Dental implants are durable, long-lasting solutions to replace one or more missing teeth. In addition to functioning like a natural tooth, dental implants provide a beautiful, natural-looking appearance. If you are ready to replace lost teeth, strengthen your bite and improve your confidence in social and professional interactions, The Smile Centre can help.
To discuss your dental implant options with one of our experienced dentists, please complete the form on this page or call today to schedule a free initial consultation. If you live in the Sarasota area of Florida, contact our Palm Aire location online or at 941-351-4468. If you live in or around Florida, please contact us online. We welcome patients from Sarasota, Bradenton and neighboring Florida communities.
On this page, we discuss:
- What Are Dental Implants?
- What Are Dental Implants Made Of?
- What Are The Benefits of Dental Implants?
- Good Candidates for Dental Implants
- Understanding the Osseointegration Process
- Bone Grafts For Dental Implant Surgery
- The Dental Implant Procedure
- All-on-Four Dental Implants
- Implant-Supported Dentures
- Why Replace Missing Teeth?
- Why Choose The Smile Centre?
- How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
- Schedule Your Free Dental Implant Consultation Today
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that provides a secure base for a replacement tooth. Because they feel and function just like natural teeth, dental implants are an ideal solution for patients seeking a beautiful, strong and long-term tooth-replacement option.
Dental implants feel completely comfortable and secure. They comprise a medical-grade titanium post that fuses naturally with your jaw bone over time. This creates a strong and reliable anchor for your custom-crafted artificial tooth or teeth, and eliminates the risk of slippage or other movement that can occur with other tooth replacement options.
Dental implants are also convenient because you can care for them as you would your natural teeth and you don’t have to give up any of the foods you love.
What Are Dental Implants Made Of?
Traditional dental implants typically consist of three elements:
- Implant: A durable titanium post that is attached to your jaw, serving as a root for your new artificial tooth
- Abutment: The connecting device that attaches the crown or other prosthesis to the implant post
- Crown or denture: The final prosthesis is attached to the abutment, completing your strong and beautiful tooth replacement
What Are The Benefits of Dental Implants?
Dental implants are incredibly durable and long-lasting tooth-replacement options. When properly placed, dental implants:
- Can be used to replace one tooth or several teeth
- Preserve your natural jawbone’s structure and prevent bone attrition
- Function as well or better than natural teeth
- Will not decay or cause discomfort from sensitivity
- Can be cared for just like natural teeth
- Provide attractive, long-lasting results
Good Candidates for Dental Implants
If you are missing teeth, you may be a good candidate for dental implants. A comprehensive examination by one of our experienced dentists is necessary to determine your candidacy for the procedure. Generally, a good candidate for dental implants has:
- No uncontrolled chronic health conditions
- The ability to quit smoking (if a smoker)
- Healthy gums
- Adequate bony tissue at the site of the missing tooth
This list is only a general guideline and not a substitute for meeting personally with one of our implant dentists. If you have unhealthy gums or inadequate bone tissue, you are not necessarily prohibited from receiving dental implants, but you will need to undergo corrective treatment for these issues before continuing with teeth implants.
During your initial consultation, our dentist will evaluate your condition, determine your candidacy and explain all of your treatment options.
Are Dental Implants Permanent?
Dental implants replace the roots of missing teeth. Once the jaw has accepted them, they will not come loose or fall out under normal circumstances.
Issues like trauma or advanced gum disease (periodontitis) can affect the longevity and security of dental implants. However, with proper care – and barring injury – dental implants should provide a lifetime of support.
How do You Care for Dental Implants?
Caring for dental implants is easy: brush at least twice a day (preferably after each meal) and floss at least once (preferably twice – and always before you brush) to keep your teeth and gums clean.
Visit our Sarasota office twice a year for examinations and professional cleanings as well. These allow us to remove bacteria from deep along the gum line and to check on the integrity of your implants.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from Dental Implant Surgery?
Implants can take four to six months to integrate into the jaw. Once integrated, the abutment and prosthesis can be placed. From start to finish, the dental implant process may take six to seven months.
However, that entire time is not spent in active recovery. Most people can resume work within three to four days. Some tenderness and swelling are expected, but these things should subside on their own. Regular activities, even demanding ones like heavy lifting and exercise, can be resumed within seven days of placement.
Are Dental Implants Painful?
Dental implants are placed under local anesthetic. Therefore, you should not experience any discomfort. However, if you are nervous about dental implant placement, we can discuss our office's safe and effective sedation options during your initial consultation.
