At Periodontal Associates – The Dental Implant Team, Drs. Ken Versman, Doug Heller, Eric Beckman, , Dr. Jenna Hyer, Daniel Thousand pride themselves on preserving the health and function of natural teeth. When natural teeth cannot be saved, we look to dental implants as the ideal option for replacing lost teeth.
Even if you have lost just one tooth – whether it is a new situation or something you have lived with for years – chances are you have never become fully accustomed to losing such a vital part of yourself.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are titanium alloy anchors that act as a tooth root. Titanium is very biocompatible so the bone will grow around the implant and stabilize it. Once the implant is stable, then the implant can be used to hold a tooth (crown) or can stabilize a bridge or denture. Zirconia is also a biocompatible metal that can be used as an implant and has the advantage of being white like teeth. On the other hand, there are several limitations and risks to zirconia implants compared to titanium implants at this time.
Our Littleton / Aurora dental implant team, Drs. Heller, Beckman, Thousand, Versman, and Hyer, are uniquely qualified to provide a full range of implant dentistry procedures. To surgically install a dental implant in the correct 3-D position and to develop or ensure there is adequate bone and firm gum tissue around it requires training,knowledge, and artistic skill. All licensed dentists can place a dental implant but only very few have taken the education of a periodontists to ensure predictable and esthetic implant results. Implants have a very high “survival” rate, which means that they aren’t lost often. On the other hand, implant “success” rates can be much less because success is making sure the best esthetic result is attained. Periodontists studied 3 additional years and placed hundreds of implants under the guidance of their faculty before treating patients on their own.
Do Implants Last Forever?
Implants are by far the best option for replacing lost or failing teeth. On the other hand, they can have problems similar to natural teeth. Implants do not get cavities or tooth decay, but they can get gum disease (called peri-implantitis) and can get over-stressed. Periodontists save teeth inflicted with gum disease every day, so we are uniquely qualified to treat peri-implantitis and to prevent peri-implantitis on the implants that we place. This is why we work with some of the best implants on the market that maintain bone support and minimize peri-implantitis.
Implants can also be over-stressed by people who clench or grind their teeth. This is why we work with some of the best dentists and prosthodontists in the Denver area who can correctly install the implant crowns and can make a bite guard if necessary.
Our Littleton / Aurora dental implant team’s ultimate goal is for the implants that we place to stay with you for the rest of your lives but there are risk factors that need to be evaluated and corrected to meet this goal. Each patient needs to take ownership in their dental hygiene maintenance and risk aversions to keep their implants long-term.
Comparing Options: Dental Implants vs. Fixed Bridges vs. Partial Dentures
If you have one or two missing teeth, then you have the options of replacing the missing teeth with implants, bridges, or a partial denture. You also have the option of not replacing the tooth/teeth at all, but this may result in shifting teeth, a faulty bite, or loss of other teeth in the future.
Dental implants provide a fixed (meaning the teeth do not get removed) solution, and give the ability to chew just like they were normal teeth. They also do not get tooth decay and do not traumatize the adjacent teeth. One drawback to implants is that they require several months to get the final tooth in place because the bone needs to heal around the implant before it can be used.
Fixed bridges are faster (only hours to weeks) and less expensive in the short term. Unfortunately, bridge can be more expensive long-term because they only last 10-15 years. If you get a cavity in one of the anchoring teeth, then the whole bridge needs to be replaced. If you have implants, then only the tooth with the decay will need to be treated. The anchoring teeth are also shaved down to make the bridge. There are instances when a bridge is the best option, but implants are a superior option most of the time
Partial dentures hold on to adjacent teeth with metal clasps but can replaced several missing teeth. Thus, if someone has many missing teeth and stable anchoring teeth, then a partial denture can be a good option. The main drawbacks to partial dentures is that it can traumatize and loosen the anchoring teeth over time and it needs to be removed and cleaned after meals and while sleeping.
Once you learn about dental implants, you will finally realize that there is a way to improve your quality of life.
Did you know:
- Implant-supported replacement teeth look, feel and function like natural teeth.
- Dental implants provide comfort, convenience, and confidence. These modern miracles of tooth replacement can also be matched exactly to your own teeth, restoring your smile to its optimal state. Dental implants can be your doorway to renewed self-confidence and peace of mind.
- Our doctors team with your dentist to provide the restoration for your implants. They plan and work very closely together to create a very pleasing outcome for your tooth replacement needs.
- Our team of Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, Dr. Beckman, and Dr. Thousand are uniquely qualified to provide a full range of implant dentistry procedures. They have been performing a full range of implant dentistry for more than 27 years in the Denver/Aurora, Colorado area.
- Drs. Versman and Heller were one of the first U.S. dentists to study directly with the inventors of today’s implants. They have also educated dentists, periodontists and dental students about dental implants and implant procedures for many years, and have lectured on the subject in the Denver/Aurora, Colorado area, nationally and internationally!