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Dental implants are an effective permanent solution for replacing missing teeth and provide an aesthetically pleasing way to restore your smile after tooth loss.
Dental implants look, feel, and function like your natural teeth. With dental implants, our patients are able to regain the ability to eat and smile with effortless confidence. Their quality of life is enhanced and improved with the placement of dental implants. Implants offer outstanding long-term results, they are aesthetically pleasing, and the crowns we place on top of our implants are custom fitted and fabricated with precision.
Start to feel confident with your smile again by calling and learning about our affordable dental implant solutions. (425) 224-2452
Dental Implant Questions Answered on This Page.
Q. What is a dental implant?
Q. Who makes a good candidate for dental implants?
Q. What are the benefits of dental implants?
Q. What is involved in a dental implant?
Q. What are the stages of the Dental Implant Process?
Q. What types of dental implants are there?
Q. What is the cost of dental implants?
Q. Is sedation an option for dental implants?
Q. Why should I choose DISNW?
What is a dental implant?
The term dental implant is actually used to describe a product that is comprised of three basic components. The first component is called a “fixture,” which is a small post fabricated from surgical grade titanium (a strong, lightweight metal) and placed in the upper or lower jawbone where you have a missing tooth. Placing an implant replaces the root of the tooth you lost and serves as an anchor. The implants are bio-compatible, and offer strength and durability, as well as the ability to fuse to the bone through a process called osseointegration. Your bone is better preserved because the implant integrates with your jawbone, helping to keep the bone healthy and intact. Placing dental implants helps preserve the structure and contour of your face while preventing bone deterioration that naturally occurs when we lose teeth. This creates a strong foundation to support the second component, called the “abutment,” which acts as a connector between the implant or fixture, and the third and final component of the implant process, called the “final restoration.” The final restoration may be:
Dental Implants have become so common that more than 500,000 people get implants each year in the United States. But not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants, to find out if you are, read the section below on who makes a good candidate.
“Dental implants are designed to function just like your natural teeth and can improve your life in many ways, making them the best solution for patients looking for a permanent tooth replacement procedure.”
Who makes a good candidate for dental implants?
If you are interested in dental implants, it is important first to see if you are a candidate. Good candidates are generally healthy and have enough bone to support an implant. Whether you’re missing just a couple of teeth or an entire arch, there’s a good chance that you can benefit from dental implants. Even if the missing teeth are in the back of your mouth, other teeth may be impacted by the missing tooth, and the bone under the area will start to break down because of a lack of stimulation.
Here are some of the reasons why patients come to us for dental implants:
- It’s been a long time since you smiled confidently in social situations because you tend to hide your smile due to missing teeth or gaps.
- Loss of facial bone structure is making you look older, and you want to maintain a youthful smile and appearance to improve your self-image and self-confidence
- Missing back teeth and molars are limiting your diet to soft foods, and you wish to eat your favorite foods like salad and steak again.
- You are missing one or more teeth due to an accident or poor past health decisions, and you want a permanent solution.
- You wear uncomfortable dentures or are dissatisfied with your removable partial dentures and would like a permanent solution.
- The teeth around your missing tooth are starting to shift due to bone loss in your jawbone, and you wish to keep your other teeth in place and intact.
If you’re experiencing physical and or emotional discomfort caused by any of the examples listed above, then Dental Implant Solutions NW is dedicated to providing the relief you seek. We understand that a beautiful and functional smile can dramatically improve your overall health and confidence, giving you a greater quality of life.
Sadly, not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. Patients should be in good general health and have enough jawbone to support the implant. Bone can sometimes be built up with a bone graft or with sinus lift surgery. Implant treatment may not be a good option for patients with chronic illnesses like diabetes and leukemia. Tobacco use can also cause complications in the healing process.
If implant treatment is recommended, regular dental visits are key to the long-term success of your implants. Your dentist will set up an oral hygiene routine to help you keep your implant and natural teeth healthy. With proper planning and good oral hygiene, your implants and beautiful smile could possibly last a lifetime. Poor care increases your risk for gum disease and potential implant failure.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
One of the best things about dental implants is they are designed to function just like your natural teeth and can improve your life in many ways. They allow you to enjoy eating the food you once loved and provide confidence in knowing they won't fall out at an inconvenient moment. They can also last a lifetime with proper oral hygiene and regular checkups.
The most significant benefits our patients' notice include:
- No preparation of adjacent teeth is required
- They stimulate the bone and preserve the jawbone from shrinking
- They maintain the integrity of the facial structure, including the size and tone of the facial muscles
- They allow for superior long-term aesthetics
- They look and feel real and are the closest replacement possible to natural teeth
- They will restore lost lip support and minimize wrinkles around the mouth
- They are securely fit and comfortable therefore eliminating the pain of ill-fitting dentures
- They are long-lasting and strong
- Restores ability to chew, which improves digestion “learn more Digestion article”
The true benefit of dental implants is the regained sense of confidence and overall physical and emotional health improvements. It’s hard to put a price tag on knowing you can eat the foods you want, talk to colleagues, and smile without any fear of embarrassment. We understand that a beautiful and functional smile can mean to the quality of life you live. Getting dental implants does not usually happen overnight. In the next section, we explain what is involved in a dental implant treatment plan.
