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Dental Implants – Flint, MI

Replacement Teeth That Look
& Feel Completely Natural

Over the last 50 years, dental implants have become a popular choice among patients who are looking to replace missing teeth. Boasting an impressive 98 percent success rate, this procedure is able to take an incomplete smile and restore it in its entirety, including all of the missing structures that lie below the gum line. To learn more about how we can improve your quality of life with modern dental implants in Flint, MI, schedule a consultation with Dr. Rodriguez today!

Why Choose Healthy Smiles Dental Care for Dental Implants?

Animated smile with dental implant supported dental crown

What is a Dental Implant?

Animated smile with dental implant supported dental crown

A dental implant is a titanium post that can be surgically placed below your gum line to restore the missing root structure of a tooth. Due to its biocompatible nature, it’s able to chemically fuse with the jawbone, providing it with necessary stimulation and blood flow to prevent it from deteriorating. Once placed, these implants secure a crown, bridge, or denture to complete a smile. They’re able to function and look exactly like natural teeth, making them one of the top tooth replacement choices.

4 Step Dental Implant Process

Man sitting back giving thumbs up after getting dental implants in Flint, MI

Our practice offers start to finish dental implant care. That means every step – from the first consultation to the surgery to the placement of the final restoration – happens right here at our office; there’s no need to send you to a separate specialist. Of course, the implant process isn’t completed in just one day. It can take several months or even over a year to start fully enjoying the benefits of dental prosthetics with new tooth roots. The following will help give you an idea of how dental implants work in Flint and what will happen during the process.

Initial Dental Implant Consultation

Dentist pointing to model during consultation for dental implants in Flint, MI

Step one is to answer the question of whether or not dental implants are right for you. You can schedule a consultation with your implant dentist in Flint so that they can examine your mouth and facial structure with the latest technology. They’ll check for bone loss, gum disease, and other complications that might interfere with implant placement. Such issues won’t necessarily prevent you from going through with the treatment; there are various preliminary treatments, such as bone grafting and gum disease therapy, that can address these problems before the surgery. 

Dental Implant Surgery

Dentists performing dental implant surgery on male patient

Implant placement is a minor surgical procedure. A local anesthetic is used to numb your mouth, and small incisions are made in the gums so that we can work with the jawbone. The implant posts will be inserted into the bone at preplanned locations with carefully chosen angles. After the gums have been sutured shut, a protective cap is attached to the implant posts. This helps maintain the overall shape of the gums and keeps the implants safe while the rest of your mouth is still recovering. 

Dental Implant Osseointegration & Abutment

Model of dental implant in Flint, MI next to natural teeth

Osseointegration is when the dental implant joins with the jawbone. It usually takes around 3 to 6 months, so you’ll need to take good care of your implant in the meantime to make sure there aren’t any problems before the post is done joining with the jaw. The next step after osseointegration is to attach an abutment, which is the connector piece on each implant that will eventually hold the final restoration in place. This is done via a second smaller surgery. We can move on to the final step once the abutment is in place and the mouth is fully healed.

Delivery of Dental Implant Restoration(s)

Two dental implants in Flint, MI supporting a dental bridge

A dental implant restoration might be a crown, a bridge, or a denture based on how many teeth are being replaced. A trusted dental lab will create the final restoration based on impressions that we send them. The end result will be virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth; it will even have the same light-reflective properties as your enamel. We may need to make a few last-minute adjustments before we place the final restoration or restorations just make sure it’s as perfect a fit as possible.

Benefits of Dental Implants

Smiling couple with dental implants in Flint standing outside

If you’re interested in replacement teeth that look and feel completely natural, look no further than dental implants. With over 500,000 dental implants placed every year, this unique treatment is quickly becoming the most popular way to recreate lost teeth, and it’s easy to see why. This state-of-the-art tooth loss solution has the potential to dramatically improve your quality of life, which is why most dentists consider it to be the gold standard of tooth replacement. We’ll be happy to go over all the ways dental implants can change your life during your consultation, but in the meantime, read on to learn more about some of the best benefits of dental implants in Flint that you just can’t get with other options!

Day-to-Day Benefits

couple cooking in their kitchen
  • Natural bite – Thanks to their firm foundation in the jawbone, dental implants offer unmatched chewing power compared to other tooth replacement options. Dental implants can easily restore 80% or more of your natural biting force, allowing you to eat apples, steak, nuts, and practically anything else on your plate comfortably. In fact, most patients can’t tell the difference between their natural pearly whites and their implant-supported teeth!
  • Confident smile – The implant posts are embedded in your jaw in the exact same way as the roots of your home-grown teeth, so they’ll feel like a natural part of your grin. In addition, the prosthetic teeth that we secure onto your implants are customized to resemble your pearly whites so that you’ll look as though you’d never lost any teeth in the first place!
  • Easy oral care routine – While dentures and bridges often require time-consuming maintenance routines, the same isn’t true for dental implants. For the most part, your daily cleaning routine should be the same as with natural teeth: brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash.

