Dr. David L. Rodrick, DDS is a member of the American Society of Implant & Reconstructive Dentistry (ASIRD). ASIRD is committed to improving the quality of care for dental implant patients by elevating the standards of surgical and restorative dental education and practice. Not every dentist routinely restores and maintains dental implants and not all placers of dental implants are surgeons. By using an ASIRD team, rest assured that your dentist routinely restores and maintains dental implants and only a trained dental implant focused oral surgeon will place your implant. Learn more about ASIRD.
The consumer’s guide to dental implants
A Comprehensive Dental Implants Consumer Guide About The Process, Various Options, Costs & More
By Dr. David Rodrick, Expert Laser & Implant Dentist in Centennial, Colorado
Dental Implants have made significant advancements over the last 30 years. Over this time, a lot of research and discovery has been done scientifically to find out that the titanium material works well when surgically placed in the bone. Titanium has been used successfully for years for orthopedic joint replacements and also in dental tooth replacement. Titanium is a biocompatible metal that the body does not reject and remains in the bone providing the support for crown, a bridge, or even to attach dentures securely. Dental implants are the number one most successful implanted surgical device, and you can expect the implant to remain for a lifetime.
Dental implants are strong, artificial, permanent teeth that make for a beautiful smile.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an artificial, strong and permanent root of a tooth that is placed into the underline bone to hold a replacement tooth, a bridge, or a denture. Dental implants are an option for people who have lost one, several or all of their teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason. They are good for all ages.
Dental Implants are placed more often with a team made up of a dentist, oral surgeon, dental lab technician, and sometimes an orthodontist if adjacent teeth need to be moved. A restorative dentist will first look at the bad tooth or missing tooth area and take the necessary x-rays to evaluate what are the best possibilities for replacement. The dentist will then refer the patient to the oral surgeon for further evaluation. The oral surgeon will take an x-ray that looks at the entire jaw to get a better picture of the patient’s jaw bone. If multiple implants are being placed, more extensive 3D x-rays are taken and computer modeling is done to decide where the best areas are for placing the dental implants. This ensures that the right location for placing implants is chosen and the implants are located at the right angle for the restorative dentist.
Dental Implants are performed under local anesthesia. Other types of sedation such as nitrous oxide and intravenous sedations may be used. If there is a tooth on the area to be treated, the tooth is extracted and the surgery is done right after the extraction. Every case is different; every patient needs a separate evaluation, so the time an implant takes varies according to the patient’s needs.
What’s The Process of Getting Dental Implants?
Dental Implants usually require 3 steps over a period of months.
1- Surgery procedure: This is when the surgeon places (buries) the titanium implant into the bone of the root space to be replaced. The implant will adhere to the bone after 4 to 6 months. If the tooth has been missing for some time and the bone has filled in, the oral surgeon can still make room for the new implant by removing a small amount of bone to make room for the new titanium implant.
2- Success test: The surgeon checks if the implant has been successfully integrated (placed) into the bone. The test is usually performed 4 to 6 months after the implant is placed.
3- Tooth Restoration: A restorative implant dentist will take impressions of the teeth to send to the dental lab to have a new crown, bridge or implant-supported denture manufactured. Once the dental lab has finished the process and returns the crown, bridge or denture, the dentist will place the new appliance in the mouth and adjust the fit.
Single-Tooth Dental Implant Replacement
Immediately after a tooth is extracted, a dental implant will be placed in the empty root space. In some cases grafting (adding bone) may be needed if the quality of bone around the socket (the hole where the tooth was removed) is not very good. In this case a period of time for healing is necessary before the dental implant can be placed (usually between 4 and 6 months). When the dental implant is placed, a healing cap will be screwed in on top of the implant allowing access later for the restorative dentist.
After the healing of the dental implant is completed, the oral surgeon will test how well the dental implant is integrated into the bone by a torque test. This is a test with a torque wrench to determine how solid the implant is supported by the bone. If the torque test fails, the oral surgeon will request that you wait a few more months to have the test repeated and then you will be released back to your restorative dentist.
When the dental implant is released by the oral surgeon, the restorative dentist can now proceed with taking the necessary impressions to send off to the dental laboratory for fabrication of the new custom implant abutment (supporting structure under the crown) and crown. When the case returns from the dental laboratory, the dentist will first place the implant abutment with a gold screw. An x-ray is then taken to ensure that the implant abutment is properly seated. If everything looks good on the x-ray, then the crown is fitted and adjusted so that the contacts between the teeth floss properly. Next, the bite is adjusted until the patient feels their teeth coming together evenly. Finally, the color and shape are checked by the restorative dentist and the patient to determine if the new crown matches the natural teeth. If everything looks good, the crown is either cemented in or screwed in permanently to the implant abutment depending on the crown design.