What is involved in an implant treatment plan?
Because your implant needs are unique to you, we offer individualized treatment plans for each patient. While the entire implant procedure is normally performed over the course of 4-8 months, some patients may require additional dental procedures. The most common additional procedures revolve around the amount of bone available for the implant. If there is an insignificant amount of bone available to properly support the restoration, a bone graft or sinus lift may be needed prior to the placement of the implants. For more complicated restorations, or when financing is a barrier to treatment, we can design a plan that may stretch out over one or two years. Our goal is always to provide our patients with a restored smile they will love to show their loved ones and the world.
Stages of the Dental Implant Process
The dental implant process can be broken down into two to three parts: first, the “fixture,” which is the implant that is surgically placed in the bone, second the “abutment,” which acts as a connector between the implant or “fixture” and third the “final restoration”. The “final restoration” may be a single crown, a bridge, or an implant-supported denture.
As mentioned before, this process is implemented over a course of usually eight visits spanning a timeframe of four (4) months to three (3) years, depending on the unique needs of the patient. Some of these visits are short check-up visits, and others are administrative and can be combined into one visit if desired. Because of the level of expertise and experience of our in-house implant dentist, Dr. John A. Hodges all treatments can be conveniently completed in our dental office, including sedation.
Generally, the eight visits listed in the treatment plan will consist of the following:
1. Complimentary Consultation
2. Personalized Examination
4. Surgery Day - Implant Placement
5. Suture Removal - 2 weeks (Post-op)
6. Osseointegration - 2 - 6 months (Post-op)
Restoration Fabrication Stage
7. Final Impression or Scan - 4-6 months later
8. Final Abutment & Final Restoration Delivery (crown, bridge, or denture)
Visit 1: Consultation / Panoramic X-ray
Your first visit is your complimentary consultation, where you will meet with one of our professional implant consultants. During the consultation, a two-dimensional (2-D) dental X-ray, called Panoramic Dental X-ray, will be taken, capturing your entire mouth in a single image. This image, plus a quick questionnaire, will be used to determine if you are a candidate for dental implants.
Visit 2: Exam / CBCT
Once you have decided to move forward with restoring your smile with dental implants, you will have a personalized examination with Dr. John A. Hodges. During your visit, Dr. Hodges will discuss your long-term goal, and a three-dimensional (3-D) dental scan, called Cone-Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) will be taken. Dr. Hodges will review the scan with you and provide you with recommendations on the best dental implant options and placements for you. During this consultation, you will be provided with a final treatment plan and a clear understanding of the steps involved, including the financial cost of care.
Visit 3: Pre-surgery
During your pre-surgery appointment, you will sign consent forms, the initial payment for surgery will be collected, and you will receive prescriptions for any prescribed medication. Also, prior to your surgery, Dr. Hodges will perform your surgery virtually in planning software. He will use CAD software to recreate your jaw and to digitally perform your surgery until the plan is idealized. This makes your surgery a safer & smoother process.
Visit 4: Surgery day - Implant Placement
On your surgery day, Dr. Hodges will perform the procedure by making small incisions in the gum at all the preplanned implant locations – small drills will be used to gently open the bone. The implants will then be inserted into your jawbone – similar to a screw being placed in wood. Multiple implants can be placed at this time, so additional visits may not be necessary. After the implants are placed, the gums are sutured. You may have some tenderness and swelling after the surgery. It is recommended that you eat soft foods when possible during the healing process.
Visit 5: Suture Removal (2 weeks Post-op)
Your visit 2 weeks post-op will be to have your sutures removed if they were placed, and we will verify that everything is healing properly.
Visit 6: Osseointegration - (2 - 6 months Post-op)
It will take several months for the implant to be completely integrated into the bone. So, two months after surgery, you will come in for a post-op visit to see how the osseointegration process is going. Osseointegration is the process of the implants fusing to your jawbone and is what makes an implant so strong. After 3 - 6 months, a meter will be used to test that osseointegration has been completed.
“During this time, you can have temporary crowns installed so that you can eat and speak normally and maintain a proper aesthetic appearance for your smile.”
Visit 7: Final Impression or Scan - 4-6 months later
After the healing phase and the bone has fused to the implant, an impression is taken and used to create your final restoration. Impressions can be done by placing gel-filled trays into your mouth to capture the position of the implant/s or by scanning, which is done with an intraoral camera.
Visit 8: Final Abutment & Restoration Delivery
Once the final abutment & restoration is completed, you will return to our office to have them permanently attached. The “final restoration” may be a single crown, a bridge, or an implant supported denture. During the final restoration, Dr. Hodges will ensure the fit of your restoration is designed to complement your unique facial features. Once the final restoration is attached to the implant, you will experience restored confidence in your smile and your ability to chew and speak. Your new dental implants are so natural-looking and feeling you may even forget you lost a tooth.
