Teeth can be lost for a number of reasons, including cavities, periodontal disease or trauma. Did you know that by age 17, more than 7.3 percent of children in the U.S. have lost one permanent tooth; and by age 50, Americans have lost an average of 12 teeth? Fortunately dental implants can help.

Dr. Lear has been extensively trained in dental implant placement and accompanying procedures, such as bone grafting and sinus augmentation.  She has over 25 years of experience placing dental implants. One of her highest priorities is to help you come to an informed decision regarding your treatment.  To learn whether you are a good candidate for dental implants, you will have a dental evaluation which includes a thorough dental exam, a dental and medical history, and imaging tests. As part of the exam, the health and structure of your mouth are studied. This evaluation helps the dental team understand where to place the implants. Dr. Lear will work closely with you to provide excellent tooth replacement care.

What Are Dental Implants?

The premier choice for replacing teeth may be dental implants. Dental implants are titanium posts, which are gently placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. Dental implants help preserve your facial structure and prevent bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing. Implants can replace a single tooth, several teeth, or all the teeth in your mouth. Best of all, they look and feel like natural teeth.

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Replacing a Missing Tooth

Dental implants are the most natural replacement for lost or congenitally missing teeth. Instead of cutting down two healthy adjacent teeth for a bridge, the periodontist gently places a titanium post into the jawbone to replace your missing tooth root. This post becomes solidly fixed into your jaw. After healing is complete, a connecting abutment and crown are attached to the implant. There are some conditions where the implant can be placed at the same time as the tooth extraction.

Replacing All Teeth

Removable full dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and rather embarrassing. If you are replacing a complete set of teeth in your upper and/or lower jaw, you may be able to choose between a removable or fixed prosthesis. The number of implants varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended. With a removable prosthesis (over-denture), the new teeth are joined to the implants by a connecting device, such as a clip and a bar or snap anchor attachments. This allows you to take the prosthesis out for cleaning.

With a fixed prosthesis (such as an All-On-4 implant supported denture), the new teeth are fitted to a frame that is secured to the implants. A fixed prosthesis can only be removed by the dentist. The all-on-four denture may be placed the same day as the implants. With an implant-supported denture, you will be able to speak with confidence, chew more securely, and help preserve your bone and facial appearance.

Replacing Several Missing Teeth

A removable partial denture can slip, come loose and cause irritation. It may also result in further bone and tooth loss. An implant-supported bridge can replace two or more missing teeth and may require only two or three implants.

Ridge Augmentation

A critical question in determining whether an implant can be placed is, “Is there enough bone height and width to support the implant?” Deformities in the upper or lower jaw can leave you with inadequate bone in which to place implants. Fortunately, advanced bone regeneration techniques make it possible to correct bony defects with bone grafting to build up the ridge.

Sinus Augmentation (Lift)

A key to implant success is the quantity and quality of bone where the implant is to be placed. A sinus lift may be required when placing a dental implant in the back of your upper jaw if there is insufficient bone height. Additional bone would need to be placed to raise the sinus floor for secure placement of the dental implant.

Do Implants Need Special Care?

Once the implants are in place, they will serve you well for many years if you take care of them and keep your mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular periodontal maintenance appointments in our office.

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