Dr. Tim Kelly places and restores dental implants in our Albuquerque dental office. If you are missing teeth, there is no better solution for restoring the comfort, functionality, and appearance of your smile. Dental implants are small titanium posts surgically implanted in the jaw, providing the ultimate anchor for dentures, crowns, and bridges. Placing dental implants generally requires two surgeries and three to six months of healing time, but they can provide a lifetime of support, allowing you to chew, speak, and smile with the utmost confidence. If you have questions about dental implants or would like to find out whether or not you are a suitable candidate for this treatment, please contact our restorative dentist today. We’ll schedule a tooth replacement consultation appointment. During your consultation, we’ll review your oral health, answer questions, and help you find the best treatment option to meet your needs.
Dental implants provide a wealth of benefits. No treatment is best for every patient, but for those who do choose implant tooth replacement, there are a number of advantages, including:
Dr. Kelly can determine whether you are a good candidate for dental implants after a thorough oral exam. A dental implant, first and foremost, requires adequate bone mass in the jaw. If you have waited a long time to replace a missing tooth, you may have lost some bone mass. In this case, you may require a bone graft to accommodate an implant. As with any oral surgery, the best candidates for dental implants are those who don't use tobacco, as nicotine will hinder the all-important process of the bone fusing to the implant. Once we determine that you are a good candidate for restoration with dental implants, we’ll work with you to create a restoration plan. In most cases, we’ll recommend the following:
To replace a single tooth, we’ll use one implant to support a custom crafted dental crown to restore the entire tooth both the root and crown.
To replace multiple teeth, we will likely recommend a more conservative solution than individual implants and crowns for each tooth. For two or more consecutive missing teeth, we’ll recommend a fixed bridge supported by two implant posts, one at each end. For both consecutive and nonconsecutive teeth, a partial denture may be a better option. Partials are crafted using a base structure to support replacement teeth. The partial denture base is molded to fit snuggly between remaining dental structures. Then, the partial is held in place with two to four strategically positioned implant posts.
If you’ve lost one or both full rows of teeth, we’ll use an implant supported denture to fully restore your smile. Like a partial, a full denture uses a base material to support the full row of replacement teeth. We can typically use between four and six implant posts to support the full denture.
During the initial surgery, an incision is made in the gum tissue, exposing the jawbone. Next, a small pilot hole is drilled into the jaw. The threaded implant is then inserted, and the gum is stitched closed. Over the next three to six months, a process called osseointegration occurs in which, as the jawbone heals, it will bond directly to the implant. Once this process is complete, you will return for a second surgery. An incision is made in the gums, exposing the implant. A special abutment is attached to the top of the implant, which will serve as the support above the gum line for your restorations. The gums are then stitched closed around the abutment. Once the gums have healed, the process of restoring your implant can begin. We’ll design and craft your replacement tooth or teeth to look and function just like your healthy, natural smile. In some cases, we’re able to attach a temporary while we create your flawless, custom crown, bridge, or denture. In most cases, we receive the final replacement teeth from our lab in a few weeks. Once we get the final restoration back, you’ll return to our office for your final visit where we attach your flawless dental crown, bridge, or denture.
Depending on the individual case, replacing missing teeth with dental implants can take anywhere from 10 to 12 months or longer. The first step to completing these treatments is scheduling a consultation appointment with Dr. Kelly. During this initial office visit, we can plan for your individual treatment, and give you a better idea of what your treatment timeline will be.
Following your consultation appointment, the next step will be providing any preparatory treatments necessary, including restoring optimal oral health before we get started. In addition to restorative dentistry treatments, we may also need to extract one or more teeth before beginning the implant tooth replacement plan. For those patients who lack necessary bone and soft tissue to support their implants, grafting procedures will also be provided.
Next, your dental implant post or posts are surgically positioned into the gums and jawbone. Once in place, you’ll need to wait three to six months for the implants to fuse with the bone and gum tissue. This process is called osseointegration.
Once the implant has fused with the jawbone, we’ll design your replacement tooth or teeth to be crafted by our trusted dental lab. When we receive your final replacement tooth, you’ll return to our office, so we can attach your restoration to the implant posts, leaving you with a flawless smile.
Like the timeline, the cost of your dental implant tooth replacement plan will depend in large part on your unique treatment plan. Factors that affect the price of your plan include: