Dental Implants — Mount Pleasant, SC
Permanent, Secure Tooth Replacement Solutions
When permanent teeth are lost, regardless of the reason or number of teeth, dental implants can offer a “new lease on life.” They are superior to other choices because they are solid, secure, and natural-looking, restoring the smile from the roots up. Our dental office is proud to have our own in-house implant dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Johnson, who is able to provide every step of the treatment so our patients can rebuild their smiles as conveniently and comfortably as possible. His expertise is respected to the point that he actually teaches implant dentistry at the Engel Institute, a continuing education institution for dentists. If you’re ready to put your tooth loss behind you permanently, Dr. Johnson is more than ready to help you do it with dental implants in Mt. Pleasant, SC.
What Are Dental Implants?
An implant is a special surgical grade titanium post, manufactured to highly precise specifications under strictly sterile conditions, that is inserted surgically into the jawbone below the gum surface. With the proper use of the newest anesthetics and medications, you need not be concerned about pain. As the bone bonds to the post, it forms a secure foundation onto which your new teeth can be attached and shaped to match your mouth. Implants can help replace a single tooth all the way to a full set of teeth. The number of teeth being replaced will determine the best kind of restoration for you.
4 Step Dental Implant Process
Dental implants use a different method than traditional tooth replacement options like dentures or bridges. During your consultation, Dr. Johnson will work with you to plan out your dental implant treatment, providing personalized estimates for both the cost and time required. While every patient’s plan is slightly different, you can learn more about some of the basic steps below.
Initial Dental Implant Consultation
During this initial visit, Dr. Johnson will take the time to get to know you and discuss the goals you have for your new smile. Then, he’ll review your medical history and inspect your teeth, gums, and jaw to see if dental implants are a good choice for you.
Oral health problems like tooth decay, bruxism, and gum disease can threaten the success of your dental implants, so he’ll work with you to address these issues first if needed. Once your oral health is on track, he can move onto the next step.
Dental Implant Surgery
Dr. Johnson will place your implants himself, so you can rest easy knowing your surgery will be as smooth and successful as possible. First, a small incision will be made in your gums to access your jawbone. Depending on how many dental implants you need, one or more small titanium posts will be placed into your jawbone. Then, a protective cap is attached to protect the implants and maintain the shape of your gum tissue as your mouth heals.
Dental Implant Osseointegration/Abutment
After your dental implant posts have been placed, they will undergo osseointegration. This is the process where they gradually fuse with the surrounding bone tissue to essentially become part of your jaw. How long this takes depends on factors like how many implant posts were placed, your natural healing ability, and how well you care for your oral health as they heal. Typically, you can expect this to take anywhere from four to six months. Once your mouth has healed enough, Dr. Johnson will place an abutment that will eventually anchor your final restoration in place.
Delivery of Dental Implant Restorations
Once we receive your custom-made dental crown, bridge, or denture, you’ll return to our dental office to have it connected to your implants. Dr. Johnson will securely attach your restoration to the abutment(s) and check that your new bite feels comfortable. Then, you’ll be all set to enjoy your complete, confident smile!
Benefits of Dental Implants
While dental implant treatment does take more time to complete than alternative options, their numerous benefits make them the ideal solution for many patients. By reconstructing every single part of a missing tooth, a dental implant is able to look and function just like a real tooth. After a while, you might end up forgetting that you even had your teeth replaced! Here are some of the benefits of dental implants in Mount Pleasant that you can expect.
- Seamless appearance – The dental crown, bridge, or denture that we place on top of your implants is designed to mimic your home-grown pearly whites. Your new teeth will also remain firmly in place, allowing you to smile confidently without worrying about a slipping denture.
- Full chewing function – Because the roots of the teeth are replaced in addition to the crowns, implant-supported teeth function more like real ones than dentures and dental bridges do. Traditional dentures only repair about 20% of healthy chewing function, but an implant denture restores 70% or more. As a result, you’ll be able to maintain a more varied, nutritious diet.
- Minimal maintenance – Dentures require you to learn a whole new cleaning routine, but in most cases, dental implants in Mount Pleasant can be brushed and flossed just like regular teeth. This saves you valuable time in your morning and evening routines.
- Protection of surrounding teeth – A conventional dental bridge can damage your remaining tooth structure by relying on the adjacent teeth for support. In contrast, dental implants are fully self-reliant, ensuring that you retain as much of your natural smile as possible.
