Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.
What are dental implants?
The dental implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts that protrude through the gums are then attached to the implant. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
The Massa Dental Center is fortunate to have Dr. Stacey Vlachos care for our implant patients. Dr. Stacey D. Vlachos is guided by a dedication to his field and a commitment to extensive training. A graduate of Michigan State University and University of Michigan Dental School, Dr. Vlachos had the pleasure of studying and practicing with Dr. Carl Misch, the world’s foremost implantologist. As a result of that great experience, and his own hard work, Dr. Vlachos is himself among the leading implantologists in the country.
Not only is he board certified by the American Board of Oral Implantology/Implant dentistry, he has more than 25 years of experience in implant placement. He was a staff member at the Misch International Implant Institute for over 20 years. The expertise of Dr. Vlachos working with the reconstructive skills of Dr. Massa make The Massa Dental Center the top office for implant treatment in our area. With all of this combined, you can know that Dr. Vlachos will give you the essential, and incomparable, care you need and deserve.
Remarkable Esthetic Dentistry and Smile Design
How Do Dental Implants Work?
As described briefly above, dental implants consist of the titanium implant that is placed into the hole in the jawbone formerly occupied by the natural tooth root. Because the titanium implant base is placed into the jawbone and the jawbone grows around the implant, making it a part of the jaw, the entire implant with the restored artificial tooth functions just like a natural tooth. You can eat whatever you want. You care for it just like a natural tooth. And the implant can last for decades, probably the remainder of the patient’s life.
How Are Dental Implants Placed?
Dr. Vlachos handles all of our dental implant procedures. The process takes time but is worth your patience because the end result is far and away the best replacement for a missing tooth or a few teeth. Here’s how Dr. Vlachos places implants.
- Consultation: The implant process begins with a consultation with Dr. Vlachos, who performs a full oral exam and takes x-rays and a cone beam CAT(computerized axial tomography) scan to determine your jawbone mass. This 3D imaging allows Dr. Vlachos to ascertain if your jawbone has enough mass to handle the implant, and to precisely plan placement.
- Placement of the implant: Next the titanium implant is placed into the bone formerly occupied by the tooth root. Dr. Vlachos may have to drill a small hole into the jawbone to prepare it. The implant is shaped like a screw and is inserted in that fashion.
- Osseointegration: Now you simply wait three to six months as the jawbone naturally grows around and accepts the titanium implant.
- Abutment: When the jawbone has fully grown around the implant, a small metal post, called an abutment, is attached to the implant or a screw retained crown is treatment planned for certain reasons the doctor and patient would decide.
- Placing the crown: The final step is to place a custom-made porcelain crown onto the abutment. The crown is made to match the color and shape of your surrounding teeth so, once placed, it fits in naturally.
What Is the Recovery Like For Dental Implants?
There isn’t a recovery at the end when the artificial tooth is attached. At that point, you can go out and use your sparkling new tooth immediately. There are two recovery periods of a sort during the process. After the implant is placed, you’ll need to be on a soft diet for a couple weeks as your gums heal. Then you wait for the jawbone to grow around the implant, but this phase is not really “recovery.” Once the post is attached to the implant base, your gums need to heal for a few weeks a second time before the artificial tooth is finalized.
Are They Permanent?
Dental implants are the longest lasting dental prosthetic. After the jawbone accepts and grows around the titanium implant, it is there for the duration. The crown/artificial tooth that is attached to the implant should also last for decades. If something happens to the artificial tooth, it is easy to replace. Bottom line? A dental implant will probably last for the remainder of the patient’s life.
Are Dental Implants Worth the Wait and the Cost?
At Massa Dental Center, we believe dental implants are far and away the best option for tooth replacement or for anchoring dentures. Here are some of the reasons we feel this way:
- Dental implants behave exactly like a natural tooth, so the patient can eat any foods and chew normally.
- Unlike bridges, where adjacent “abutment teeth” need to be crowned to anchor the bridge holding the false tooth or teeth, implants stand alone.
- Implants keep adjacent teeth from moving.
- Implants are load-bearing teeth, so you don’t have to avoid chewing or biting with them. Plus, they transfer energy down into the jawbone just as natural teeth do.
- Implants have a 90 to 95% success rate.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Implants?
This varies widely — some insurance plans cover implants entirely, with the thinking that this is a one-time permanent procedure; other plans don’t cover them; and other plans cover a portion of the cost. Pre-treatment estimates can be submitted to your insurance company to help us determine available benefits.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
Cost is variable depending on the condition of your jawbone, gums, and other issues. During your consultation with Dr. Vlachos we can give you a good idea of what your implant will cost, but we need to see your situation first.
What is Dr. Vlachos’s background with dental implants?
Dr. Vlachos became a diplomate in 1992 of the American Board of Oral Implantology, and a Diplomate in 1994 of the International Congress of Implantology. He also became a Diplomate of the American Society of Osteointegration, and American College of Oral Implantology. Dr. Vlachos’ 35-year commitment to the field of implant dentistry and I.V. sedation are the key to his successful treatments today.
Dr. Vlachos has earned a national reputation for his clinical excellence and technical expertise. He has helped develop the field by participating in ground-breaking procedures which has resulted in implantology becoming the fastest growing field in dentistry.