Health Benefits

man brushing his teeth
  • Preserve remaining teeth – Placing a dental bridge requires the modification of two of your natural teeth. Because dental implants are fully self-supporting, we won’t need to sacrifice any of your healthy tooth structure in order to give you a complete smile.
  • Prevent jawbone loss – The roots of your natural teeth stimulate the jawbone, so when one goes missing, the area of the bone that it used to support begins to deteriorate. Jawbone loss leaves the remaining teeth lacking support, increasing the risk that they’ll be lost as well. Dental implants are the only option that replaces the roots of a missing tooth and continues to provide the stimulation that jawbone needs to stay strong and healthy.
  • Keep gum disease at bay – One additional consequence of dental implants being so easy to maintain is that they lead to a reduced risk of gum disease. This bacterial infection in the gums is not only the most common cause of tooth loss, but it has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other overall health issues. By minimizing your risk of gum infections, dental implants naturally promote better general wellness.

Long-Term Benefits

senior man admiring his new smile in a mirror
  • Results that can last a lifetime – Traditional dentures and bridges may replace your missing teeth quickly, but you’ll need to replace these prosthetics entirely every ten years or so. On the other hand, dental implants integrate safely and reliably with the bone and gum tissue in your mouth, giving them the potential to stay in place for decades or even a lifetime with the proper care.
  • Saved money in the long run – Replacing a conventional bridge or denture every few years may end up costing you more in the grand scheme of things than making a one-time payment for dental implants.
  • Youthful glow – When the jawbone loses support from the tooth roots, the facial muscles in turn lose support from the jawbone. That’s why people who wear traditional dentures may appear older than they really are; tooth loss has caused premature wrinkling and drooping in their face. As the only tooth replacement to stimulate the jawbone, dental implants prevent this, preserving your youthful appearance for many years to come.

Who Dental Implants Can Help

senior woman smiling brightly

Are you missing one tooth? Several teeth? What about all of your teeth? No matter how many pearly whites you’ve lost, dental implants can help you enjoy a healthy, complete smile again. When you meet with Dr. Rodriguez for a tooth replacement consultation, he’ll inspect and take X-rays of your teeth, gums, and jaw to determine whether this life-changing treatment is right for you. Thanks to modern technological advancements in the field of dentistry, more people qualify for dental implants than ever before!

Who Is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

dental implant dentist in Flint showing patient their X-rays

Practically any healthy adult who wants to get dental implants can do so; this solution is versatile enough to address any degree of tooth loss. With that being said, the ideal dental implant candidate will have three key qualities:

  • Being healthy enough to undergo and recover from oral surgery
  • A mouth that is free of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues that could compromise the success of dental implants
  • A healthy jawbone with enough density for the implants to form a strong attachment

Don’t be dismayed if your dental implant dentist in Flint tells you that you don’t meet these criteria initially. In fact, many of our patients need to complete preliminary procedures, such as bone grafting, gum disease therapy, or tooth extractions, before we can give them the green light for dental implant surgery.

Once you’ve become an eligible candidate for dental implants, our team can plan out your treatment based on the number of teeth you need to replace.

Missing One Tooth

single dental implant with crown in upper arch

If you have a single gap in your grin, we can vertically position one dental implant post below the gumline to replace the lost tooth’s root. On top of the implant, we’ll place a small metal connector piece, known as an abutment, that will hold a dental crown in place. This crown will be custom-made to mimic the teeth on either side of it, so it won’t be distinguishable from any other part of your smile. Better yet, this solution is much healthier than replacing a single missing tooth with a dental bridge. Bridges rest on two of your natural teeth, which can leave them weaker and more cavity-prone over time. Since a dental implant is completely self-supporting, we won’t need to alter your surrounding healthy teeth in any way.

Missing Multiple Teeth

dental bridge over two dental implants

For several missing teeth in a row, we can anchor a lifelike dental bridge onto two dental implants, each of which is surgically inserted into your jawbone on either end of the gap in your smile. This way, we won’t need to replace every missing tooth with its own implant. An implant bridge is sturdier and longer-lasting than a traditional version, and it won’t require modifying any of your existing teeth.