- Jawbone preservation – Unlike bridges and dentures that only replace the sections of the teeth above the gumline, dental implants stimulate your jaw in the same way that tooth roots do. They strengthen the bone every time you bite or chew, preventing the bone deterioration that occurs after tooth loss. This helps you avoid not only an increased risk of oral health concerns, but also a sagging, sunken facial appearance that is common with traditional dentures.
- Longer lifespan – Missing teeth are linked to a host of systemic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease. Since dental implants serve the same purpose as real teeth, they can help you live longer by avoiding these complications.
- High success rate – When placed by a skilled implant dentist in Mount Pleasant like Dr. Johnson, dental implants have a success of about 95 percent, even after more than two decades.
- Tooth replacement that lasts – Compared to traditional replacements that last for 10 years at most, dental implants can last for 30+ years as long as you take excellent care of them.
- Saved money – Yes, dental implants are more expensive initially, but over time, they’re actually more cost-effective than dentures and bridges. How? You won’t need to spend money on frequent repairs, replacements, adhesives, or cleaning products. Make the smarter financial choice by investing in dental implants today!
Who Dental Implants Can Help
Dental implants are a great choice for practically anyone with missing teeth! Whether you’ve lost one, several, or all your natural teeth, we can rebuild your complete, confident smile and prevent future health problems with dental implants. During your initial consultation, we’ll go over which type of restoration is right for you.
Missing 1 Tooth
Traditionally, individual teeth were replaced by creating a fixed bridge. These dental prosthetics are created by attaching two dental crowns, one on each side, to a replacement tooth. Then, the entire fixed bridge prosthetic is cemented into place over the top of healthy teeth that provide support for the replacement tooth. Unfortunately, this meant we needed to remove healthy tooth structure from the surrounding teeth to support the fixed bridge prosthetic.
For patients who choose dental implant supported single tooth replacement, the surrounding teeth are protected and the lost tooth root is replaced. We begin by placing one dental implant post. Then, patients will need to wait for three to six months to allow the implant to fuse with the jawbone. Once the fusion process is complete, patients can return to our dental office where we’ll attach a custom dental crown. In some cases, a single implant post can also be used to support two fused together dental crowns to replace two consecutive teeth.
Missing Multiple Teeth
When you’ve lost two or more consecutive teeth, we may recommend a fixed bridge restoration. A row of replacement teeth are fused together and attached to two implant posts, one at each end. For patients missing two or more consecutive and nonconsecutive teeth, a partial denture may be necessary. Partial dentures are crafted using a gum-colored base to support any number of replacement teeth. The base is molded to fit snuggly between remaining teeth. The entire prosthetic is typically held in place with just two to four implant posts.
Missing All Teeth
Traditional implant dentures are crafted using a gum-colored base material to support a full row of replacement teeth. The denture can be held in place with just four to six implant posts positioned along the jawbone.
For those patients who want to replace missing teeth with a less invasive procedure, All-on-4 dental implants may be a better option. This innovative procedure allows patients to get a full implant-retained denture using just four implants. It’s ideal for patients who do not have enough healthy jawbone to support traditional implant dentures. With this treatment, the implants and the denture can often be placed in just one visit, making it one of the most efficient and effective ways to completely restore a smile. What makes All-on-4 so unique is the positioning of the implant posts to make the most of the naturally denser parts of the jawbone at the front of the mouth. Two implants are placed vertically to support the front of the denture, and two are placed diagonally to support the back of the denture.
Understanding the Cost of Dental Implants
Some patients are hesitant to get dental implants in Mount Pleasant because they hear that they have a higher up-front cost than traditional dentures and dental bridges. While this is true, dental implants are actually the more cost-effective option because they can last for up to 35 years. That’s nearly four times the lifespan of traditional restorations! Plus, we offer easy dental financing to help make paying for the procedure as hassle-free as possible. To learn more about how much your dental implant treatment would cost, keep reading below. Then, reach out to us when you’re ready to schedule a consultation.
Preliminary Treatments & Dental Implant Surgery
At your appointment with your implant dentist in Mount Pleasant, Dr. Johnson will closely examine your oral cavity to determine whether you can schedule your dental implant surgery right away or if you must undergo preparatory procedures first. It’s not uncommon to require bone grafting, periodontal therapy, or tooth extractions if you’re currently dealing with jawbone loss, gum disease, and tooth decay, respectively. These procedures each incur their own cost, but they also set the foundation for your new smile to be able to last for decades.
