follows. Osseointegration refers to the process where the jawbone fuses with the implant to hold it in place. This process may take several months and is the reason for the excellent strength and stability of implant-supported prosthetics.
While osseointegration continues, the stitched gum flaps would heal in a shorter period (7 to 10 days). The stitches are removed afterward if self-dissolving stitches that do not require removal are not used.
Placing the abutment
Following osseointegration, a procedure is done to place the abutment (or connector). The abutment connects the implant post to the visible crown.
The abutment placement process involves:
- administering anesthesia
- reopening the gumline to expose the implant post
- attaching the abutment to the implant post after removing the implant cap
- stitching the gums closed around (but not over) the abutment
Sometimes, the abutment may be placed on the same day as the implant post. This will eliminate the need for a second, separate procedure. When attached, the abutment protrudes above the gumline and is visible whenever you open your mouth. It will remain so until a crown (or other prosthetic) is placed on it.
However, some people do not like the appearance (especially since it’d stay same for the entire several-months-long healing/osseointegration process) would rather have the abutment attached in a second, separate procedure after the osseointegration process is complete.
After the abutment placement, the gums are left to heal for one to two weeks. In the meantime, impressions would be made of your mouth and teeth and a model of your bite is created. This impression would be used to customize your replacement tooth (dental crown), bridge, or denture.
Placing the crown(s)
The crown will be based on the size, shape, fit, and color of the impression. It will be designed to blend in with your other teeth and not look out of place. Ditto for other prosthetics.
There are two types of crowns—removable and fixed crowns.
- A removable crown is as the name suggests detachable. It looks like a traditional removal denture, in that it has pink, plastic gum around the artificial tooth. It is placed on a metal frame mounted on the implant abutment, snapping securely into place. It may be removed for repair or cleaning.
- A fixed crown is attached permanently to the abutment. It is the more expensive type and when placed is very similar to a natural tooth.
Post-Surgery Recovery and Follow-Up Care for your Dental Prosthetic
After the dental implant procedure is complete, you may experience some discomfort for a few days. This may be in form of:
- discomfort under your eyes, in your cheeks, and chin
- swelling of your gums and face
- minor bleeding with related pain at the implant site
- bruising of the gums and skin
To relieve the discomfort and pain, you may have to:
- take ibuprofen, other prescribed pain medication, and/or antibiotics
- use an icepack or package of frozen vegetable for 10 minutes on and 20 minutes off to reduce swelling
- rise gently with warm salt water for a few days after the procedure to soothe the gum tissue and for added relief
Additionally, for about 10 to 14 days after the procedure, you would have to stick to diets comprising only soft foods.
Care and Maintenance
Care for it like you would a natural tooth.
- Regular brushing (at least twice a day) and flossing (at least once a day)
- Rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash
Implant-supported fixed bridge and denture
- Regular brushing (at least twice daily) and flossing with a floss threader (at least once daily)
- Rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash
Implant-supported removable bridge and overdenture
Patients with these types of implants should get specially designed brushes and flosses for effective maintenance. Furthermore, you should clean the implant attachments in addition to the detached overdenture or bridge.
That said, regardless of the type of implant (a tooth implant or a full arch all-on-8 fixed denture), you’d have to see your dentist and surgical specialist once or twice a year for routine checks.
Avoid smoking as it is attributed to high failure rates.
Duration of the Dental Implant Procedure: How Long Does It Take?
On average, a dental implant restoration would take THREE (3) to SIX (6) months to complete. If you need to have additional procedures done, such as bone grafting or treatment for periodontal disease, the duration could stretch out to NINE (9) months.
The healing processes in between surgeries eat up most of the time. The surgeries themselves, whether it is placing a dental post, or attaching an abutment or crown, are completed in one day (actually a few hours).
In any case, a form of carrying out dental implants has been growing in popularity. It goes by many names—Immediate Load Dental Implant, Immediate Functional Implant, Teeth in a Day, Same Day Implant, or One Day Implant. Whatever the appellation may be, the idea is to have a full-structure implant (post + abutment + prosthetic) done in one day.
