Implants Change More Than Just a Smile
With implant dentistry, patients often gain confidence and have little down time
Richard K. Whalen, DDS, of Dental Design Studio in Poughkeepsie uses dental implants to give patients a healthier smile. The implants often provide the best option for function and esthetics.
Photo credit: Fotolia/Alexandr Mitiuc
What is implant dentistry and who are candidates for it?
Implant dentistry allows for anything from single tooth replacement to full mouth tooth replacement. Essentially we are replacing a natural tooth with a titanium "root," then a tooth on top of that.
Almost anyone can be a candidate for implants regardless of age. Certain health conditions may be limiting factors, but a simple assessment can help us determine that.
How do implants and dentures differ?
Implants allow for "fixed" tooth replacement, rather than something removable. They also help stimulate the bone, thus preventing continued bone loss, which happens with dentures. However, implants can also be used in conjunction with dentures to help them "snap" into place, giving them much more stability.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Implants are generally considered superior to bridges and dentures because they can provide tooth replacement without affecting other natural teeth. With a fixed bridge, you have to remove tooth structure of the adjacent teeth to allow the bridge to fit over the top of them. With a partial denture, the clasps that help hold it in place can torque the teeth they are in contact with, thus compromising them. With a complete denture, there is no stimulation of the bone, so it continuously "shrinks."
Photo credit: fotolia/Studio Romantic
How long of a process do dental implants require?
The first step would be to review the patient’s medical history to be sure there are no limiting conditions. Secondly, a dental CT scan is needed for a more precise evaluation of the bone, the position of sinuses, location of nerves, etc.
The procedure for a single tooth implant generally takes about an hour, which includes local anesthesia, the surgical process itself, and the finishing of the procedure which may or may not include sutures. Generally, we like to allow the implant to integrate with the bone for approximately three months before putting a tooth on it.
What is your specific expertise with dental implants?
I trained at the prestigious Misch Institute, as well as live patient treatment at Temple University. Since that time, I have successfully placed hundreds of dental implants.
Most patients are very pleasantly surprised by the easy post-operative healing. Our specific protocol to manage any potential discomfort has been incredibly successful.
At Dental Design Studio, Dr. Richard K. Whalen and his team customize every patient’s treatment plan to eliminate inflammation and keep your smile as well as your overall well-being in optimal shape. There is no cookie-cutter approach, but a plan that may include the use of a laser, localized delivery of antibiotics, special toothpaste, and more.