Most people report pain levels between two and three (out of ten) during the first few days of dental implant recovery. Over-the-counter medications are typically enough to address the issue. Tenderness and swelling should subside within three to four days, so long as proper care is taken after implants are placed.
Are There Different Types of Dental Implants?
There are different dental implant options. These include:
- Endosteal (placed into the jawbone)
- Subperiosteal (placed on top of the jawbone)
- Zygomatic (implants into cheekbone)
The best type of dental implant for your needs depends on factors such as how much bone is present in the jaw, how long teeth have been missing, how many teeth are being replaced, and other unique considerations. During your initial consultation, we will carefully evaluate your teeth and gums to help you determine which implant option will best meet your needs.
Understanding the Osseointegration Process
Osseointegration is the process by which your dental implants become a steadfast addition to your smile. During the osseointegration process, connective tissues and osteoblasts (cells that secrete the matrix for bone formation) attach to the surface of the implant, firmly securing it into your jawbone. This eliminates the risk of your implant post falling out or coming loose.
Osseointegration is complete once your dental implant is secured into your jawbone firmly enough to prevent it from moving. It is at this point where the implant process can continue with the placement of an abutment and crown or other prosthesis to return strength and beauty to your smile.
The osseointegration process can take up to six months, although this can vary from patient to patient. Many patients are able to get temporary restorations placed in a few weeks, once the initial healing process allows it. However, it’s important to remember that every patient heals differently. When developing your customized dental implant treatment plan, our implant dentist will thoroughly explain what to expect during recovery and provide a timeline to help you plan accordingly.
Bone Grafts For Dental Implant Surgery
When replacing one or more teeth with dental implants, our dentist will surgically place a small titanium post under your gums and anchor it into your jawbone. If you lack adequate bone density, your jawbone may no longer be thick enough to support an implant. There are a number of reasons for a loss of bone density, including:
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Developmental defect
A bone graft is a surgical procedure that can increase the strength and density of your jawbone so that it can securely hold a titanium post in place. These procedures can be performed using your own bone or processed bone.
During your dental implant consultation, a complete evaluation of your oral structure will be performed to determine if a bone graft is necessary before continuing with the dental implant process.
The Dental Implant Procedure
The amount of time it will take to complete your dental implant process varies based on a number of factors, including the number of implants being placed and whether you need gum or bone treatment prior to surgery. Although every situation is different, the dental implant process often follows this general timeline:
- Initial implant consultation: Before your dental implant surgery, you will complete an initial evaluation with one of our experienced dentists. During this examination, we will assess your oral condition, determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants, answer your questions and discuss any alternative options that may be appropriate. Once you agree to move forward with dental implant surgery, a customized treatment plan will be designed specifically for you.
- Preparatory treatments, if needed: In some cases, preparatory procedures are required before you can receive implants. If you suffer from gum disease, periodontal treatment will be necessary prior to your implant procedure. If your tooth loss has caused jawbone recession, you will require a bone graft. This can hold up your dental implant surgery for several months or even a year, depending on your unique situation.
- Implant placement: If no preparatory work is needed, your implant surgery may be scheduled soon after your initial exam. Generally speaking, surgery for a single implant lasts about an hour, but results vary from patient to patient. The amount of time your surgery will last will vary, based on the number and type of implants you are receiving.
- Implant placement recovery: Although every patient heals differently, it usually takes about four to six months for your gums and bone to seal around the titanium post in the osseointegration process. Follow-up visits may be scheduled during this time to ensure the process is going smoothly.
- Abutment placement: Once your implant fuses to your jawbone through osseointegration, the abutment may be placed. In some cases, the connective device is placed during the initial implant surgery, eliminating the need for a separate abutment procedure. However, since the abutment can be seen when your mouth is open, many patients prefer to have this device attached in later procedures.
- Crafting your final prosthesis: Your gums will need a few weeks to heal after the abutment is placed. More impressions of your mouth will be made once your gums heal, and your custom, realistic-looking artificial tooth will be crafted.
- Placing your prosthesis: Once your crown or other prosthesis has been completed, it will be secured in place. Two follow-up appointments are recommended the first year, and continuing visits will be discussed with your dentist.
All-on-Four Dental Implants
If you need to replace a full arch of missing teeth, we may recommend All-on-Four dental implants. The procedure is a good option for patients who are seeking a permanent solution to missing teeth, but do not have sufficient bone volume for other procedures.
