Lewis D. Gilbert, DDS, LTD

Dental Implants

Dental implants are an excellent solution to tooth loss because they look, function and feel like natural teeth and have been proven to last for over twenty years. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root, usually made of surgical quality titanium metal, that is surgically anchored into your jawbone to hold a replacement tooth, a fixed bridge, or a snap-in overdenture. The benefit of using implants is that they don’t rely on neighboring teeth for support and they are relatively permanent and stable.

The most common dental implant material, titanium, is compatible with your body tissues and is similar to those materials used in orthopedic knee and hip implant surgery. Titanium is biologically inert, yet causes your bone to grow and “lock” into the irregular surfaces of the implant. This process is called “osseointegration” and thus permanently anchors the implant in the bone.

Make an appointment with Dr. Gilbert to find out if you are a good candidate for dental implants. You must be in relatively good health and have the proper bone structure and healthy gums for the implant to function properly and stay in place. People who are unable to wear dentures are also good candidates and usually have excellent results with implant bridges or snap-in overdentures. If you suffer from chronic dental problems, such as severe periodontal disease or teeth clenching, or medical problems such as diabetes or immunosuppressed diseases, the success rate for implants decreases dramatically. Additionally, people who use tobacco products or who excessively drink alcohol may not be good candidates for dental implants.

Dental implant placement requires Dr. Gilbert to perform the surgery to anchor the “artificial root” into your jawbone. The procedure is typically done in his office/ clinic, utilizing local anesthesia along with IV anesthesia. Occasionally, the procedures are performed in a hospital, depending on other medical factors. Medications are usually prescribed to prevent swelling, reduce the risk of infection and for postoperative comfort.

Dr. Gilbert works closely with your family dentist in a “team” approach to complete your implant case. After the titanium implants are placed, the healing process may take up to four to nine months and the fitting of the replacement teeth, bridge or overdenture by your family dentist may take another one to three months to finally complete. Constant advancements in the technology of implantology is steadily reducing this overall time frame.

Over 92% of dental implants have remained functioning and in place for 20 years or longer. The success rate for implants depends on the replacement tooth’s functional purpose, its location in the mouth, and most importantly the patient’s compliance with their postoperative care and maintenance instructions. The success rate is about 95% for those implants placed in the front of the lower jaw and 90% for those placed in the sides and rear of the upper and lower jaws.

Your overall health can affect the success of your dental implants. Poor oral hygiene habits are a big reason why some implants fail. It is very important to brush and floss around the implants and the fixtures at least twice a day and follow any additional instructions you were specifically given on caring for your implants. Sometimes additional professional cleanings of up to 4 times per year may be necessary to ensure success of your implant system. Thereafter, you will be placed on a lifelong maintenance regimen with your family dentist and our doctors.

Since implants require surgery and are more involved, they cost more than routine bridge or denture work. However, some dental procedures may be covered by dental and/or medical health insurance. Our office staff will assist you in filing your claim.