Dental Implants in St. Catharines
A dental implant is a cylindrical and/or tapered post, usually made of titanium, that serves as a substitute for the tooth root.
When a damaged or decayed tooth is removed, both the visible part of the tooth, called the crown, and the root are lost.
A dental implant is placed in the jawbone so that it can fuse with your natural bone and become a strong and sturdy foundation for replacement teeth. Implants can be used to replace an individual tooth or for an implant-supported bridge or denture containing multiple teeth.
Dental implants are the closest you can get to healthy, natural teeth. They will allow you to confidently eat, smile, laugh, talk, play and enjoy all of your regular activities of everyday life without worrying about your teeth. Ask Dr. Vlahos if dental implants are your best choice.
Dental implants are often the best treatment for missing teeth when you use an experienced implant dentist. Dr. Vlahos has placed hundreds of dental implants in patients from St. Catharines and the Niagara region and has been doing so since 2003. Dr. Vlahos is a member of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry and furthers his implant training by attending the University at Buffalo Dental Implant Study Club.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants are the next best thing to your healthy, natural teeth.
Dental implants are built to last.
Dental implants allow you to enjoy life without worrying about your teeth!
Dental implants retain your natural face shape, and smile.
Dental implants protect your healthy bone.
Dental implants allow you to speak easy, so you're not embarrassed.
Look Mom, no cavities with dental implants!
Dental implants are more predictable than other repair and restoration methods.
Who Needs Dental Implants?
Dental implant patients are all ages, and implants may be the right choice for anyone missing one, multiple, or even all of their teeth due to injury, defects, disease or decay. They can even be an option for adolescents after puberty when the jaw stops growing, typically around 16 for girls and 18 for boys.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Here is why you will enjoy dental implants: Missing teeth restored with dental implants look, feel and function just like natural teeth. You brush, floss and visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings, same as you would to care for a natural tooth.
Dental implants are sophisticated, so the key is finding a dental implant dentist who has proven levels of experience. Dr. Vlahos will carefully develop your treatment plan by thoroughly examining your mouth. He will take the time to discuss your particular situation and fully answer any questions you may have.
The placement of a dental implant usually involves several steps:
- The dental implant, usually a cylindrical and/or tapered post made of titanium, is placed surgically into the jawbone.
- As you heal, your implant will osseointegrate, or fuse with, your natural jawbone, with the two growing together to form a strong and long-lasting foundation for your replacement teeth. This healing process can take weeks to months while you proceed with your everyday life in between appointments.
- Once the implant bonds with the jawbone, a small connector – called an abutment – is placed on top of the dental implant to connect the implant to the replacement tooth or teeth.
- An individual tooth, an implant-supported bridge or dentures containing multiple teeth are then attached to the abutment.
While the resulting dental implant looks and acts like your natural tooth, you can see why you want to find a proven implant dentist to perform the procedure.
What Do Dental Implants Cost?
You might be surprised how affordable dental implants are compared to other tooth replacement options. While the cost of your dental implants can vary widely according to your particular situation, Dr. Vlahos will spend the time with you discussing your treatment plan so you can understand the total cost involved and the necessary steps needed for your treatment. Dental implants are customized to fit your mouth and blend in naturally with your existing teeth. Typically fees can range from $2500 to 4000 for the surgical placement of the single dental implant and the crown that will go onto the implant once it is integrated. Be very wary of any low cost quotes that you may hear or receive. Often, these quotes entail the use of cheap dental implants and crowns made in other parts of the world whose standards of quality are often much poorer than those from Canada. Often, a patient who gets cheap dental implants will get what they pay for in terms of quality. These implants are often poorly designed with ill fitting prosthetics and highly unesthetic crowns. Often, they do not last very long and will need to be redone at a higher cost.
Here are three important things you need to know about dental implants before you make your decision.
Quality of Life of Dental Implants
Dental implants are the standard for tooth replacement. It’s easy to understand why. Dental implants are renowned for the quality of life they offer to you:
- Dental implants are the most natural looking tooth replacement option. When friends and acquaintances see your smile, the dental implant may be almost indistinguishable from your natural teeth. Why? Because an expert in implant dentistry has the skills to create dental implants that fit your unique mouth size and shape. In addition, an implant can be made to look more realistic than many teeth replacement options.
- Dental implants won’t slip like dentures. Every social interaction can put you on edge when you are worried about your dentures slipping as you talk, laugh or eat. In contrast, a dental implant is fixed firmly in your mouth, anchored by your jawbone. Smile, laugh, and eat all you want – the dental implant will not slip. This gives you peace of mind.
Cost Effectiveness of Dental Implants
Long Term Health Associated with Dental Implants
What if there is not enough Bone for my Dental implants?
Some people do not have enough healthy natural bone to support dental implants. Natural bone insufficiency can be caused by:
- Gum disease
- Tooth development defects
- Wearing dentures long term
- An injury to the face or trauma
- Spaces left empty in the mouth after teeth are removed
- Dental procedures where efforts were not made to restore natural bone
Several techniques are used to rebuild bone, restore your natural jaw line and smile, and provide a strong and sturdy foundation for implant-supported teeth. Most patients proceed with everyday life and work often by the next day and continue throughout the months in between dentist appointments.
Dr. Vlahos can tell you if you need bone augmentation.
Below is an overview of some of the more common techniques to augment bone.
Bone grafting is a safe and highly successful procedure that involves the “building up” or adding bone to the jaw by using your own natural bone from another location and/or by using donor, processed or synthetic bone materials. Often the new bone can be obtained from inside the mouth. Ask Dr. Vlahos about the advantages of different bone grafting methods and materials so that, together, you can make an informed decision.
After the procedure, you will usually be given antibiotics, pain medication if needed, and an antibacterial mouthwash, and instructed to avoid eating certain foods and putting pressure on the bone graft. You will return home in between dentist appointments while the bone graft heals and should be able to work and go about your everyday life.
Your implants will be placed after the grafted bone has fused or become a strong, integrated part of the existing bone. The amount of time the integration takes varies depending on the location of the graft and the density of the bone. It may take three or more months.
Sinus Lift (Sinus Augmentation or Sinus Elevation)
Missing upper back teeth are among the most difficult to restore. When the back teeth in the upper jaw are missing the sinus cavity becomes larger as the natural bone deteriorates over time. A sinus lift, also called sinus augmentation or sinus elevation, is a bone-augmentation procedure for patients who have insufficient natural bone in this area for dental implant placement. The procedure involves adding bone below the sinus so that one or more implants can be placed. The procedure does not affect speech, intonation or cause sinus problems.
After the bone has been given time to develop, usually for approximately four to 12 months, dental implants can be placed. Sinus augmentation, which many patients say causes only minimal discomfort, is designed to help ensure that your implants are long-lasting, with ample, strong and sturdy bone that will allow your new teeth to fit and function like healthy, natural teeth.
How do I Care for my Dental Implants?
Caring for teeth restored with dental implants is just like caring for your natural teeth: brush, floss and maintain regular dental cleanings and check-ups, as scheduled. Additional cleaning aids also may be recommended to help you keep your teeth healthy at home.
As is the case with natural teeth, you and Dr. Vlahos and his team members must work as a team to ensure the longevity of your dental implant. While replacement teeth can’t get cavities, they are subject to the same wear-and-tear as natural teeth. Well-placed and cared for dental implants have the potential to last a lifetime!