What types of dental implant restorations are there?
Dental implant restorations are available in a variety of types and materials. The type and material of the implant restoration recommended will depend on your unique situation. If you are missing just a single tooth, then a single-tooth implant with a crown could work for you. If you are missing multiple teeth, then a dental bridge might be the right solution. For those that are missing all their teeth, all-on-4 and snap-on dentures are options. A “combo” solution that combines a dental bridge and one or two single implants can provide you with a full-mouth smile again and may be the way to go if you still have most of your teeth and healthy bone structure. The following are a couple of examples of solutions based on the number of missing teeth.
Missing One Tooth
The most likely solution for replacing a missing single tooth, whether it is a molar or one of your front teeth, is with a single implant. A single implant is a stand-alone post screwed into your bone and used to replace a missing tooth’s root. A porcelain crown is then attached to the implant. The crown can be shaded to blend in with the surrounding teeth. Since an implant does not rely on any of the surrounding teeth for support, your remaining teeth will be unaffected. Replacing a missing tooth with a single implant can help with chewing food, smiling, speaking, and stopping your teeth from shifting.
Missing Multiple Teeth
A dental implant-supported bridge can be used when you are missing multiple teeth right next to each other. With an implant-supported bridge Instead of replacing each missing tooth with a standalone implant, a minimum number of strategically placed implants can be used to support the bridges and bridge the gap between several missing teeth. Unlike traditional bridges, implant-supported bridges do not require the support of the teeth next to them. The bridge can be shaded to blend in with the surrounding teeth.
Missing All Teeth
A full arch prosthetic is required when you are missing all your teeth. Full arch prosthetics come in two main types (implant supported dentures & all-on-4) and are constructed from various materials with different strengths and benefits. The number of implants needed depends on how much bone is available and other factors. For more information on each option, check out our All-on-4 and Snap-on Denture pages.
Implant Supported Dentures
With implant-supported dentures, several implants will retain a denture, making it more stable. You will find it easier to eat and to feel more confident. You will lessen the number of denture sores you develop, and your fear of your dentures falling out will be a thing of the past!
Lower dentures can often be stabilized with just 2 implants. Additional implants can be added for more stability. In some cases, your existing denture can be converted to fit the new implants.
Upper dentures require at least 4 implants to retain them because the upper bone is less dense. Your denture will still cover the roof of your mouth for support when biting, but we can usually remove about 1 centimeter from the palate of the denture, and we can reduce the size of the flanges (extensions) by your lips to increase comfort.
Lastly, missing teeth and bone structure may result in unwanted changes to your appearance. Your lips can lose support, and your cheeks can sink in. Both situations can make a person appear older and can result in wrinkles. Replacing this lost structure with implants and a new denture can take years off of your appearance and can keep you looking and feeling young!
All-on-4 / Full Mouth Dental Implants
Once the implants have been placed and healing has occurred, called osseointegration, small connectors, called abutments, are attached to the implants. The final all-on-4 implant is fabricated and then secured to the abutments with screws. This type of prosthesis is fixed in place and can only be removed by a dentist, and it is much smaller than a denture.
All-on-4 dental implants look and function like real teeth – although they can feel bulkier than natural teeth. They are more comfortable and stable than conventional dentures, thus allowing you to retain a more natural biting and chewing capacity. Your implant bridge can make you feel more whole and confident. You brush and floss around it, similar to natural teeth. It is stable, so you can eat your favorite foods, and no one will know that it’s not your natural teeth!
What is the cost of dental implants?
There is no standard price for dental implant procedures since each treatment plan is different. The price varies based on a number of factors, including the number of implants needed, the type of material used, or whether additional procedures like bone grafts or sinus lifts are needed. The best thing to do is schedule a consultation with us to determine your best option. The Dental Implant Solutions NW team will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan to fit your needs and budget. In some cases, we are able to help in filing insurance claims on your behalf, or we can help you apply for low-interest third-party financing to make your dream of new teeth a reality. To learn more, check out our financing page.
Is sedation or anesthesia an option for dental implants?
Yes, a local anesthetic will be given before the procedure so that you do not feel any pain. If you have any anxiety or fear about dental procedures, we offer nitrous oxide, oral sedation, or general anesthesia options for both surgical implant placement and bone grafting. Learn more on our Sedation page or just let our office staff know when you contact us.
Why should I go with DISNW?
Over the last 20+ years, Dr. Hodges has placed and restored over 4,000+ implants. The vast majority of those implants placed still continue to function at peak performance. Dr. Hodges is not only an implant-only dentist that specializes in implantology, but he has also written articles on dental implant procedures and is an international instructor with Neoss implants, where he teaches dentists around the world how to use a strong scientific process to determine which type of dental implants is the right option for their patients.
Dental Implants Placed & Restored In-House
Treating Patients in The Northwest for 20+ Years
Affordable, Low-Interest Dental Financing Offered
We offer dental implants in Seattle, Covington, Gig Harbor, and the surrounding areas. Schedule a complimentary consultation to learn more about your tooth replacement options.