When a tooth is missing, a dental implant functions as a substitute tooth root to maintain the integrity of the bone and adjacent teeth. MOSAIC Maxillofacial Surgical Arts & Implant Centers places dental implants for patients in the Tampa, FL area. With locations in Tampa, Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Lutz, our surgeons are available to help you reclaim your lost teeth.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
There are three parts to a dental implant: the titanium post that is sometimes referred to as the actual implant, the porcelain crown that serves as your visible tooth, and the abutment that connects the crown to the post.
The actual dental implant is a titanium screw or post that is inserted into the jawbone, where the biocompatible material it is readily accepted by the body and easily fuses with the existing bone. There is minimal chance of an allergic reaction, and zirconia dental implants are a non-metallic option in that event. Titanium is incredibly durable and does not deteriorate over time, creating a stable foundation for replacement teeth that can last a lifetime.
The process by which the titanium post fuses with the surrounding bone is called osseointegration. Once osseointegration is complete and the dental implant is held firmly in place, the abutment is attached. The crown fits on top of the abutment and blends in with adjacent teeth to form a full smile. Once all the parts are set in place, dental implants look and function like natural teeth.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Prevent Bone Loss
Look and Feel like Natural Teeth
Long-Lasting and Reliable
Improved Ability to Chew
Ideal Candidates for Dental Implants
Most patients who are missing teeth and are in good overall help may be able to benefit from dental implants because of continuing improvements to the technology and techniques behind dental implant surgery. However, there are a few situations that may preclude a patient from implant placement. Any chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure must be well managed before surgery. Low bone density or mass could be a risk factor, but bone grafting surgery can address bone loss and make dental implants a feasible option.
Anterior Tooth Implant
The Dental Implant Process
There are four main steps in the dental implant process, three of which occur under the care of our Tampa-area oral surgeons. They will take the time to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
- Examination: The doctor will examine your mouth using x-rays, images, or impressions to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants and discuss your options. They will evaluate the underlying bone and number of dental implants needed to develop a precise treatment plan that includes extractions and bone grafting if necessary.
- Extractions: If a tooth is severely damaged or decayed, or you are preparing for dental implant-supported replacement options, these teeth will be extracted prior to dental implant surgery. You may be able to have immediate dental implant placement, or surgery will be scheduled for a few weeks later once the empty socket has filled in with new bone.
- Implant Placement: With immediate dental implant placement, the implant is placed in the empty socket following extraction, or a small hole is drilled for the dental implant. Bone grafting material is added to fill any gaps. The surgery takes between 30 and 60 minutes for one dental implant and two to three hours for multiple dental implants.
The final step is dental implant restoration, the process by which the prosthesis that serves as the visible part of your new tooth is secured to the dental implant. A temporary crown may be placed following surgery for aesthetic purposes until osseointegration is completed. Once the dental implant and bone have fused, a restorative dentist will attach the permanent crown that is crafted to the precise size, shape, and color necessary to blend in with adjacent teeth.
Supporting Treatment for Dental Implants
- Bone Grafting: Successful dental implant placement requires sufficient bone quantity and quality. The longer a tooth is missing, the more bone deterioration occurs. The bone naturally resorbs since there is no stimulation from a tooth root or dental implant. A bone graft can be used to strengthen weak areas, widen the foundation for the dental implant, and improve the contour of the bony ridge. Bone graft material is applied and secured in place. It takes several weeks until the new bone growth is strong enough to support dental implant placement. Bone grafting can enable patients with bone loss to receive dental implants.
- All-On-4 Dental Implants: For patients who are missing multiple teeth, or all of their natural teeth (edentulism), it can be beneficial to replace the entire upper or lower arch with a dental prosthetic. The All-on-4 treatment concept is used to hold replacement teeth in place using just four dental implants. Two dental implants are inserted vertically in the front of the mouth, and two are inserted at an angle in the back of the mouth to create a stable foundation for a fixed prosthetic. This can be more cost-effective than multiple individual dental implants and provide a more comfortable alternative to removable dentures.
- Sinus Lift: The lack of bone separating the sinuses from the mouth in some patients could prevent the placement of dental implants. Without addressing this problem, dental implant placement cannot begin in the first place. A sinus lift is a unique take on bone grafting that increases this barrier and “raises” the maxillary sinuses, giving the dental implants enough room and enough material with which to be safely placed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Dental Implants Safe?
Dental implants have been safely used for tooth replacement and restoration for more than 50 years. The titanium used for the dental implant is biocompatible and non-toxic, so it is readily accepted by the body. The risk of rejection is incredibly low at around 2% to 5%, and the benefits of replacing missing teeth are significant.
Is Dental Implant Surgery Painful?
Our oral surgeons strive to make the dental implant process as relaxing and comfortable as possible by offering various sedation options. A local anesthetic is applied to numb the area where the dental implant will be inserted. Then, either nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or intravenous sedation is administered to help you relax and remain pain-free during surgery.
What is the Recovery from Dental Implants Like?
Following dental implant surgery, your jaw will be sore, but many patients equate it to the discomfort of having a tooth extracted. Typically, over-the-counter pain relievers are enough to manage any pain. Since it takes several weeks for the dental implant to integrate, you will want to stick to a liquid or soft food diet at first. This will minimize the risk of disrupting the healing process. You can slowly transition back to your normal diet as tolerable while avoiding chewing at the dental implant site. Your permanent crown or prosthetic will be affixed after about three months.
What is the Cost of Dental Implants?
The cost of dental implants will vary from one person to the next. It is based on multiple factors, including the number of dental implants needed, whether extraction or bone grafting is necessary, pre- and post-operative care, and any coverage from dental insurance. Your doctor can give you a more specific quote following your consultation and discuss payment plans or financing options.
Are Dental Implants Worth it Compared to the Alternatives?
Dental implants provide significant benefits over alternative tooth replacement options such as dentures, partials, and bridges. They are the only option that prevents bone loss by replacing the tooth root and promoting bone stimulation, and they do not compromise or damage adjacent teeth. While they may be more costly upfront, in the long term, they can be more cost-effective because dental implants do not need to be replaced as they become part of the jawbone. Dental implants are a long-term solution that function and are cared for just like natural teeth.
Choose MOSAIC for Dental Implants in Tampa
Our oral surgeons at MOSAIC Maxillofacial Surgical Arts & Implant Centers are passionate about providing high-quality, compassionate care to each and every patient. They have extensive training and experience in dental implantology to precisely place dental implants and restore oral function and aesthetics in Tampa, FL. Processes and procedures are carefully explained, so patients know exactly what to expect and can make informed decisions about their oral health.