Dental Implants

Dentists Serving Patients in Sarasota, Venice, Bradenton & Nearby Areas of Florida

Missing teeth can lead to several serious oral health issues if left untreated. Your other teeth may shift to fill the gap left by your missing tooth, creating bite alignment issues.  In addition, missing teeth can result in deterioration of your jawbone, which in turn can cause the loss of other teeth while creating a sunken facial impression. In order to avoid these problems, it's crucial that you replace your missing teeth as soon as possible, and dental implants provide you with the most effective option.

Dental implants are the only tooth replacement solution that replaces your missing root along with your missing tooth. This ensures a stable, durable, long lasting outcome that will restore the full functionality of your tooth and root.

While dental implants are the ideal option, they aren't right for everyone. The best way to determine whether you're a good dental implant candidate is to speak with one of our dentists at The Smile Centre. Please call 941-366-3636 to schedule an appointment at our Sarasota office at South Trail, 941-351-4468 to schedule an appointment at our Sarasota office at Palm Aire Plaza, or 941-497-5451 to schedule an appointment at our Venice office.

What are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is a small, titanium anchor that is placed in the upper or lower jawbone and functions like a replacement root that will house your new prosthetic tooth. A dental crown, bridge or denture will be attached to the implant, providing a restoration that mimics the look, function, and feel of natural teeth.

Dental implants can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Replacing a missing tooth
  • Anchoring dental bridges
  • Anchoring dentures
  • Replacing several missing teeth
  • Maintaining the jaw bone

Benefits of Dental Implants

dental implant vs dental bridge - Venice, FLThere are many advantages to choosing dental implants over alternatives such as dentures or dental bridges:

  • Aesthetics – Dental implants look and feel just like your natural teeth. Since they fuse with your jawbone, they are a permanent restoration that will be virtually undetectable by others.
  • Comfort – Because they are a permanent restoration, dental implants eliminate the discomfort associated with removable dentures.
  • Improved speech – Poorly fitting dentures tend to slip, causing speech problems such as slurred words. Dental implants eliminate the speech issues associated with slipping dentures.
  • Improved eating ability – Dentures can slide in your mouth, making chewing difficult. Since dental implants function just like your natural teeth, you can eat all of your favorite foods without worry.
  • Durability – With proper care, your dental implants can last for the rest of your life.
  • Improved oral health – Dental implants do not require your neighboring teeth to be altered the way a dental bridge does. This improves the long term health of adjacent teeth. Dental implants also reduce your risk of bone loss, an important benefit not provided by dentures or dental bridges.
  • Convenience – Dental implants eliminate the hassles of removing and cleaning dentures on a daily basis.
  • Oral hygiene – It is much easier to brush and floss with dental implants than with dental bridges or dentures.
  • Preserves facial appearance – By preventing bone loss in your jaw, dental implants help you avoid the sunken facial appearance that commonly occurs when you are missing teeth.

Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?

dental implant candidacy - Sarasota, FLIdeal dental implant candidates:

  • Have healthy teeth and gums
  • Have sufficient bone density to support the dental implant
  • Are committed to good oral hygiene
  • Do not suffer from uncontrolled diabetes or autoimmune disorders which may impact your ability to heal
  • Have not had treatment with bisphosphonate medications (usually for cancer treatment)
  • Are non-smokers or are willing to stop smoking during the dental implant process
  • Understand that the process can take four to twelve months, and are willing to commit this amount of time to the dental implant procedure

One of the most important criteria for dental implant candidacy is having sufficient bone structure in your jaw to accommodate the dental implant. If you lack sufficient jawbone density, the implant may not be able to withstand the extreme forces exerted by chewing and as a result, your implant may fail.

In some cases, you may be able to undergo a bone graft to restore sufficient bone density in your jaw. At your initial consultation, our dentists will tell you if a bone graft is necessary before undergoing the dental implant procedure.

Gum disease is also a common issue impacting dental implant candidacy. In many instances, gum disease is the primary reason for tooth loss. If you have gum disease, it will need to be treated prior to your dental implant procedure. Once you have successfully undergone periodontal treatment, you may be able to move forward with your dental implant procedure.

State-of-the-Art Dental Implant Technology

The Smile Centre has two specialized CT scans, also called a CAT scan, which provides detailed information about the teeth, skull, jaw bones, temporomandibular joints, sinuses, nerves, airways, cervical spine and other important structures of the head and neck. CT scans are quickly becoming the standard of care when placing dental implants.

These computerized images can be taken in 20 seconds or less and with much less radiation exposure than conventional CT scans. They show three-dimensional images of the skull including bones of the jaws and sinuses, some soft tissues such as nerves and other structures of the head and allow placement of dental implants with unprecedented accuracy and predictability.