Multiple-Tooth Dental Implant Replacement
More planning is required with multiple dental implants by both the restorative dentist and the oral surgeon to make sure that the dental implants are placed in the proper location for the final bridge work. The procedure is identical to the process mentioned in the previous section with multiple healing caps being placed for the restorative dentist to access later when the dental implants are ready to be restored (usually 4 to 6 months). When all the dental implants have been checked by the oral surgeon and released to the restorative dentist, necessary impressions are then taken to be sent off to the dental laboratory for fabrication of the new implant abutments and new bridge work. When the dental laboratory has sent back the new implant abutments and new bridgework the restorative dentist will try in the new work. Once the flossing contacts are adjusted and the bite is correct the esthetics will be analyzed by the restorative dentist and the patient. If everything fits properly and looks good the new bridge work will be permanently attached to the implant abutments. The results of these multiple unit cases are very rewarding for the restorative dentist and the oral surgeon. The patients that have completed treatment now have strong teeth that they can chew with and a new pleasing smile that they can enjoy for many years to come.
Dental implants can be done in conjunction with dentures.
Dental Implant-Supported Dentures
The lower jaw is most often treated with dental implants to improve the retention and chewing ability over a loose fitting lower full denture. Four to six dental implants can be placed in the lower jaw to attach the lower denture to them. A new denture can be made over a milled bar that attaches to the dental implants and then clips can be made on the denture so it can be removed and cleaned. Another way is to have the denture screwed directly onto the dental implants which can only be removed by the restorative dentist. A small amount of space is left under this denture to allow the patient to clean around the abutments. Another possibility is to place snaps in the bottom of the denture so the denture can snap on and off the dental implants. These different types of dental implant supported dentures are options the restorative dentist can use depending on the quality of bone present, number of dental implants placed and the cost of the work. All three of these techniques provide strength, rigidity and retention to the lower full denture by it being attached to these dental implants.
How do Missing Teeth Affect People?
- Missing teeth affect the ability for people to chew food properly. It can affect health overall. Food needs to be chewed properly for the digestive process to work right. When it is not chewed right, the stomach and intestines have to do extra work to absorb nutrients. Consequently, fewer nutrients are absorbed and they are less healthy.
- People with missing teeth may not look good esthetically when they smile because of the empty space (s).
- People lose confidence when they have missing teeth. The way people look affect the way they feel.
- Missing teeth may cause bone loss, and bone loss make people look older.
- Teeth around the empty space(s) move and tip towards the empty space within months causing potential problems with chewing and with gum disease.
- The tooth above the space can grow down into the empty space causing chewing problems and the need for orthodontics later to correct the poor alignment of teeth.
- Missing teeth affect occlusion: There are fewer teeth to chew with and less effectiveness when chewing. When food is not chewed properly it can adversely affect the digestion of food and an increase in stomach problems later.
What Are the Benefits of dental implants?
- Chewing food is much easier
- Digestion is better because food can be chewed properly before it’s swallowed.
- Closest thing to natural teeth because implants function just like natural teeth
- More confidence when chewing your food and smiling
- Taste food better because the roof of your mouth is not covered with a denture
- Preserves bone and prevents bone loss
- Lasts for a long time, or for a lifetime
- Improves facial contours and minimizes wrinkles because muscles are stronger
- Denture patients can have dental implant bridges instead of uncomfortable denturesImplants can be used to support dentures stability and retention
Dental implants provide a natural continuation of teeth, and can boost your personal and professional image.
What’s The Difference Between Natural Teeth vs Implant Teeth?
- Natural teeth can suffer from tooth decay and could at some time need a root canal.
- Dental implants are made of titanium and don’t decay and will never need a root canal procedure.
- Natural teeth can also suffer from gum disease and lose bone around their root surface.
- Dental implants may get an infection in the gums around the implant which requires a dental procedure to clean the calculus off the dental implant surface. However, the surface of the titanium does not usually build up very much plaque and tartar because of its very smooth surface. It is rare to find much of any plaque buildup on dental implants but in patients that neglect their dental hygiene it can still happen.
What About Bone Loss After A Tooth Extraction?
Bone loss always happens after a tooth extraction because the bone is no longer needed to support a tooth and the body resorbs this extra bone away. Therefore, it is advantageous to replace a missing natural tooth as soon as possible after extraction to avoid this. A significant amount of bone ridge width is lost in the first year and the bone ridge height is also being lost over the next 5 years. This gives a saddle appearance to the missing tooth area and it is difficult to get this bone height and width back to the area. Bone grafting can be done to regain this loss of space but the results are not usually a complete refill of the space. Ideally, the best time to have a dental implant done is the same day you have the tooth extraction. This will allow you to keep as much of the existing bone ridge width and height.
