Dental implant restorations are an excellent option for restoring the function, health, and beauty of your smile. Whether you are missing one tooth, several teeth, or all of your teeth, dental implants provide natural appearance, a stable chewing surface, and the preservation of your bone density. (It may not sound sexy, but it’s very important to the healthy longevity of your smile!)
Dr. Daniel Holmes is qualified to take you through the entire implant process. He is practiced and skilled in both restoring implants placed by other doctors to their final tooth-like appearance, and in providing the full implant treatment here in our state-of-the-art office in Fort Collins, CO.
Dental implants are permanent restorations that involve several steps:
- Initial assessment and preparation
- Surgical placement and healing of the implant post
- Restoration to a natural appearance
During the first stage of the process, Dr. Daniel Holmes and our experienced clinical team will discuss your dental goals, and develop a treatment plan to help you achieve them. Dr. Dan will then evaluate the position, suitability, and strength of the bone surrounding the location of your missing teeth. We will take digital scans of your teeth and gums as well as 3D imaging that shows us the composition of the interior of your jaw.
The implant itself is a titanium post that Dr. Dan will place into your jawbone. Titanium is a non-allergenic metal that is also biocompatible, which means the immune system does not see it as a foreign invader and will not attack it. The titanium post serves as an artificial root where your natural tooth used to be. This approach helps to retain density within the jawbone, which preserves the bone from shrinking over time. This is one of the most under-appreciated functions of your teeth!
Gathering the above scans and digital image information helps Dr. Dan to determine the length and width of the implant post (measured in millimeters) and how many implants will be necessary to replace the missing teeth. Our clinical team will then make a surgical guide to help ensure that your future implant is seated in the most optimal position within your jaw.
The second stage of the process is the one that could be considered the most involved. This step consists of the surgical procedures to place the implant in the bone. If deemed advisable, Dr. Dan will also recommend doing a bone graft to add further stability to the bone around the implant.
Bone grafting is a well-known surgical procedure that uses transplanted bony material to repair and rebuild damaged or missing areas of bone within your body. While we’re obviously focusing on your jaw in this case, a bone graft is a valid choice for repairing bones almost anywhere in your body.
Once the implant area is sufficiently numbed, the gum tissue is lifted to expose the implant site. The implant is placed into the bone and the gum is closed over it.
For maximum comfort and healing, you should plan to eat soft foods and avoid chewing in the area of the implant over the next few days. As with any oral surgery procedure, our team will advise you to avoid creating any suction in your mouth, which means no smoking, no straws, and no spitting! We recommend using cold compresses for the first 24 hours after your procedure, and alternating between cold and warm compresses thereafter to increase blood flow and reduce swelling. Switching between ibuprofen and acetaminophen is often effective at addressing any residual discomfort. If no infection is present, you will not need an antibiotic.
Our team will call the next day to ask how you’re feeling, and to answer any questions that you may have. We may also invite you to return for a quick post-operative check within a week of your post placement.
You will not see the implant during the 4 to 6 months that it takes to integrate with the surrounding bone. This can be a challenging time for you, as the desire is strong to complete the process quickly and regain your chewing surface! However, studies have shown that when the healing process is rushed, the failure rate increases significantly. Accordingly, it is of the utmost importance that we make sure your bone has the proper time for the implant to fully integrate.
After this time, the site is opened again and a healing collar will be threaded into the implant. This will guide the tissue into a shape that is needed for proper attachment of the future tooth-like restoration. The time that the healing collar needs to be in place will vary from person to person, but will be at least several weeks.
Once your body has had sufficient time to heal, Dr. Dan Holmes will make your dental implant restoration. There are multiple types of restorations available to you:
- A dental crown – designed to replace one tooth
- A dental bridge – two or more restorations fused together and secured by two or more implants posts
- A complete or partial denture – designed to replace many or all teeth and secured by 2 or 4 implants
A Single Tooth Implant functions just like a natural tooth. And, just like your natural teeth, it is important that your brush and floss regularly to maintain the health and longevity of your results.
With all implants, we highly recommend a water jet cleaning unit such as a Waterpik. The combination of brushing, flossing with traditional dental floss, and the use of a Waterpik provides exceptional cleaning ability to ensure the health and longevity of your teeth and gums, including implants!
A Dental Implant Bridge is used to solve the challenge of more than one missing tooth in a row. In such a case, two or more porcelain teeth are fused together and secured by implant posts at either end of the bridge.
In many cases, we are able to create your single tooth or bridge restoration here in-house, using the CEREC restoration technology. The CEREC machine uses advanced scanning technology to design the restoration, eliminating the need for messy, uncomfortable impressions. We then send the scan to a 3D carving apparatus in our on-site lab that carves the crown out of a block of high-quality porcelain matched to your individual tooth color. Dr. Dan creates dental implant restorations from materials that match your natural teeth in color and feel in order to achieve natural, functional, and beautiful results.
The CEREC technology allows our team to provide you with a custom-made, high-quality dental restoration within 7-10 days from the date of the CEREC scan. If your bridge is longer than our milling unit can accommodate, or if your crown requires special consideration, we will send it to a trusted off-site lab and bring your back in 3-4 weeks for the final restoration.
Either way, the final step involves installing the permanent abutment, which connects the implant to the crown, and the crown to restore your biting function with your beautiful smile!
Dr. Dan Holmes also provides implant-supported full and partial dentures and over-dentures as appropriate. Dentures and partials are excellent solutions to address many missing teeth at the same time, or when it’s necessary to extract multiple teeth to support your health and chewing function.
A Hybrid Denture combines the benefits of a traditional denture – long-lasting full-mouth support, natural look and feel, and muscular support for a more youthful appearance – with the security of dental implants. Four implant posts are placed into the jaw with a temporary denture that allows you to chew comfortable while the implants integrate into the bone. Once healed – which is determined by what we call a Torque Test, applying rotational stress to the implant – Dr. Dan will take final measurements for the new denture that is permanently attached to your implants, thereby locking it into place.
A hybrid denture positions the implant attachments on top of your gumline, with a space between your gums and the base of the denture. This allows you to clean fully around the implant posts and under your denture.
A Locator Retained Overdenture combines the stability of dental implants with the convenience of a removable denture. The removable prosthesis snaps into place using fittings called locators that are installed in the base of the denture. Two implants are place into the jaw, and, once healed, snap directly into the locators. Remove it daily for cleaning and you’ll be smiling like new!
During your consultation, Dr. Dan will help you determine whether a hybrid denture or a locator retained overdenture would be best for your lifestyle, needs, and pocketbook. Although there are multiple steps to the process, the result will be secure, healthful, and naturally gorgeous.
To keep your implants healthy and functional for the longest time possible, clean the implant and your natural teeth daily, as instructed. You will also need to come in for dental hygiene re-care appointments at a 6-month interval. You have invested your time and money in these state-of-the-art tooth replacements. Maintaining them as instructed will give you the best chance of success into the future.
We feel that the benefits of replacing teeth with implant-supported crowns, bridges, and dentures far outweigh the inconvenience of the long start to finish time. This is especially true when the teeth on either side of the implant are sound, unfilled teeth that would not otherwise require dental treatment. Implants can help you preserve the neighboring natural tooth structure.
Call Holmes Dental at 970-221-2499 to learn more about the advantages of implant dentistry and to see if you can benefit from receiving dental implants in Fort Collins, Colorado.