Frequently Asked Questions
Am I a candidate for a dental implant?
In order to find out if you are a candidate for a dental implant, you must schedule an implant evaluation appointment with Dr. Michael. During the implant evaluation appointment, you will likely have a 3D x-ray taken of your jaw, which is a vital piece of information that determines the amount of bone you have available to place a dental implant. The 3D x-ray will also provide Dr. Michael with the location of areas to avoid, such as: nerves, sinus membranes, and concavities located within your jawbone.
A thorough examination is extremely important prior to implant placement, to ensure a successful and long-lasting implant restoration. During the evaluation, you will also be able to ask any questions you may have regarding any aspect of the implant process.
Even one missing tooth can alter the appearance of your whole smile and affect your dental health. If you have a gap in your smile, Dr. Hank Michael can provide you with the most effective dental implant restored with a crown that looks and feels incredibly natural. Most dentists and their patients consider implants to be the best way to replace missing teeth because of their many practical and aesthetic benefits.
How does the implant procedure work?
An implant is a tiny titanium post that is surgically placed in your jawbone to replace a damaged or missing dental root. Once your bone tissues have integrated with the post, it will become a permanent base for a custom-crafted dental crown. Before performing implant surgery, Dr. Michael determines the best position for your implant post. In most cases, he will use our computer-guided implant system, which takes 3-D digital x-rays to generate a model of your jaw. This allows him to design a highly precise treatment plan that can provide long-term benefits.
After your treatment planning session, you will come in for the implant procedure itself. Dr. Michael will numb your gums and jawbone, and may administer sedation as well. Then he will use your custom-created implant template to position the post in your jawbone. Once the implant has been surgically placed in the jawbone, Dr. Michael will close the incision with tiny sutures.
After your gums and bone have healed, which usually takes four to six months, Dr. Michael will attach a lifelike crown. Your restoration will be custom-designed to blend with the color and shape of your natural teeth. In some cases, Dr. Michael can attach a same-day implant for immediately restored dental function!
How long do dental implants last?
Dental implants can last for many years with proper care and maintenance. Unlike natural teeth, dental implants are not subject to decay or rot. However, factors such as diet, oral hygiene, health, and chewing behaviors may affect the lifespan and quality of your implants. The best ways to prolong the lifespan of your dental implants is to maintain regular dental visits so your dentist can monitor the surrounding gums and bone around the dental implants. Early detection of potential problems around and implant can greatly increase the lifespan of a dental implant. Wearing a night guard can also increase the lifespan of dental implants, as well as, teeth and crowns.
When does a dental implant require bone grafting?
In short -- when a tooth has been missing long enough for jawbone resorption to begin. Bone is an essential support structure for the teeth, dental implants, and even dentures. Bone loss usually occurs as a result of periodontal disease or in the event that a tooth is extracted. Other causes may involve trauma or a disease of the bone.
At Sarasota Dentistry, we do everything medically possible to preserve the bone because it does not grow back on it's own. In the event that a tooth extraction is necessary we make every attempt to bone graft the site to maximize the formation of new bone in the tooth socket. If the extraction site is not bone grafted, blood fills into the site and the body does generate bone where the tooth root was removed.
However, placing a bone graft at the time of the tooth extraction greatly increases the amount of bone formation and reduces the amount of bone loss associated with this procedure. Bone grafting provides a scaffolding for the formation of new bone it gives your body a head start by providing the non-cellular component of bone.
Bone grafting is especially important if you are planning to restore an extracted tooth with a dental implant of if it is an upper tooth with surrounded by an enlarged maxillary sinus. If a dental implant is not placed in the site where the tooth was removed, the bone will continue to shrink over time.
Where does the bone used for grafting come from?
This is a great question. The best source of bone is your own bone - referred to as an autogenous bone graft. Without invasive surgery, your bone is not readily available, and harvesting it can cause more harm than good. The next best thing is human allograft bone from another human. Bone allografts are processed in a few ways. At Sarasota Dentistry, we use demineralized freeze-dried bone allograft which has been used for over 30 years without any disease transmission.
Another source of bone is animal bone, referred to as a bone xenograft. The last source is synthetic bone graft - a man-made bone graft matrix. Unfortunately, synthetic bone grafts do nott work as well as allografts. Allografts and autografts (human bone source) actually stimulate blood cells to differentiate into bone forming cells. Xenografts (animal) are only a scaffolding, where no stimulation occurs.
To date, xenografts require more healing time and result in weaker bone formation. As technology continues to advance, so does bone grafting techniques, tools and procedures. These advances continue to enhance patient comfort and result in more predictable dentistry.
What types of dental implants are available?
There are a variety of choices when you are considering a dental implant. To meet your unique health and aesthetic requirements, Dr. Michael is proud to offer a wide range of implant types, including:
Single tooth dental implants
Multiple teeth dental implants
Zirconia dental implants
Full arch dental implants
Immediate dental implants
Implant-retained removal dentures
Short dental implants
Wide dental implants
Mini dental implants
Each type of implant has its own prerequisites and best practices. For example, if you are missing one tooth and want to restore your bite and smile, you may be an excellent candidate for a single tooth implant.
Are Dental Implants Covered by Dental Insurance?
In most cases these days, dental insurance does offer some benefits for a dental implant. It is highly dependent on the insurance carrier and the plan chosen. Other factors to consider if counting on dental insurance is 1) max benefit for the year (usually between 1-2 thousand dollars), wait period required if it's a new dental plan, and 3) the cost of the crown and abutment in addition to the cost of the dental implant.
What are the pros and cons of mini dental implants?
Mini dental implants are typically used to restore teeth when the width of the jawbone is narrow. The pros of mini dental implants are being able to place implants in narrow ridges without the need for additional bone grafting. The cons are strength, limited options for a final restoration, more maintenance and susceptibility to bone loss. Mini implants are best used to help stabilize existing dentures in patients with a narrow ridge. Permanent bridges are not a treatment indication for mini dental implants.atient that is small teeth and teeth in narrow areas of the mouth. The staff at Sarasota Dentistry can discuss the pros and cons of mini dental implants at your next appointment and determine whether you are an ideal candidate for this procedure.
What are short and wide dental implants?
Dental implants typically come in different sizes, heights, and types to accommodate patients with varying dental needs. Short dental implants are usually defined as implants with a length of 10 mm or less. Wide dental implants are usually defined as implants with a diameter of at least 5 mm. Short and wide dental implants are very useful with immediate dental implant therapy or in cases where you need to avoid a nerve or sinus. If you need dental implants, the staff at Sarasota Dentistry can perform an evaluation and recommend the best implant size and height for you.