Dental Implants in Towson
The foundation of dental implants started in 1952 when an orthopedic surgeon fortuitously discovered that he could not remove a narrow titanium cylinder placed in bone after months of healing. He had discovered what is now termed osseointegration (Greek, Osteon, bone and Latin, integration, to make whole). This means that human bone grows and fuses with a titanium surface.
With this discovery, scientists started experimenting with these small titanium cylinders in the 1960s and 1970s for dental usage. They continually altered and re-designed the dental implant's physical properties to find ways to replace teeth optimally.
Today with the widespread usage and scientific advancements, dental implants have achieved a success rate in the 92-95% range. This means that dental implants are a predictable solution for replacing missing teeth and that can last a lifetime!
Below are our common FAQs that we hear at our office.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant fixture is highly engineered small titanium cylinder, resembling a screw, that is between 1 and 2 centimeters in length. The dental implant replaces the root of natural tooth. The fixture can be placed in both the upper and lower jaw and is gently anchored into the bone. Care is taken to make sure the angle of placement is accurate to enable a custom-made beautiful porcelain crown can be fixed to the implant. There is a connection that attaches the implant in the bone, and the crown that you see, together through either a screw connection or cemented connection. This piece is called the abutement.
How does the dental implant procedure work?
The first step in pursuing dental implants is a consultation with your dentist, or with us at our office in Towson, MD. At this visit, a radiograph called a panorex is taken to study the size and shape of your teeth and needed implant size. The positions of anatomical structures, teeth, and height of bone is measured and noted. Frequently models of your teeth and gums are made and also digital pictures. Once we have discussed realistic expectations, we would make an appointment to place the implants.
At the implant placement appointment, a small surgery is performed. The gum tissue is gently numbed up and a small slot through the gum tissue is made to get access to the bone. A pilot osteotomy is made and enlarged to a custom size for the correct implant. After it is anchored into the bone, we will put on a cover screw, healing cap (a small collar), or a custom beautiful temporary crown if it is in the front of the mouth.
Around 4 months later, we will make an impression for the final crown. Around two weeks after this we will screw in the final crown or cement it in. Both of these appointments are around a half hour.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Dental implants are a God-send to dentistry for many reasons. With the loss of a tooth, the bone degenerates away. This results in the cheeks and mouth appearing to look sunken in, or prematurely aging. Implants help to keep the bone and proper facial contours. They do not get dental cavities like teeth. Implants look and feel like natural teeth. You can clean them like natural teeth as well (brushing and flossing!) Importantly, dental implants actually keep the neighboring teeth healthy by not cutting them down for a dental bridge. Moreover, they allow patients to avoid removable partial dentures that trap plaque against natural teeth, and cause harmful pivoting on natural teeth which causes premature tooth loss.
People love to eat. Most of us crave apples, or during the summer corn on the cob, or steak. People who have rocking dentures, or tooth loss, are unable to enjoy many similar foods. Implants, replacing teeth and holding down dentures, improve the freedom to smile and laugh, the ability to eat all foods, and an overall increased quality of life! Dental implants to hold a denture securely would be a great treatment for many seniors in the Towson, Lutherville, and Baltimore area.
What services involve implants?
Single tooth replacement- The best treatment to replace a single missing tooth is usually to replace the root of the tooth and crown of the tooth with a dental implant. Bridges have been used in the past and are still used today when the situation requires them. Both back teeth and front teeth can be replaced with an implant.
Multiple tooth replacement - When two, three or four teeth are missing in one area, we can usually replace all of the teeth with an implant bridge. So we would have implants on the ends of the missing tooth area and crowns that are fused together as a bridge, be fixed onto the dental implants. We may place two dental implants and have four teeth anchored to them.
Entire arch replacement- There are patients who have cavities, periodontal disease, or trauma, necessitate that all of the teeth in an arch be replaced. Implants are a great option to replace the missing roots of key teeth, and missing crowns of all the teeth. Usually only 5 or 6 implants are needed to replace an arch of teeth and 10 or 12 would be used to replace all of your teeth as a permanently, long lasting, and cosmetic outcome.
Denture stabilization - One of the great benefits of implants are to place them under a denture. When anchored into the bone under a denture, we can then snap the denture on top of the implants. This is fantastic for patients. The connection that we use most frequently is like a ball and socket. You can even pick how much 'snap' you would want. This enables a rock solid denture for eating, smiling, laughing, and wonderful quality of life.
How long does the entire procedure take?
The entire process, from implant placement to final outcome, is usually around 4 or 5 months. Sometimes we can go a little quicker, and sometimes if grafting is done, we may want to spread it out a little longer. The first appointment for the surgery of placing the implants is usually around an hour. The appointments after are conveniently a half hour.
What prolongs dental implant treatment usually is the amount of bone, or inadequate room within the dental arch. We provide bone grafting services, and also offer clear braces to help reposition teeth appropriately.
Additionally, there are dental implant cases that would be best treated by a dental specialist. Depending on the area you travel from, we can provide you with a state-of-the-art specialist to help treat you. Specialists that we refer to are in the Towson, Lutherville, Bel Air, Timonium and Baltimore.
Are dental implants painful?
As I am dental implant patient myself, I can say with honesty that they are not very painful. However, there is some minor discomfort afterwards, but it's not that much. Surprisingly, the bone tissue in your mouth doesn't have any sensory nerves like your skin or gums, so this makes the discomfort afterwards fairly mild. Time and time again patients tell us how it was not as painful as they thought that it would be. We give detailed care instructions and usually have you take motrin. We also provide medications taken before the appointment for anxiety.
What is dental bone grafting and will I need it?
Many times there is not enough width or height of bone to receive a dental implant. With modern advances in tissue regeneration, we are able to graft new synthetic bone to your own and grow your bone volume. When needed, bone grafting is a wonderful addition to the dental implant procedure. Some patients will benefit from this service. As an implant dentist in the Towson area, we will surely discuss the chances of this and if needed, we can make a referral to an area specialist.
Dental Implant costs:
Lets be honest, dental care is expensive. Our fee to place a standard dental implant, insert the appropriate abutement, and insert a porcelain crown is $3,500.00. We feel that this is a reasonable cost in the Towson, Baltimore and Maryland area. We we will do everything we can to make it affordable. We participate with most PPO plans so your out of pocket should be minimal. We will gladly work out a payment plan and offer financing. As mentioned above, sometimes additional services are sometimes needed like bone grafting. Financing can be discussed at well over a six month period.
Please contact us for a complimentary consultation to see if dental implants are the right choice for you. We really look forward to meeting you.
Stephen Kuzmak, DDS
Towson View Dental Care
7600 Osler Drive, Suite 303
Towson, MD 21204