What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants consist of a three-piece prosthetic device that replaces both the root and crown of the missing tooth (or teeth): a medical-grade titanium screw, a small post called an abutment, and a custom crown. Because the implant is embedded in the jaw bone, the bone receives the stimulation it needs to stay healthy, similar to a natural tooth root. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that prevents bone loss and preserves facial structure.
If one or more teeth are broken, infected, or missing, you can replace them with dental implants as long as there is sufficient jaw bone to support them. After they are placed, dental implants will remain in your mouth at all times, even while eating and brushing. Implants are a popular tooth replacement option for many patients because they look natural, function like natural teeth, and contribute to better long-term oral health.
Benefits of Dental Implants
- Restore Oral Function. Like with natural teeth, you can easily chew and bite into your favorite foods without worrying that the implant may slip or fall out.
- Long-Term Solution. Implants can last a lifetime if placed and cared for properly. Traditional methods, such as dental bridges or dentures, typically have a shorter lifespan and may require replacements as often as every few years.
- Implant Care Is Easy. To maintain good oral hygiene, simply brush and floss your implant like the rest of your teeth. No special cleaning routines or products necessary.
- Maintain Facial Aesthetics. The patient’s teeth look and function just like healthy natural teeth. And patients will avoid a shrunken or sagging appearance that the face experiences when teeth are missing due to progressive bone loss and resorption.
- Protect Healthy Teeth. There is no need to grind down neighboring healthy teeth to cement a bridge. Because implants are self-supportive, they do not need to rely on the strength of soft tissues or adjacent teeth to support a bridge or partial denture.
- Prevent Bone Loss. Dental implants keep the rest of your teeth from shifting and prevent jaw bone deterioration, which occurs when teeth are lost. They are the only tooth replacement option that stimulates the jaw bone to keep it healthy and strong.
Do Dental Implants Look Natural?
Dental implants are specially designed to look natural in your mouth. A restorative dentist will take impressions of your mouth and fabricate the final crown after the implant post has successfully fused with the jaw bone. This crown is custom made to match the size, shape, and color of your other teeth for a beautiful, natural-looking outcome. Many people are unable to tell the difference between a dental implant and a natural tooth because the results are so lifelike.
Types of Dental Implants We Offer
Dr. Kunkel offers many types of dental implant treatments to serve patients with a variety of restorative dental needs. During the consultation, he will evaluate your oral health and determine the right type of treatment for your oral health, smile goals, and budget. Our practice offers top-notch dental implants from trusted manufacturers around the world, including Astra®, Keystone®, Nobel Biocare®, Straumann®, and Zimmer®.
- Single Tooth Replacement. We can place one dental implant anywhere in the mouth where you would like a new tooth. This includes front teeth, canine teeth, and molars.
- Multiple Teeth Replacement. Multiple individual implants can be placed throughout the mouth if you have several teeth missing that are not next to each other.
- Implant-Supported Bridge. Bridges are excellent for restoring several teeth that are missing next to each other. One implant can typically hold up to three replacement teeth, so you can receive as many individual implants or implant-supported bridges as you need to achieve a complete smile.
- Full-Arch Restoration. If you are missing most or all of your teeth, the All-on-4® treatment concept is an ideal solution. This treatment uses four dental implants to support a fixed denture in one or both arches, restoring your oral health, oral function, and confidence.
Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
The ideal candidate for dental implants is in good general and oral health. In order to receive implants, you must have adequate jaw bone and healthy gums. If periodontal disease (gum disease) is present, it must be treated before implant placement. As long as you have a healthy jaw bone and can undergo anesthesia for a surgical procedure, you are likely an excellent candidate for implants.
If jaw bone atrophy has occurred, we can use bone grafts to rebuild bone. There are many types of bone grafting treatments available and by reversing bone loss, we create a healthy foundation for dental implants.
Patients with health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, or autoimmune disorders may not qualify for implants because these conditions affect the body’s ability to heal. To find out if implants are right for you, contact Pikes Peak Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center to schedule a consultation with our board-certified oral surgeon, Dr. Kunkel.
What To Expect During The Dental Implant Procedure
Placing a tooth implant typically involves one or two surgical procedures. The amount of time that the procedure takes varies because each patient’s individual needs vary. Dr. Kunkel will design your custom treatment plan during the consultation and help you choose the right type of anesthesia or sedation for your procedure. Our office is equipped with advanced 3D scanning technology, which allows us to view your mouth from virtually any angle and create a detailed surgical guide to ensure predictable results.
During the first procedure, Dr. Kunkel will make an incision in the gum tissue and insert the implant post into the jaw bone. This post naturally fuses to the bone over the next few months. Once it has fully healed, you will return to our office for a second procedure where the abutment will be attached to the implant. Sometimes, both procedures can be completed on the same day, which eliminates the need for a second surgical visit.
