Over 40 Years Restoring Healthy Smiles
With Dentistry That’s Built to Last
Located in St. Louis, Mo.
Diplomate, Board Certified Oral Implantologist.
Implant Surgery. Implant Prosthodontics. Implant Periodontics.
Cosmetic, Restorative, Orthopedic and Dental Implant Dentistry
“All-Inclusive Dental Implants.” If you have one or more missing teeth and are considering dental implants, Artistic Dentistry simplifies the process. Our “All-Inclusive” Dental Implants means all dental implant related procedures are done right here in our St Louis office. From single tooth replacement to complex cases involving multiple teeth to be replaced, our patients have expressed the joy and satisfaction that comes with the freedom to smile and chew with teeth that feel like their own. Come transform your life by replacing your missing teeth with dental implants that look and feel natural.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an artificial root surgically placed into the jawbone beneath your gumline. Once in place, a crown is positioned on top. This system replaces a lost tooth. The result is a tooth or teeth that feel, fit and function like your own.
A dental implant typically has three parts:
- The implant: A screw that’s permanently attached to your jawbone and
serves as a root for your new tooth.
- The abutment: A connector that supports and holds the crown.
- The crown: This is custom made to match the color and shape of your
Dental implants can replace one or multiple teeth or a full upper and/or lower set of teeth.
Why Are Dental Implants the Best Option for Missing Teeth?
Consider that when multiple lost teeth are lost and not replaced, the underlying jawbone no longer has a purpose and begins to shrink (called “resorption”). Thus follows a progression of events that eventually affect your dental health and appearance. Dental implants prevent or halt this process. Without a dental implant(s):
- Underlying bone begins to shrink;
- Within 1-2 years, the bone width in the site of missing teeth will decrease by 40%;
- Adjacent teeth drift into the space where the tooth once was. Typically these teeth will tilt, affecting the chewing function;
- The burden of chewing is assumed by other teeth, causing premature wear;
- With several missing teeth, the mouth area takes on a collapsed appearance, narrowing the distance between the chin and nose, creating sagging and a more aged look.
Back Teeth. Some patients believe that a missing tooth in the back of the mouth and is not important to replace with a dental implant. Back teeth bear the brunt of the force of chewing. This places the burden of chewing on adjacent teeth and causes them to wear prematurely.
Benefits of Dental Implants
- A dental implant system replaces a missing tooth so that it feels and functions like a natural tooth.
- Dental implants are the most cost-effective tooth replacement option over the long-term. Dental bridges can last for about 10 years and will then need to be replaced. Dental implants can last a lifetime when placed correctly. A board-certified dental implant dentist has the training in Oral Implantology to achieve a high success rate.
- Dental implants eliminate the worry that comes with temporary tooth replacement options. Your smile will look natural and there’s no worry about teeth loosening or falling out.
- Dental implants prevent the cascade of effects set in motion when teeth are lost. While the bone that supports teeth begins to shrink after the loss of teeth, adjacent teeth can also begin to shift into the gap left by missing teeth. As bone shrinks and chewing places an extra burden on remaining teeth and causes them to lose height, the distance between the chin and nose shortens. Skin around the mouth eventually wrinkles and sags. Since a dental implant is the only tooth replacement option that acts like a natural tooth, it halts this process of premature aging caused by missing teeth.
- Dental implants don’t interfere with your natural ability to speak. It can become a struggle to pronounce words as you acclimate to removable dentures. Since dental implants function like natural teeth your speech pattern isn’t compromised.
- Dental implants allow you to eat without effort. Chewing is the primary role of dentistry and dental implants don’t interfere with this activity like other tooth replacement options that can create embarrassment or difficulty.
- Dental implants don’t affect your ability to enjoy the taste of your food. With a denture, the acrylic plate that rests in the roof of the mouth can affect taste.
- Dental implant systems help other teeth maintain their position. Dental implants fuse with your jawbone, keeping it strong. The implant crown maintains the space left by the lost tooth so adjacent teeth won’t drift.