Another consideration is the number of teeth lost or missing. The more teeth that are missing, the more problems a patient will have with chewing and with their appearance. With people that lose all of their teeth more bone loss will continue to occur if implants are not placed to stop the bone loss. Once the dental implants are placed the bone will stabilize and the patient will benefit from more support of their lips and face.
How Can Bone be Re-Grown to Better Support Dental Implants?
In some cases, additional bone is necessary to help support the new dental implant. Usually this occurs when teeth have been extracted previously and some time has passed before the patient makes the decision to have dental implants. If sufficient time has passed by where the bone has resorbed or melted away, then this area can be treated with bone grafting to rebuild this lost bone. The oral surgeon will discuss the options with the patient and a decision will be made and the grafting procedure will be performed. The grafting procedure will take several months to heal and then the dental implants will be placed.
The bone around the teeth requires stimulation to remain healthy. Without this stimulation, the bone will melt away and if enough teeth are missing, the muscles will shrink from the lack of stimulation too. Only dental implants placed in the bone will stop the bone from melting away and the muscles from weakening.
What’s Involved With Cleaning and Maintenance of Dental Implants?
It is important to clean around dental implants daily much like your own natural teeth. Good dental hygiene habits like flossing and brushing daily are necessary to help maintain the health of your existing teeth and the new dental implants. Be careful not to damage the metal surface on the dental implant surface. Also, be sure to make regular visits to your dental hygienist and dentist so that they can monitor your dental implants. Dental implants are very long lasting and very reliable. They can be removed and replaced if necessary by the restorative dentist. In very rare occasions the screw inside can break or a crown can come loose. It is very easy to replace the screw with a new screw and if necessary cement the crown again.
What Do Dental Implants Cost?
There are generally two fees for tooth replacement with dental implants. The first fee is the surgical fee paid to the oral surgeon which can range from $2500.00 to $4000.00 depending on whether bone grafting is required in the surgical site. The next fee is for the restorative dentist which includes a fee for the implant abutment and another fee for the implant crown. The implant abutment fee can range from $650.00 to $850.00 depending on what type of abutment material is used. The crown fee can range from $1400.00 to $1600.00 depending on whether it is a front tooth or a posterior tooth. A front tooth is always more difficult because of the extra problems matching the color and shape of the adjacent natural teeth.
How do I Choose an Implant Restorative Dentist?
There are many ways to find a quality implant restorative dentist who can perform dental implants:
1) Ask friends, neighbors, and family about a qualified dentist who performs dental implants in your area.
2) Google “dental implants” plus the city in which you live. Example: Dental implants Centennial, Colorado.
3) Research the dentists you find and investigate the dentist’s experience in implant dentistry and look at their years of experience performing this procedure.
4) Contact the dental office, ask to visit the office and meet the dentist, get an exam on the condition of your teeth, and consult with the dentist on how dental implants can solve your problems.
Dr. David Rodrick is an expert general & laser dentist in Centennial, Colorado.
About Dr. David Rodrick, Dental Implant Restorative Dentist
Dr. David Rodrick has 30 years of experience as a dentist, and has been offering laser dentistry since 2003. He has a passion for making patients relax, and helping solve their dental problems using effective, comfortable laser dentistry equipment and techniques. He offers:
- General dentistry services
- Laser dentistry services
- Root canals
- Non-surgical Laser Gum Treatments
- Cosmetic dentistry & implants
- Teeth whitening
- Non-surgical Laser snoring treatments…and more.
Dr. Rodrick is both an expert general dentist, and is one of the leading laser dentists along Colorado’s Front Range. He was one of the first dentists to offer laser dentistry in Colorado. He earned an Associate Fellowship in Laser Dentistry by the World Laser Clinical Institute, and he also has completed extensive continuing education using “Fotona” dental lasers. In addition to his 30 years of experience in dentistry, Dr. Rodrick has completed close to 300 hours of continuing education in laser dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, laser endodontics (root canal therapy) and dental implants. Dr. Rodrick is a member of, and also has earned an associate fellowship (only awarded to those dentists in the organization who routinely perform a substantial number of cases per year) in ASIRD (American Society of Implant and Reconstructive Dentistry). In 2005, he received an award from Nobel Biocare for excellence in dental esthetics.
In 2015, he was the first dentist in the state of Colorado to learn and perform a non-surgical laser snoring treatment known as NightLase™. Dr. Rodrick was born and raised in northern Illinois. In 1977, he moved to Denver and attended the University of Colorado at Denver – graduating in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He then attended the University of Colorado School of Dentistry and graduated as a general dentist in 1984. In 1985, he opened a laser dentistry practice in Centennial, Colorado.