The Parts of Your Dental Implant
One of the primary factors that goes into determining the cost of dental implants in Mt. Pleasant is the type of implants you receive and how many you need to secure your prosthetic. A good rule of thumb is, the more teeth you need to have replaced, the more dental implants you’ll require. Therefore, your treatment will cost more.
The implant posts and abutments can be crafted from various materials and brands. Each of these is ideal for different types of patients, and they each come at their own unique price point. The restoration – crown, bridge, or denture – that we place on top of your abutments also affects your cost. In general, a single crown will cost less than a bridge or denture that replaces multiple teeth.
Why Dental Implants Are a Smart Investment
It might seem hard to believe, but dental implants can actually save you money over time! That’s because they can last for several decades, as opposed to bridges and dentures that must be fully replaced every five to seven years. Also, you won’t have to buy specialized maintenance products or adhesives to keep your prosthetic clean and stable. Lastly, dental implants reduce your risk of gum disease and other oral health concerns that may require expensive treatment.
Does My Dental Insurance Cover Dental Implants?
Unfortunately, dental insurance typically doesn’t cover the cost of dental implants. However, our team might be able to find a way to apply your benefits to other parts of the process, such as your restoration or any necessary preliminary procedures.
Making Dental Implants Affordable
If you need extra help paying for dental implants, our team will be more than happy to provide you with more information about additional financing through CareCredit. CareCredit is a third-party financer that allows patients to make manageable monthly payments with little-to-no interest, making paying for dental implants a breeze.
Advanced Dental Implant Procedures
If you’ve learned you are not a good candidate for dental implants, there is no reason to lose hope. You can still achieve a healthier, longer-lasting smile with the help of advanced dental implant procedures. Not only will these improve the health and structure of your oral cavity, but they will prepare for the many benefits you’ll experience when you do receive your dental implants! Although you can expect the following treatments to add to your overall timeline, the results you’ll attain after your dental implant procedure in Mount Pleasant will be well worth the investment and time, especially as you enjoy a more functional and durable smile that can last a lifetime.
When your natural teeth are firmly in place, they help to stimulate blood flow; however, once they are no longer present, your jawbone can begin to deteriorate over time. As a result, inadequate bone density will not allow for effective support when considering dental implants. To remedy this problem, Dr. Johnson, who is a highly-qualified implant dentist, can perform bone grafting in Mount Pleasant. This unique procedure requires opening your gums to access the weakened areas of your jaw. Using bone grafting materials from another area of your body or a donor, Dr. Johnson will place it into the deteriorated areas where it will begin to strengthen the jaw over a period of time.
The recovery can take several months to complete; however, it is necessary to allow full and proper healing to ensure the longevity of your dental implants.
A sinus lift is performed only when a dental implant must be placed in the upper jaw. If this area of the mouth has deteriorated as a result of tooth loss, the sinus cavity can be a potential problem for implant placement simply because it is too close to where your implant must be placed. If proper treatment does not occur beforehand, the implant can poke into the cavity.
To avoid this potential problem, we can perform a sinus lift in Mount Pleasant. Similar to a bone graft, Dr. Johnson will open your gums and expose the thin membrane that holds your sinuses. Pushing this membrane up and out of the way, he will apply the grafting materials to hold it in place. It is not uncommon for this procedure to require at least 4-9 months of recovery before dental implants can be put into place.
PRP/PRF (Platelet-Rich Fibrin & Platelet-Rich Plasma)
Platelet-rich fibrin and/or Platelet-rich plasma are clinically proven solutions that are designed to help you heal faster after oral surgery. By applying these to the surgical sites, the plasma or fibrin not only reduces the potential for complications, but they also minimize the need for strong pain medications and anti-inflammatories after your surgical procedure.
Also, Dr. Johnson’s use of PRP/PRF greatly lowers your risk of infection.
If during your initial consultation Dr. Johnson discovers your jaw is not wide enough to adequately support dental implants in Mount Pleasant, a ridge expansion can be performed. During this procedure, Dr. Johnson will use specialized dental instruments to divide the ridge bone before creating a wedge between the inner and outer parts of the bone. By creating a space between these sections, he can fill it with bone grafting materials. If your situation allows, simultaneous dental implants can be achieved during your ridge expansion.