The Dental Implant Process

Sarasota dental implantsDental implant surgery is a process that must be completed in several stages. In general, the entire process can take anywhere from four to nine months. However, in some cases where a bone graft is required, it may take even longer.

It is important to be patient during this process. While this sounds like a long time to wait for your procedure to be completed, the end result is well worth the wait. Dental implants are by far the most effective and long lasting option to replace your missing teeth.

If you lack sufficient bone density in your jaw, you may need to undergo a bone graft prior to getting dental implants. During the bone graft, prepackaged sterile bone particulate is used, or occasionally a piece of bone is taken from another part of your body and transplanted into your jawbone. It can take as long as four to nine months for the bone graft to achieve results that will enable you to support a dental implant. If only minor bone grafting is necessary, this time may be considerably shorter.

Next, your titanium dental implant will be surgically placed in your jawbone. It will take three to six months for your jawbone to heal after your dental implant is inserted. During this time, your jawbone fuses with the dental implant, making it a permanent structure that can then serve as a replacement tooth root. This process is called osseointegration.

Once osseointegration is complete, you will return to our office to have a titanium post, called an abutment, attached to your dental implant. The abutment will stick out just past the gum line and hold your new prosthetic tooth, also called an implant crown.

It will take one to two weeks for your gums to heal after the abutment is placed. Once your gums have healed, you will return to our office to receive your new prosthetic tooth.

Our dentists will take an impression of your mouth and remaining natural teeth. This impression will be used to make the dental crown that will serve as your prosthetic tooth. Our dentists can adjust the size, shape, and color of your dental crown to match your adjacent natural teeth. As a result, your new prosthetic tooth will blend in seamlessly with your smile. Once your dental crown is attached to the abutment, your dental implant surgery will be complete and you can enjoy your fully functional replacement tooth.

Recovery from Dental Implant Surgery

Some bleeding or soreness in the gums in the days and weeks immediately following a dental implant is to be expected: Like any major surgery, dental implants take time to heal. But if any of the symptoms come back after the implant has healed, it could be a sign of peri-implantitis or periodontal disease in the tissue around the implant.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Bleeding or sensitive gums
  • Inflammation around the implant
  • Gums receding around the implant
  • Implant feels loose
  • Scratches or roughness on the implant crown surface
  • Difficulty chewing with implant.

If you notice any of these symptoms several weeks after the final surgical procedure, you should set up an appointment with our implant dentists immediately. But remember that gum disease does not generally cause pain until it has become advanced, so going in for regular dental cleanings is your best bet at catching this issue in its early stages.

If an infection in the gums around a dental implant is detected, our dentists will treat it using scaling and root planing, the same techniques used to treat normal gum disease. The primary difference when treating dental implants is that special plastic instruments are used to avoid damaging the implant's titanium surface.

On very rare occasions, your implant may be causing you pain due to traumatic occlusion. This occurs when the implant is absorbing too much force from the teeth it lines up with, either because the implant is slightly longer than the surrounding teeth, or because it has become misaligned. In these cases, our implant dentists may need to perform an occlusal adjustment, realigning the tooth so it receives less pressure.

Maintaining Your Dental Implants

maintaining dental implants - Venice, FLIf you have recently received dental implants, you may want to change your home cleaning routine. Make sure you're brushing twice a day and flossing daily, and consider adding additional tools to your everyday dental hygiene routine.

Products you can use to improve your dental health include:

  • Antimicrobial mouthwash
  • Inter-dental brushes
  • Plaque-disclosing tablets

If you are getting a cleaning from your dentist, you will notice our dentists using plastic or resin tools on your implant to avoid scratching it. It is important to go in for cleanings regularly if you’ve recently had a dental implant placed. Your first year after the surgery, you should schedule a cleaning with our dentists every three months in order to prevent plaque from building up heavily around your new dental implant.

It’s important to understand that dental implants are still fundamentally different from teeth. The collagen fibers in your gums hold natural teeth in place by growing into them, but dental implants can only grow into the jawbone at the bottom of the implant. Healthy gums will hold them in place, but the gums cannot integrate into an implant in the same way they do with natural teeth.

This means that your dental implant is less effective at fighting infection around the teeth, and can put you at risk for periodontal disease if the tissue around the implant is not kept clean. A disease called peri-implantitis can infect the bone tissue around the implant, leading to a receding gum line or even loss of bone structure if it goes untreated. It's best to prevent the disease from occurring by scheduling regular dental appointments with our dentists and paying close attention to the area around the implant.

Contact our Sarasota Implant Dentists

If you’ve lost a tooth and want to find out whether dental implants are right for you, please contact The Smile Centre today using the form on this page or call 941-366-3636 to schedule an appointment at our Sarasota office at South Trail, 941-351-4468 to schedule an appointment at our Sarasota office at Palm Aire Plaza, or 941-497-5451 to schedule an appointment at our Venice office.

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