What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a long-lasting replacement for a missing tooth. To place a dental implant, a root form is surgically implanted into your jaw. It is approximately the same size as your natural
tooth, and is meant to replace your missing tooth’s root. Our on-site periodontist, Dr. Pope, will do your surgery right here in our Dallas office.
The healing process is called osseointegration—meaning the bone grows in tightly around the root form, creating a solid foundation. It can take a few months for the bone to completely fill in and bond to the implant. Trying to rush the healing process by placing the crown before osseointegration is complete may lead to dental implant failure.
After the implant heals, Dr. Vargas will complete your tooth’s restoration by placing a crown on top of the root form. Your crown may be made on-site or sent to a laboratory, depending on your needs.
Who is a Candidate for Dental Implants?
If you have a missing tooth, you are a good candidate for a dental implant. We recommend dental implants for patients that meet the following criteria.
- Patients require a healthy amount of bone present in their jawbone for successful implants. If bone loss has occurred, Dr. Vargas may suggest a bone grafting procedure before you can get a dental implant. If you need one, we can do that here in our office.
- Patients missing all their teeth may prefer dental implants over removable full dentures. Anywhere from two to eight root forms will be implanted in your jaw, and these will be used to anchor the dentures. These are called implant overdentures, and Dr. Vargas prefers them because they prevent the facial collapse and gradual bone resorption (jaw shrinkage) associated with dentures. Visit our page on all-on-4 implant overdentures to learn about this technique.
Advantages of Dental Implants
- Dental implants are anchored like a natural tooth in your jawbone, giving them an aesthetic and realistic appearance. When placed by a skilled dentist, they can be difficult to tell apart from your natural teeth.
- Dental implants prevent jaw shrinkage (bone resorption), which can lead to the long-term, serious problem of facial collapse.
- Dental implants do not require any work on the neighboring teeth, whereas a dental bridge would.
- With dental implants, your teeth will not slip, fall out, get food caught in them, or get lost.
Who Should Not Get Dental Implants?
Please inform Dr. Vargas or Dr. Pope if you have any of the following conditions, and they will find a better restorative solution for you.
- Chronic conditions such as diabetes, hemophilia, alcohol and substance abuse issues, or certain immunodeficiency disorders can increase the risk of dental implant failure. These conditions can also leave you more susceptible to infections at the implantation site. The more severe your condition, the higher the risk of failure.
- If you are a heavy smoker, you can be more susceptible to implant failure; however, if you are in good overall health, you may still qualify.
- Pregnant patients should delay scheduling implant surgery until after pregnancy.
Disadvantages of Dental Implants
Dental implants have some drawbacks we would like you to be aware of.
- After placing the root form, several weeks may be needed for healing. In the meantime, you may need to wear a temporary tooth replacement.
- A dental implant is recommended for a singular tooth replacement; if you have multiple adjacent teeth that require crowns, a dental implant may not work for you
- Dental implants can be more expensive than other types of tooth replacements, and may not be covered by your dental insurance.
If you’re interesting in receiving a dental implant, you may call our office or fill out the appointment request form and we will call you. If you’re not ready to commit to a paid examination, or merely want to know if you’re a good candidate for dental implants, you may ask for a complimentary consultation.