This is possible because same day implants, technically called ‘immediate functionally loaded’ implants, allow the placement of temporary prosthetics that’d stay on until osseointegration is complete. After osseointegration is complete, the temporary prosthetic is replaced with a permanent (long-term) custom removable or fixed prosthetic.
The temporary prosthetic can be used to eat, which is where the immediate functional label comes from. You’ll likely stick to only soft food though.
Immediate loading is not for everyone. A candidate for teeth in a day would need to have strong jawbone (this potentially excludes anyone who needs to have bone grafting done). And it may not be suitable for replacing back teeth in the upper jaw as the bone in that region is typically not dense enough.
Is Dental Implant Restoration Painful?
During the procedure
All dental implant procedures will use some form of anesthesia. Anesthesia would make the process painless. For most individuals, local anesthesia would do. For others who have anxiety issues, sedation or general anesthesia may be necessary for better comfort.
The downside is that unlike with local anesthesia, sedation and general anesthesia require you to have someone take you home, as you’d be muzzy for the first 12 to 24 hours after the procedure.
After the procedure
So what happens after the anesthetic wears off?
Well, you would experience some level of discomfort. The degree of discomfort you experience would be relative to your pain tolerance. You may take over-the-counter pain meds, such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), to manage the pain or soreness you feel.
Holistically, people compare the degree of pain or discomfort to be no more than (similar to) what you’d experience with a tooth extraction. In most cases, this discomfort would dissipate completely within a week.
Is It Safe to Get a Dental Implant in Carrollton, TX?
The short answer is YES.
The long answer:
Dental implants in Carrollton, TX have been used with the best success rates for any restoration procedure consistently for over three decades. The reasons for this exceptional track record are:
- The use of biocompatible material, such as titanium. The body readily accepts the implant.
- The placing of implant post in the jawbone. Afterwards, the bone fuses with the post in an integration process that continues for weeks or months. The implant post practically becomes a part of your body and is locked in place by the jawbone, just like a natural tooth root.
- The implant procedure does not jeopardize the health or function of adjacent teeth and jawbone. In fact, it helps preserve the health of neighboring teeth and the jawbone.
How Long Does a Dental Implant Last?
On average, a properly placed and well-maintained dental implant prosthetic would last for more than 50 years.
A long-term Swiss study found the survival rate of dental implants over a 10-year period to be 98.8%. To put that in perspective, the American Dental Association reports that the average lifespan of a traditional tooth-supported bridge is 10.1 years. Partials and dentures have even shorter longevity at approximately 3-5 years.
Compared to implants, the long-term success rate of other dental restoration options is not even close. Documented success rates are consistently above 95%. The high success rates over a long period make dental implants the best long-term and most cost-effective option for teeth replacement. As bridges, partials, and dentures would have to be replaced multiple times while a dental implant is still going strong.
Cost of Dental Implants in Carrollton, Texas
The cost of getting a dental implant ranges from the low four-figures to mid five-figures.
For example, the price of a tooth implant (with one implant post) isn’t going to be the same for an implant-supported fixed denture (with 8-14 implant posts) to replace all your teeth. If you need additional procedures done, such as bone grafting, your bill will go up.
In a nutshell, the factors that influence the cost of getting a dental implant include:
- Type of diagnostic imaging done
- Type of anesthesia used
- Type of implant—encompasses everything from the materials the different parts of the implant are made of to the actual dental implant configuration to be used
- Number of teeth to be replaced
- The teeth to be replaced—visible teeth are usually more expensive
- Additional procedures and treatments, if any
- Your health condition—encompasses everything from peculiar physical conditions such as jaw bone anatomy to medical conditions that may cause complications
- Specialist fees
Most dental insurance do not cover dental implants (some may cover parts of the procedure; say the crown portion). Medical plans sometimes do, but it’d depend mainly on the individual policy you have and/or cause of tooth loss.
If you have any questions or want detailed clarification, talk it over with your insurance provider. However, considering the rarity and complicated processing (even when covered), you should assume you do not coverage when crunching the numbers.