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Dental implants are the most natural looking and natural feeling replacement for missing teeth. Unlike other tooth replacement options, dental implants don’t slip or click when you talk, laugh or eat. And they help keep your jawbone healthy, so that your facial structure stays intact.
A dental implant is a small post, usually made of titanium, that serves as a substitute for the root of the tooth. A connector, known as an abutment, is placed on, or built into, the top of the dental implant, which connects it to the replacement tooth. Finally, a crown, a replacement tooth, is custom fabricated to match your natural teeth, completing the dental implant.
No two patients or their customized dental implants treatments are exactly alike, so the cost – as well as the number of appointments required and procedures performed – will vary depending on your particular needs. I recommend consulting an AAID-credentialed dental implant expert who can conduct a comprehensive examination and evaluate the necessary diagnostics to best determine your needs and the associated fees. Discussing the dentist’s payment arrangements and potential coverage from your insurance carrier are important steps in the planning process.
Dental implants are sophisticated dental devices that must be placed carefully to minimize complications or implant failure. For the best results, it is important that you choose a dental implant expert who has the proper education, training and competence in implant dentistry.
The American Academy of Implant Dentistry maintains a free directory of AAID-credentialed dental implant experts who have met key education, training, and competence requirements.
Each patient is different. After completing the necessary diagnostics, your implant dentist should provide you with a treatment plan including the estimated amount of time to complete the process. Total treatment time depends on your needs, medical and dental history, the health of the supporting bone in your jaw, and the technique and materials that will be used. It can be as short as a few months, or more than a year for more complex conditions.
Dental implants, which have been used for half a century, are safe and effective. As in any medical procedure, however, there can be complications. Choosing a knowledgeable, well-trained implant dentist will help minimize complications and ensure skillful handling of any problems, should they arise. It is important that you and your implant dentist review your health history and any habits which could affect the success of your recommended care, such as smoking, so that you are fully informed about the benefits and risks involved.
With the sedation techniques available at the time of treatment and helpful instructions for home care, many people report that they feel better than anticipated. Often, they return to work and daily activities the next day. While there may be some discomfort and bruising, this typically lasts only a short time.
Yes, dental implants are an excellent and smart long-term solution for children who have lost permanent teeth due to injury or accident. It’s advisable to consult with a dental implant expert as soon as possible after the teeth are lost. However, in most circumstances, the dentist will wait to perform the procedure until your child’s facial growth and development has been completed. Generally, this occurs around age 16 for girls and age 18 for boys.
Well-placed and cared for dental implants have the potential to last for decades. Caring for teeth restored with dental implants is just like caring for your natural teeth: brush, floss and visit your dentist for regular cleanings and check-ups.
Dr. Alfred “Duke” Heller is the president of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID). He earned his DDS (1962) and MS (1974) from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. After spending two and a half years in Army Dental Corp (1962-65), Dr. Heller moved to Worthington, Ohio where he began his private dental practice with a specialty in fixed prosthodontics.
Dr. Heller’s participation with implant research has enabled him to advance the field of implant surgery. He has completed two FDA studies associated with dental implants and bone grafting materials.
In 1980, he founded the Midwest Implant Institute (MII). MII teaches dentists at all skill levels to perform safe, predictable and successful implant surgeries through live surgery.
He has been a member of the AAID since 1974, became an AAID Fellow in 1991, is Board Certified in Oral Implantology by the American Board of Oral Implantology/Implant Dentistry (ABOI/ID), and served as President of the ABOI/ID. He is an AAID Honored Fellow, and he served on the Admissions and Credentials Board of AAID, the Education Oversight Committee, as well as many other committees.
He has lectured on topics regarding all aspects of implant dentistry for over 30 years within the institute and for multiple other implant-oriented organizations in all corners of the United States of America.