Dental Implants Overview
Millions of people who once suffered from complications due to missing teeth—among them jawbone changes and gum disease—as well as from sliding, clicking dentures, have found freedom from the effects of lost teeth with the help of dental implants. Constructed from durable, bio-friendly titanium, implants are surgically placed oral fixtures onto which crowns, bridges and dentures can be firmly anchored—just like your natural teeth from the root up.
A Creighton Focus
Creighton focuses on improving lives with implants. Want to learn whether you’re a good candidate, or whether you can become one with bone grafting? We encourage you to find out how to become a patient with us so that we can schedule a comprehensive oral evaluation. You deserve to eat, speak and smile comfortably and confidently.
Find Out More
If you are a patient who has been assessed in need of dental implants please take the time to familiarize yourself with the options in our dental implants education section.
If you’re in good health, don’t have a history of smoking or taking osteoporosis medications, and have sufficient bone mass, implants may be right for you.
Finding your smile again with implants involves two surgical procedures. In the first, your implants will be placed in the jawbone, where over the next few months they will become integrated with your natural bone tissue. This process can take four to eight months, during which time most patients do not experience any disruptions to their daily lives. The second surgery will uncover the surgically placed implant on which the denture or crown can be attached. This is a relatively short procedure, done with local anesthetic only.
Once successfully placed implants will not only promote general oral health, but feel as firm and comfortable as your natural teeth. What’s more, Creighton will check in with you regularly to make sure your implants remain successfully placed and in good health.
Several months after the placement surgery, you should schedule the uncovering of your implants with your surgeon.
Most dental implants are used to support “fixed” restorations, that is, crowns or bridges. The limitation of fixed prosthetics, however, is that crowns and bridges replace only missing teeth. If you’re also missing gum tissue and bone, a purely fixed restoration may not be right for you.
Implants for removable prosthetics, more commonly known as dentures, replace missing teeth, bone and gum tissue; therefore they can be more aesthetically pleasing than fixed prosthetics in some cases. They also tend to be easier to clean and maintain than fixed prosthetics, as well as more affordable and adaptable in the case of later tooth loss.
For patients with insufficient bone mass, state-of-the-art bone grafting techniques can help to adequately prepare your jaw for implant placement.
The first and most extensive type of bone grafting is always performed before the implant placement. This type of graft is intended to make large changes to the shape and size of the jawbone so that a stable implant can be placed, usually several months later.
In the second type of bone grafting, the jaw may already have enough bone to place the implant, but not enough bone to completely cover the sides of the implant. These types of grafts are generally small in size and are performed at the time of implant placement.
Bone Grafting FAQs
- Will a bone graft be needed in my case?
Certainly we can predict and plan the more extensive type of grafting procedure well in advance. However, the smaller grafts done at the time of implant placement cannot always be predicted, and must be available to the surgeon in order to give your implant the best chance of success. It is very important that you and your dentist agree on this point before the implant placement procedure begins.
- Where does grafted bone come from?
Bone graft material comes from four general sources: your own available bone, freeze-dried human bone from a tissue bank, processed bone elements from animals or from a mineral bone substitute.
- Is bone grafting safe?
Preparing the jawbone for implant placement naturally produces bone shavings, which can be collected and used as grafting materials. In the cases of larger grafts, surgical procedures have been developed to harvest additional bone from elsewhere in your body. Alternatively, receiving human donor bone or animal bone elements is like receiving blood from the blood bank. These materials have proven to be extremely safe for patients, and Creighton works only with reputable national tissue banks.