Dental Implants

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Silver Spring Dental Arts is a full service dental clinic specializing in dental implants. Whether your missing tooth is the result of periodontitis, tooth decay or an injury, Dr. Thompson can restore your smile with a beautiful new dental implant that looks and functions like a real tooth. 
As with all our dental services, you’ll be treated with the experience and care that Dr. Thompson’s practice is known for. We’ll make sure that you’re kept comfortable and informed throughout the implant process and will be accessible to address any questions or concerns. 90% of patients with a missing tooth prefer to restore them with dental implants… you should consider it too!

Why consider dental implants?

When patients lose one or all of their teeth, their ability to chew food, speak distinctly, and have a beautiful smile are reduced. Many people are uncomfortable with their bridges or dentures, because they do not replace the quality of function or esthetics of natural teeth.

Replacing your teeth keeps your bone strong and healthy. Your teeth roots stimulate the surrounding bone with every bite. This preserves the integrity of the jaw bone. When a tooth is lost and missing over time, the bone is not stimulated and begins to shrink away or disintegrate. A dental implant keeps this bone intact and can prevent both bone loss and gum tissue shrinkage, thus protecting surrounding healthy teeth.

Natural teeth can withstand biting pressure of up to 540 lbs per square inch. With dentures, after years of deterioration of the supporting bone and gum tissues, many people can apply only 50 lbs per square inch when chewing. With a successful dental implant procedure (even with only 2 or 4 implants to hold their denture), people can chew with near-normal (450-lb per square inch) biting pressure. Dental implants are already considered the treatment of choice for missing teeth, and for improved function of dentures. More dentists and patients are considering implants than ever before.

What are dental implants?

Significantly stronger than dentures or bridges, a dental implant is a single and permanent solution to a lost tooth. The implant is installed in your jaw with a small titanium screw and over the course of a few months naturally integrates with your mouth. This procedure is fairly simple and effective method of restoring your smile.

Dental implants are substitutes for natural tooth roots. They rely on your bone for support. Implants are small (usually 4-5mm in diameter and 8-15mm in length. They are made of titanium metal, and  some are coated with a bone-like substance (called hydroxyapatite or HA) that can help the implant bond with the bone.

Dental implants are not new, as ancient Incas and Egyptians implanted carved jade, sapphire and ivory teeth thousands of years ago. Replacing missing teeth is not a new problem! Implants have been studied in dentistry for more than 50 years. Estimates indicate that the number of dental implants inserted in the US is increasing every year. (For example, the placement of implants increased 4 times from 1983 to 1987, and during that same period, the number of practitioners who performed implant therapy increased by 10 times!)

Who is a candidate for dental implants?

Statistics indicate that  42 percent of Americans older than 65 are missing all of their teeth, and more than 40 million Americans older than 55 are missing some or all of their teeth. Thus, older patients are more likely to seek implant therapy. However anybody who is dissatisfied with their existing tooth or teeth replacement (like their bridge or dentures), or who has a tooth that needs to be removed, may be a candidate.

Poor candidates for dental implants include patients who have had a recent heart attack or chemotherapy/radiation. Patients who have AIDS, hepatitis, severe alcoholism, a history of prolonged corticosteroid use, bleeding or healing problems, diabetes, tobacco use, a history of osteomyelitis or osteoradionecrosis, and certain personality or psychological disorders are also poor implant candidates.

How safe are dental implants?

Implants are considered VERY safe and effective alternatives for replacing missing teeth. The metals and coatings used for dental implants adapt very well to bone, allow the bone to grow alongside the implant, and are well-tolerated by the human body. The incidence of problems are less than 1 tenth of one percent.

Should you choose an Implant or a Bridge?

A bridge procedure involves preparing 2 or more teeth for crowns and connecting them as a means to replace missing teeth, or in rare cases splinting teeth together for strength. During the procedure to make the bridge, your teeth are ground down by your dentist to allow coverage by the bridge crowns. Research shows that some times bridges lead to the need for additional dental treatment and sometimes even tooth loss. Bridges connect teeth to each other, making it more difficult to floss and clean properly. Food can trap around and underneath the bridge. This difficulty with cleaning a bridge often leads to tooth decay. Trauma from the procedure can result in dental nerve pathology and in rare cases the need for root canals. Implant dentistry directly replaces missing teeth without the need to connect teeth or attach anything to existing teeth. Cleaning your implant teeth is easy and the same as with your natural teeth. Implants also cannot get cavities/decay and are less susceptible to gum disease. Most of the time, and implant is a much better choice for your overall dental health than a bridge.

Can implants improve dentures?

Commonly known as “hybrid dentures”, “teeth in a day” and “all on four”, the entire arch of teeth can now be easily replaced with as few as four implants securing the entire prosthesis. Sometimes the teeth are reinforced with a titanium bar that does not show and the teeth restored to natural aesthetics and function. One or both arches can be done simultaneously. This is one of the most wonderful things that implants offer, giving patients who have lost their teeth a whole new feeling of comfort, stability and esthetics.

How long will implants last?

Most implants have a 10-year 70-90% survival rate. The success of dental implants depends on many factors, including the patient’s bone type and amount, the patients overall medical condition, the bite relationship of the remaining teeth, cosmetic concerns, personal expectations and the number and type of implants chosen, and the quality of the patient’s home care skills once the implants are in place.

What do implants cost?

In general, dental implants cost about the same as a bridge and other tooth replacement options. Dental implant costs can vary from patient to patient and tooth to tooth. Call us today for your consultation and we will be happy to provide you a written estimate of the work you need. The price of dental implants can be spread out over months, because not all treatment happens at once.

Do you have more questions?

Dr. Thompson gathered this information for you from the Academy of General Dentistry. She is a member of the Academy who cares about long-term dental health for you and your family. She would be happy to consult with you about dental implants and your overall dental health.