Maintaining & Caring for Your Dental Implants
Even though dental implants have an impressive success rate of more than 95%, they still require some maintenance in order to last as long as they do. Fortunately, our team is here to provide you with personalized guidelines for proper dental implant care in Mount Pleasant. That way, you can help your new pearly whites last for decades, possibly even for the rest of your life! In general, the advice we give you will look something like this:
Make Oral Hygiene a Priority
Dental implants cannot get cavities, but that doesn’t mean oral hygiene isn’t important. Food debris can still become trapped in your mouth and attract dangerous bacteria that inflame your gums, putting the foundation of your implants at risk. Not to mention, you can still develop cavities in your remaining teeth.
To keep your new smile in great shape, make sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. If you really want to go the extra mild, you could add rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash to your daily routine.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Candy, fruit juices, potato chips, and other sugary or starchy items can cause tooth decay if you consume too much of them. They’re also bad news for your dental implants in Mount Pleasant. Harmful oral bacteria feed on sugar particles that linger on your teeth. Then, they produce an acidic waste that weakens your tooth enamel (which may cause cavities) and irritates your gum tissue (which may cause gum disease).
Try swapping out unhealthy snacks for fresh fruits and vegetables, as they encourage healthy gums. Dairy products that are rich in calcium are also great since they strengthen your jawbone, helping your dental implants last.
Break Bad Habits
Whether it’s opening bottles with your teeth, biting your nails, or smoking, bad oral habits can spell disaster for your smile. Chewing on inedible objects can damage your implants as well as your natural teeth. Smoking weakens the bond between your jawbone and implants, and it increases your risk for gum disease. Feel free to ask our team for tips on how to kick these harmful habits.
Protect Your Dental Implants
If you habitually grind your teeth at night, or you play contact sports, you should protect your pearly whites with a custom mouthguard. This oral appliance fits comfortably over your teeth and provides cushioning against sports-related injuries or the constant pressure of teeth grinding that could otherwise damage your dental implants.
Schedule Regular Dental Checkups
Visiting an implant dentist in Mount Pleasant twice a year is crucial in making your dental implants last. During these appointments, we’ll take a good look at your implants, gums, and any remaining teeth to ensure there are no problems. If we do detect any issues, we can treat them early on, potentially saving you time and money in the long run.
Dental Implant Frequently Asked Questions
As one of the most complex dental services available, implants can bring up many questions. Before proceeding with any replacement option, you want to be sure that you fully understand it. We want to help you feel confident moving forward with treatment, so we’re providing answers to some common questions that our patients have asked us about dental implants. If you have other questions that we haven’t addressed here, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We can schedule a consultation with Dr. Johnson for you so that you get the information you need.
How Long After Dental Implant Surgery Can I Get My Final Restoration?
It depends. Many dental implants require time—typically several months—for the jaw bone to grow and surround the post before the permanent restoration is affixed. However, if you’re getting All-on-4 dental implants, you can have your restorations placed on the same day as the implants. Dr. Johnson can explain your options and help you pick the one that will best meet your needs.
What can Cause Dental Implants to Fail?
Most of the time, dental implants are successful. In fact, even after ten years of wear, implants are still 95 percent effective. However, rare failures do happen. If you have an oral infection when the implant is placed or if you lack sufficient jawbone density, the implant won’t properly integrate with the jawbone for a firm hold. The good news is that Dr. Johnson closely examines your oral health before the implants are placed to avoid these potential failures.
How Are Dental Implants Cared for?
Not only do dental implants look, feel, and act like natural teeth—they can be cared for just as easily as well! Remember, it’s essential to practice great oral hygiene to keep your newly rebuilt smile happy, healthy, and intact for life. Thankfully, there’s no need to buy any special cleaners, adhesives, or brushes to clean your dental implant! Just brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, floss between all your teeth daily, and rinse with mouthwash regularly!
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Thanks to their unique placement directly into your jawbone, dental implants are designed to easily last 30 years or more. However, many patients enjoy their new smile for life! You should come visit us for regular checkups and cleanings every six months. This way, we can monitor how well your dental implant is doing and catch any issues as early as possible.
Amy can answer just about any question you may have about your dental concerns.