Your restorative dentist creates the final crown during the healing process. When the implant has fused with the bone and the crown is ready, your dentist will attach the final crown, completing your dental implant treatment.
What Is the Cost of Dental Implants in Colorado Springs, CO?
We provide every patient with a custom treatment plan and personalized care. Therefore, there is no flat rate for dental implant treatment. Multiple factors contribute to the cost of implants, such as the number and type of implants, your insurance, your choice of anesthesia, and if additional procedures are necessary. To make implants more affordable, our office proudly accepts financing options such as CareCredit® and LendingClub®. We are happy to explore your financing and payment options with you during your first visit.
Our team will provide you with a cost estimate for your oral surgery care at the consultation visit. To find out how much your dental implants would cost in Colorado Springs, CO, contact Pikes Peak Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center today.
Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Implants?
Some insurance plans cover a portion of dental implants. However, the amount that your insurance company will pay depends on the details of your coverage. We recommend contacting your insurance provider directly to find out the extent of your coverage and what portion of dental implants is covered in your plan.
How Long Will My Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants are designed to last for many years. The post itself becomes a fixed part of your smile as it fuses to the jaw bone. If the crown becomes damaged due to dental trauma or wear and tear, a restorative dentist can fabricate a new crown and attach it to the existing implant post. You can extend the life of your implant by practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist for checkups every 6 months. Regular dental exams help ensure your implant is functioning properly and has not become damaged.
Dental Implants in Colorado Springs, CO
Dr. Kunkel is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon who specializes in implant dentistry. Our team is passionate about restoring our patients’ smiles because we can also restore health and self-confidence through oral surgery. Contact Pikes Peak Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center in Colorado Springs, CO, to schedule your consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions: Dental Implants
Why is it important to replace missing teeth?
When a tooth is missing, neighboring teeth will shift into the open space, which can cause other teeth to shift out of place. In addition to helping us eat and speak, teeth are important for maintaining a healthy jaw. Teeth roots stimulate the jaw bone to keep it healthy and when teeth are missing, the bone deteriorates over time. Replacing missing teeth is important to maintain proper alignment of your other teeth, prevent bone loss, and maintain a complete smile you can feel confident about.
Why are dental implants better than conventional bridges or dentures?
Dental implants fuse to the jaw bone to prevent bone loss, whereas dentures and bridges rest on the bony ridge in the mouth. Partial dentures and bridges use metal framework and rely on existing teeth for support, which adds extra pressure and can cause damage. You should replace dentures and bridges every few years due to wear and tear, but as long as you take good care of your implant, it can last a lifetime.
How do I take care of my dental implants?
To keep your implant clean, simply brush and floss it along with your other teeth twice every day. Attend regular appointments with your dentist, who will make sure your implant is healthy. After implant placement, we will provide instructions on how to keep your implant clean and cared for.
Is it cheaper to get dentures or tooth implants?
Dentures do not require a surgical procedure, making them cheaper upfront. However, dentures do not prevent bone loss, which may lead to expensive bone repair treatments in the future as the jaw bone deteriorates without a root or implant post to keep it strong. Dentures wear down and must be replaced as often as every few years to ensure they fit comfortably. Some patients require pre-prosthetic surgery before getting dentures to prepare the mouth for a prosthesis, which can add to the cost.
Dental implants eliminate many inconveniences of dentures and contribute to healthier facial bone, teeth, and gums. They do not need to be taken out to eat, they will not slip around or cause sores, and they will feel natural in your mouth.
How long does the dental implant procedure take?
The dental implant procedure takes about one hour per implant. This time will vary depending on the number of implants we are placing and if you are having any additional procedures, like tooth extractions.
Is getting a dental implant painful?
Having a dental implant placed is not painful because we use anesthesia or sedation for the procedure. Many patients undergo IV sedation. With IV sedation, you will be unable to feel pain during the procedure. As an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Kunkel offers all types of anesthesia to ensure a comfortable surgical experience. Some degree of discomfort can be expected following any type of surgery, but after the implant site heals, your replacement tooth will feel natural.
Can I get a dental implant even if I’ve been missing a tooth for more than a year?
As long as there is sufficient jaw bone, you can receive a dental implant at any time. Some patients replace a missing tooth immediately, while others wait many years before receiving an implant. If the jaw bone is not strong enough, we can use a bone graft to reverse bone loss and once it heals, you will be ready to receive your implant.
Can I eat steak with dental implants?
There are no dietary restrictions with dental implants. You can eat steak, jerky, popcorn, nuts, and all of your favorite foods comfortably.