As the name may imply, the All-on-Four procedure utilizes just four dental implants to support an entire set of replacement teeth. What existing bone structure you do have is maximized by placing the rearmost implants at an angle. This helps to achieve successful results even in the absence of sufficient bone structure, often without the need for bone grafts.
While offering some benefits, traditional dentures do come with certain limitations; they can shift in your mouth, agitate your gums and prohibit you from enjoying all of the foods you love. Implant-supported dentures, on the other hand, offer a level of functionality, comfort and stability that conventional dentures simply cannot.
While just one tooth implant typically supports a single crown, multiple implants can support a complete denture prosthesis and restore a naturally beautiful and fully functioning smile.
Advantages of Implant-Supported Dentures
Implant-supported dentures provide several benefits over traditional alternatives, including:
- More comfortable fit
- Better chewing function
- Natural-looking smile
- No need for messy denture adhesives
- Improved ability to speak
While implant-supported dentures offer a variety of benefits, they are not necessarily the best solution for every patient. During your initial consultation at The Smile Centre, your candidacy for dental implants will be determined and all of your treatment options will be carefully explained.
Why Replace Missing Teeth?
When a tooth is lost, particularly a back tooth, you may not feel the need to immediately replace it, since no one can see the gap and you still have plenty of existing teeth. However, once a tooth is lost, more bone loss is occurring under the surface of your gums. Each of your teeth is surrounded and supported by an alveolar bone. When teeth are missing, that bone basically melts away in a process called resorption. Within the first year of tooth loss, you may lose up 25% of your bone density around that particular area. It only worsens from there. For this reason, many people who have lost teeth have an apparent “caved-in” appearance to their mouths.
In addition to harming the immediate area, a missing tooth also affects your remaining teeth. Teeth contribute greatly to your facial structure, and their absence can cause other teeth to shift and create bite problems and aesthetic issues. Tooth loss can also affect jaw joints, muscles and other structures of the face.
Why Choose The Smile Centre?
The comfort, safety and satisfaction of our patients are our top priorities. At The Smile Centre, our experienced dental team takes the time to listen to you and understand your concerns. We strive to provide you with an unparalleled level of quality and patient care.
Led by our founder, Dr. Richard Stanley, The Smile Centre specializes in multidisciplinary dentistry. This means that between the clinical expertise of our team and the state-of-the-art surgical centers at each of our three locations, there is no need for you and your family to go anywhere else for your dental needs.
In addition to ensuring excellence in our services and results, The Smile Centre is passionate about providing positive patient experiences; this includes a friendly and attentive staff, a compassionate and honest chair-side manner, and sedation options to help you feel comfortable and at-ease.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
The cost of dental implants varies depending on a number of factors, including the implant type as well as the number of implants needed. We proudly offer a number of payment and financing options to help you get the appropriate dental care you seek. During your consultation, you will be provided with an approximate estimate for your procedure, and our staff will explain all of your payment and financing options.
There are a number of reasons why you should replace your missing teeth with dental implants. Both your oral health and general health will benefit from a strong, healthy bite. Dental implants can improve your self-confidence and keep your gums, teeth and jaw healthy for years to come.
Hear What Our Patients Have to Say!
"I just had my second visit to see Dr. Alter and the entire experience was fantastic once again! The staff is incredible, super friendly and engaging... they listen to patients! I felt no pain or discomfort during the repair and I'm very happy with the results, my teeth look like a million bucks! Thank you Dr. Alter and the entire staff!" — Jennifer V.
"I personally love the Smile Centre! I’ve never really liked the dentist but when I started coming here, I found the place where I trust people to give me the best care. The Smile Centre is clearly a second home to everyone here. The workers are nothing else then the best. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else." — Kaitlyn S.
"Every person was an excellent listener and never made me feel like they were in a rush. Dr. Stanley was kind and caring, made you feel comfortable to discuss any concerns and spent time to make sure you understood your care. Hygenist, Linda, kind and caring. Did a wonderful job teaching while providing cleaning. Awesome Dr. and staff!" — Cheryl T.
Schedule Your Free Dental Implant Consultation Today
If you are interested in replacing one or more teeth, call The Smile Centre today to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced dental implant dentists. If you live in the Sarasota area of Florida, contact our Palm Aire location online or at 941-351-4468. If you live in or around Florida, please contact us online. We serve Sarasota, Bradenton and nearby areas in Florida.