- Dental implants don’t involve reducing healthy teeth like a bridge does. The teeth adjacent to the gap where teeth (or a tooth) is lost must act as anchors for a bridge. Dental implants don’t require this, as they’re placed in the jawbone where the root of a missing tooth once was.
- Dental implants are more reliable than other repair and restoration methods. Dental implants provide a more stable, predictable outcome than other tooth replacement options.
You may hear of different types of dental implants and we find the majority of people are confused about the subject – understandably. The most common questions pertain to the difference betweeen:
- immediate/same-day implants vs traditional implants
- implant bridges
- mini-implants, and
- all-on-fours” aka/implant-retained dentures/aka overdenture.
Yikes! No wonder there’s confusion!
Immediate or Same Day Implants. This is when a dental implant is placed immediately after Artistic Dentistry extracts the tooth. It’s embarrassing to to show a missing tooth near the front when you smile. And when it comes to chewing, losing a back tooth is like the Cardinals losing a star player in the playoffs – an extra burden is placed on the remaining teeth. Often the person develops a habit of favoring the opposite side of the mouth when chewing, causing the teeth on the favored side to prematurely wear down.
A dental implant placed at the time of extraction (or tooth loss) is ideal. Once the tooth is lost or extracted, the underlying bone begins the process of “resorpbtion” – meaning the bone shrinks. An implant can be placed at a later time, but typically requires a procedure called a “bone graft” which restores lost bone levels so the implant will have a solid foundation in which to be placed. The bone graft will take several months to heal.
If you’ve recently lost a tooth or need to get a tooth extracted, you may be eligible for immediate implant placement. This can be finished with a temporary crown in the same visit. This is not ideal for everyone, and each patient is evaluated for suitability factors, such as the level of existing bone and health history. That’s exactly what Kevin did when he injured his right front tooth:
Traditional Implants. “Traditional” in this use refers to implant(s) placed after the time of tooth loss. Although more people are getting implants at the time of loss, placing them after loss is still more common. Since bone loss has often begun, successful placement will involve multiple visits. The implant, usually made of medical-grade titanium, is surgically placed into the bone. It will then be given anywhere from three to six months to integrate with the jawbone (called “osseointegration”). When completely healed, an abutment – which attaches to the implant and protrudes above the gum line – can be placed. The crown that’s matched to your natural teeth is secured to the abutment.
Susan has been a patient at Artistic Dentistry for forty years. She recently replaced a bridge we did for her 35 years ago with dental implants. You can read her story on our Before/After Gallery, which includes images from many other patients with dental implant.
Implant Bridge. These are used in favor of a traditional bridge to replace multiple missing teeth in an area of the mouth. Here’s more from Perio.org:
“..implant-supported bridges replace teeth without support from adjacent natural teeth. Other common treatments for the loss of several teeth, such as fixed bridges or removable partial dentures, are dependent on support from adjacent teeth.”
“In addition, because implant-supported bridges will replace some of your tooth roots, your bone is better preserved. With a fixed bridge or removable partial denture, the bone that previously surrounded the tooth root may begin to resorb (deteriorate). Dental implants integrate with your jawbone, helping to keep the bone healthy and intact.”
Mini-implants. This type of implant is smaller than a regular implant and was designed for use by patients with compromised conditions. Consider that an implant will be subjected to the powerful force of chewing – the muscles of mastication are among the strongest in the human body. While mini implants serve a purpose, they lack the studies showing predictability of results over the long term as compared with traditional implants. As with any type of dental implant, the success is more due to the practitioner’s skill, experience and training.
All-On-Fours. “All-On-Fours” has become the familiar term for a technique of affixing a prosthetic set of teeth to dental implants in an arch. Like the word “xerox” was commonly used to mean “copy” this term describes what is also called “implant retained dentures” or “overdentures.” This refers to a system of four implants and abutments (which sit atop the implants) placed into the arch, after which a temporary aesthetic applicance resembling dentures is securely screwed into the implant abutments. Months later, after healing, the final prosthetic set of teeth is securely affixed to the implants. Six implants are often used in this procedure.
Artistic Dentistry is experienced in all dental procedures and utilizes state-of- the-art technology in a serene setting.