We can replace several nonconsecutive missing teeth by securing a partial denture onto a small number of strategically placed implants. Like an implant bridge, an implant partial denture is more reliable than its conventional counterpart, and none of your remaining natural tooth structure will need to be sacrificed.

Missing All Teeth

full implant denture on lower arch

Even full-arch tooth loss can be remedied with dental implants in Flint. Whether you’ve recently lost an entire row of teeth or you’re tired of dealing with a frustrating traditional denture, an implant denture will look and feel as if you’ve gotten your natural smile back. We can position a certain number of implants (usually between four and eight) at precise angles and locations along the jaw, which provide ample support for a personalized denture that always stays in place. With implant dentures, you’ll never need to worry about your teeth slipping or limiting your diet.

Understanding the Cost of Dental Implants

Implant dentist in Flint speaking with an older patient

The dental implant process is customized to meet each unique patient’s needs, which is why there’s no singular price that we quote our patients. When you visit our dental office for a consultation, we’ll be able to determine the cost of treatment once we figure out how many implants you need to have placed, what type of restoration you require, and other important factors. Our team will be more than happy to help answer any financial questions you have while you’re here!

Preliminary Treatments & Dental Implant Surgery

Dentist examining dental X-ray for dental implants in Flint
  • Certain patients may need preparatory treatments ahead of time before dental implants can be possible. The most common services performed in these instances include gum disease therapy to manage periodontal disease, decay removal, bone grafting, and tooth extractions. Needing these services first will increase your overall costs.
  • Your surgery can be more or less expensive depending on how many teeth you are replacing. The more severe your tooth loss, the more time and labor will be needed during surgery.
  • We keep our entire dental implant placement process in-house, which means you can expect your fees to be kept in-house as well, rather than have to receive them from an offsite specialist.

The Parts of Your Dental Implant

Diagram showing components of a dental implant in Flint

The more implants you need, the higher you’ll pay to rebuild your smile. Dental implants are made from titanium in most cases, a material that doesn’t come cheap due to its longevity, durability, and ability to fuse with bone tissue. However, the cost of each implant will vary based on the make and you manufacturer as well. We’re happy to discuss the implants we use in more detail if you’d like to learn more.

Final Dental Implant Restoration

Diagram showing dental implant restored with dental crown

More complex restorations require more materials and craftsmanship to make. As a result, a single implant crown won’t take nearly as much effort to fabricate compared to a dental bridge or denture designed to attach to dental implants. Our office always ensures your final implant restoration meets your needs exactly as well as looks as natural as possible after it’s attached. This is thanks to the ceramic materials color-matched to your neighboring teeth.

Does My Dental Insurance Cover Dental Implants?

Dentist explaining cost of dental implants in Flint to patient

In most cases, you won’t get coverage for dental implants from a dental insurance plan. However, there are some potential exceptions depending on the plan you have and the service you need. For example, restorations that attach to dental implants and preparatory treatments that make implant placement possible are more likely to be covered, at least to a certain percentage. This will need to be confirmed by your dental insurance provider directly, a process our office is happy to help facilitate.

Making Dental Implants Affordable

Patient using mirror to view smile with dentist in Flint

There are other options outside of dental insurance worth considering if you want dental implants. Consider a few of them below:

  • Dental Financing – Using programs like CareCredit, you can pay for dental treatments in monthly installments with little to no interest attached to these payments.
  • In-House Dental Savings Plan – Enrolling into our in-house savings option guarantees you certain treatments at fixed prices and provides discounts on other services we offer. This can make it easier to allocate funds towards tooth replacement.
  • Special Offers – Healthy Smiles Dental Care provides a special offer on dental implants that can help you save on your tooth replacement.

Dental Implant FAQ’s

Lightbulbs around notepad with words Frequently Asked Questions

 

Do you want to know more about dental implants before scheduling an initial consultation? Below are answers to some of the most common questions we hear from patients about implant treatment. We hope you find these dental implant FAQ’s helpful as you consider the best way to restore your smile. If you have any further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact our office.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

One of biggest benefits of dental implants is their long-lasting nature. With proper care, you can expect your implants to last for several decades or even the rest of your life! This is significantly longer than traditional bridges and dentures, which typically must be replaced every 10 years or so.

Ultimately, the lifespan of your dental implants will depend in part on your oral health and lifestyle. To ensure your implants remain a part of your smile for as long as possible, be sure to:

  • Brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash daily
  • Attend dental checkups and cleanings twice a year
  • Avoid chewing on anything too hard or sticky
  • Avoid opening packaging with your teeth

Does Getting Dental Implants Hurt?

