If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants can offer an effective and durable solution. Dr. James Donley, in North Muskegon, Michigan has been successfully restoring dental implants for over 20 years. In addition to offering you with the most natural option to missing teeth, they provide a solution to preventing bone loss and supporting the lips and cheeks.

What are Dental Implants and What is the Procedure?

Dental Implants offer a great alternative to a bridge, a missing tooth, or a partial denture. Following a comprehensive oral and health exam including x-rays, we will evaluate whether you are a good candidate for the procedure.

A dental implant is an artificial root placed by a dental implant surgeon to replace one or more missing teeth. The process is done in two phases. The first phase is the surgical phase which consists of inserting a titanium or zirconium fixture post – called a fixture – into the bone to replace the root. After 3-6 months of healing and allowing the bone to grow around the fixture – called osteointegration to make sure the post is stable, the second phase the restorative phase where an implant crown is placed on top of the implant fixture. The connector= between the implant fixture and the crown is called the abutment.

A dental implant with a custom-made crown is a long-lasting restoration than will bring back the esthetics and function of your natural teeth. A dental implant doesn’t get decay and will never need a root canal. Placing an implant will help to maintain the bone health in the area versus allowing the tissue to shrink. This also helps to maintain the adjacent teeth bone height as well.

If you are missing a tooth from serious decay, trauma, infection, or periodontal disease, you can now avoid having an empty space and risk the adjacent teeth from shifting into that space creating other additional problems such as teeth tipping and moving which promotes more decay and gum problems.

If you are missing multiple teeth, we can do an implant supported bridge or even an implant supported denture. This will give you a very stable chewing function and help your mouth stay healthy.

Who Are the Ideal Candidates for Dental Implants:

  • This tooth replacement option is ideal if you are missing one or more teeth
  • Have sufficient jawbone height and density to support the implants
  • Maintain good oral hygiene habits
  • Don’t smoke or have an uncontrolled chronic illness such as diabetes or cancer

What are the Benefits of Dental Implants Over Other Options:

  • Improved Appearance – they look and feel more like your natural teeth. Many people say that they don’t even think about them as not being their natural teeth after a couple weeks.
  • Helps to Preserve Bone – The titanium fixture placed into the bone helps to stimulate the bone, thereby maintaining the blood supply and preserve the height and density of the ridge.
  • Better Speech and Eating – Since there is no bar that goes behind your teeth like a partial denture, or plastic that covers your palate when replacing a few teeth, you have better speech and improved eating ability and tasting ability.
  • Durability – When doing a single implant to replace one missing tooth, versus doing a bridge, you don’t turn a “single tooth problem into a three-tooth problem”. By this we mean, if you choose a bridge option instead of an implant, the bridge affects three teeth and if either of the support teeth get decay, you need to replace all three. If you can contain the missing tooth to a titanium implant and porcelain crown on top, the two adjacent teeth are unaffected and the titanium will not decay.
  • Improved Oral Health – Implants don’t get cavities and it protects the surrounding teeth and tissues.
  • Increased Confidence and Comfort – By restoring your dental function it gives our patients better self-esteem and a raised quality of life.

How long do Dental Implants last?

Dental implants are expected to be lifelong. This means if you get a well-placed implant, it reasonable to expect it to last you the rest of your life! Because this does involve having a surgery, many people prefer the more traditional bridge which is done in two visits. If you are prone to cavities, however, a bridge may only last you 8-10 years and then you might need it replaced. While implants can fall out or break, it is quite rare and most of the issues that caused people to be cautious about dental implants in the past, have been handled. There are more than 3 million dental implants placed successfully throughout the US and an average of 500,000 more are placed annually!

How can Implants be used with Dentures?

Some people who have dentures because they lost their teeth. When a tooth is lost, often the bone that supported it dissolves over time, leaving a thinner and shorter ridge. This does not allow for a stable base to support a denture sometimes. By using dental implants, dentures and partial dentures can be stabilized with the use of dental implants. Placing 4-6 implants throughout an arch is often enough to give good stability to a denture. Using either screws that hold the denture or partial in place will give the best support. This usually requires a thicker base for the metal support. Using another procedure called “Locators”, Dr. Donley is able to attach the denture in such a manner that it snaps in place on top of the implants. If you suffer from loose dentures, this could be a great option to explore with doctor.

Caring For Your Dental Implants

To ensure their longevity you must care for implants properly with:

  • Brushing and flossing around them daily
  • Rinsing with antimicrobial mouthwash
  • Regular dental visits for professional cleanings
  • Avoiding very hard or sticky foods which could damage implants

With our excellent long-term success rates, dental implants can give you back your confident, healthy smile for years to come. To schedule your evaluation, please contact the office of Dr. James R. Donley at Lumbertown Dental Wellness in North Muskegon, Michigan either by calling (231) 744-6661 or filling out the appointment request form.