Even though getting dental implants involves oral surgery, the process will not cause you any serious pain. In fact, your mouth will be numbed with local anesthetic before the procedure even begins. In addition, you will most likely be sedated, which lowers the body’s ability to feel pain. Between local anesthesia and dental sedation, you can rest assured that the implant placement will be a smooth and pain-free experience.

After your implants have been placed, your mouth may feel sore for a few days. Taking prescribed or over-the-counter pain medication as directed by Dr. Rodriguez will help manage any lingering discomfort. Holding a cold compress to your cheeks can also help. If your discomfort worsens instead of improves after two or three days, be sure to give our office a call right away.

What Can Cause Dental Implants to Fail?

While dental implant failure is uncommon, it can sometimes occur. Two primary reasons for implant failure are:

  • Peri-implantitis: A form of gum disease that develops from poor oral hygiene and can damage the bone and gums supporting an implant.
  • Failed osseointegration: Sometimes an implant fails to fuse with the jawbone, particularly if the patient has low jawbone density.

Other causes of dental implant failure may include poor oral hygiene, chronic teeth grinding, tobacco use, certain medications, and certain health conditions that slow down or prevent the body from healing.

It’s important to remember that, overall, dental implants have an extremely high success rate. Your dentist will provide tips to minimize your risk of implant failure.

Can I Get Dental Implants If I Smoke?

While it’s possible, studies show that smokers have a higher rate of dental implant failure. Smoking tobacco causes dry mouth and slows down healing, which can interfere with implant osseointegration. Smoking can also cause dry socket, a painful complication that is often avoidable. For these reasons, many dentists recommend that patients quit smoking at least two weeks before implant surgery. Smokers should also refrain from picking back up the habit for at least two or three months afterward. Of course, getting dental implants is a great opportunity to quit smoking for good!

Maintaining & Caring For Your Dental Implants

Man with glasses smiling in collared shirt

Dental implants can last for the rest of your life, however this is only possible with proper care. The lifespan of your dental implants will directly depend on how well you care for them. That’s why we’ve included some easy yet effective steps for dental implant care in Flint. Read on to get the information you need to safeguard your newly restored smile.

Make Oral Hygiene a Priority

Man brushing his teeth

One of the easiest ways you can maintain your dental implants is to practice a good at-home oral healthcare routine. This includes brushing twice a day for two minutes each session. Pay close attention to your gumline, angling your brush at 45-degrees to remove pesky plaque and lingering food debris. Additionally, floss once a day to clean between your teeth/implants. You can also add a nonalcoholic mouthwash to your at-home regimen in order to clean the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Older man in sweater biting into an apple

Because of dental implants, you can eat virtually anything you want – feel free to enjoy a delicious and nutritious diet! However, overindulging in extra sticky, hard, or sugary foods can cause infection and decay that may lead to implant failure if you’re not careful. Instead, try to eat foods with calcium and vitamin C because these ingredients keep your gums and jawbone healthy and strong. Additionally, fruits and veggies act as natural toothbrushes, scrubbing away plaque while also stimulating saliva flow that cleans your teeth.

Break Bad Habits

Woman in orange shirt smiling outside

Dental implants are made to be durable and lasting, however they can still break or fail due to bad habits and lifestyle choices. Stop smoking and using tobacco products because this habit slows down healing and promotes infection. Additionally, avoid using your teeth for anything other than chewing, speaking, and smiling. Using your teeth to open packages or bottles is a quick way to damage your grin, which can lead to implant failure and/or replacement. If you feel the need to always chew on something, pick a sugarless gum instead of pens, ice cubes, or other common objects to protect your implants.

Protect Your Dental Implants

Blue and clear mouthguards with dark background

If you play sports or participate in physical activity, you must safeguard your smile from injury! We offer custom-made mouthguards that protect dental implants from damage while reducing concussion on the jawbone if you experience a blow to the face. Our mouthguards are design to last longer and fit more comfortably than store-bought products. Additionally, if you suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding), we recommend wearing a nightguard to protect your restorations from unnecessary wear and tear. The pressure from teeth grinding can cause your dental implants to fail over time.

Schedule Regular Dental Checkups

Dental chair in dental office

Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to visit your implant dentist in Flint for regular checkups and cleanings. These appointments give us a chance to catch any issues early, saving you from potentially serious dental problems and the cost associated with them. The checkup portion of the visit also gives our hygienist a chance to remove tough tartar and plaque that can cause infection. Plus, you can ask us any questions about your dental implants or at-home care during this time.

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