Dental Implants in Billings, MT

Dental Implants in Billings, MT

Perhaps you feel self-conscious and hide your smile due to missing teeth, or maybe your dentures don't feel secure and you have trouble chewing. If you are missing one or more teeth and want a more permanent and natural-looking tooth replacement solution than dentures or bridges, then dental implants may be the right choice for you. Dental implants provide a foundation so that your restoration will look, feel, and function like natural teeth. Regain the ability to eat virtually anything, smile with confidence, and take comfort that your dental restorations will appear natural. Implants are small titanium posts placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation on which your restoration is placed. In addition, implants restore underlying structures that make the face full and youthful, and they prevent bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.

Dental implants are changing the way people live! With implants, people are rediscovering the comfort and confidence to eat, speak, laugh, and enjoy life.

If, like many patients, you feel implant dentistry is the right choice for you, we ask that you undergo a dental/radiographic examination and health history assessment. During these consultation visits, Dr. Fuller will talk with you to answer questions and explain the procedure. Your questions and concerns are important to us, and our team will work with you very closely to help make your procedure a success.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are biocompatible metal anchors surgically positioned in the jaw bone underneath the gums to support an artificial crown where natural teeth are missing. They are in no way cemented or connected to remaining teeth like traditional crowns or bridges. Implants are usually made from a metal called titanium, which is readily accepted by the body. Next, the crown is laboratory-fabricated similar to natural tooth supported crowns. Accepted by the American Dental Association, dental implants have been used for many years and hundreds of thousands of them have been placed. How does it work? There is a phenomenon called osseointegration, meaning that titanium is so compatible that bone actually attaches itself to the implant. The advantages include increased stability of dentures while also reducing long-term bone resorption, the ability to restore a missing tooth without altering the teeth on either side of the space.

Who needs Dental Implants?

Anyone who is missing teeth and can benefit from a better chewing efficiency, and improved appearance or speech, is a candidate for implants. Implants can be the solution when it has become difficult or impossible to wear a removable partial or complete denture.

Eligible candidates meet the following criteria:

Has enough jaw bone, and dense enough bone, to secure the implants

You do not have a disease or condition that interferes with proper healing post implant surgery (i.e. uncontrolled diabetes, radiation/chemotherapy for treating cancer, or smoking depending on your surgeon's position on this matter).

What steps must I take in obtaining dental implants?

First, an examination and medical history review is conducted with us. Your exam may include several types of x-rays to provide essential information about the jaw bones and it's anatomy, models of your jaws. If your situation is complex, we may even recommend a cone beam (CT) scan, which takes a three dimensional image of your jaws and provides us with the most accurate information about your case. This additional information enables us to create a comprehensive and precise treatment plan to best suit your needs. If we determine that you are a candidate, we will align you with our implant surgeon and work together as a team. Based on the results of each of our examinations, the team will discuss all aspects of your case with you.

What to expect during surgery?

Stage I Surgery: Most likely done in a dental office setting, the first procedure involves placing the implant fixtures in the jaw bone under local anesthesia and if desired, a mild sedative or in some cases IV sedation will be used (this is where your desires weigh heavily). The integration to bone will take place as soon as healing progresses, and the implant fixtures should be firmly anchored to bone within three to six months. Some cases will require bone grafting to assure that the implant anchor is completely secured in bone.

Stage II Surgery: After healing is completed, the second stage surgery is completed under local anesthesia or sedation if you desire. The implants residing under the gums at this point are exposed for access by the surgeon, so that a restorative dentist, can place a crown on them. This is a minor surgery.

Immediate Implant and Crown Surgery: In rare cases, the environment may be conducive to receiving your implant and temporary crown in the same day. Again, some of these cases will need some bone grafting for optimal success.

It's time to get your new teeth!

When your gum tissues have completely healed after Stage II surgery, you are ready to visit your restorative dentist and begin construction of your new crown(s). They will make impressions of your mouth (without anesthesia usually!), bite registrations of the way your jaws bite together, then the impressions are used to reproduce your jaws/teeth while you are gone. Based on these models, your crowns will be fabricated. It may take as few as two or possibly several appointments depending on the complexity of your case.

Benefits of Dental Implants

All the Advantages Nature Intended

Implant dentistry is the most advanced therapy available to replace teeth. In addition to looking and feeling like real teeth, dental implants allow you to:

  • Improve your smile
  • Eat the foods you enjoy
  • Restore chewing for easy digestion
  • Speak with greater ease
  • Restore your facial structure
  • Enjoy an active lifestyle
  • Live with confidence

Compared to other tooth replacement options, such as bridges and dentures, dental implants look and function much more like your natural teeth. You can chew, speak, and laugh with confidence because there is never a risk of the dental implants moving or of clasps showing. Because the implant post integrates into the jawbone, they also prevent future bone loss and gum recession that is associated with missing teeth. Unlike bridges that depend on the adjacent teeth for support, dental implants don't affect other teeth. In addition, dental implants can often be placed immediately after a tooth has been extracted.

Dental implants are also very versatile. In addition to replacing a single missing tooth, dental implants can also be used to:

  • Replace several missing teeth
  • Support a bridge or removable partial denture
  • Support a full set of dentures
  • What if I have no teeth at all?
  • Once again, the procedure is virtually the same: it requires more implants.
  • Even if there is significant bone loss, there are restorative options that can compensate for the situation.

Depending on your dental condition, you may be able to select one of the three different types of full arch, implant-supported prosthesis:

Fixed - A permanent replacement that can only be removed by the dentist.

Removable - Allows you to remove the prosthesis whenever you wish. The implants under it ensure that the prosthesis is held securely in your mouth.

Fixed Removable - Utilizes a mechanism to lock the prosthesis onto the implants. If you need to, you can unlock the mechanism to remove the prosthesis.

What if I have dentures I like but they move around too much? Implants can be used as anchors for your existing dentures, eliminating slippage and enhancing your level of comfort and confidence.

Can anyone have implants?

Yes, in most cases.

Whenever a natural tooth is lost, there is a gradual degeneration of bone in the surrounding area. New bone regeneration techniques can help replace lost bone mass and ensure a successful implant.

This is a very brief overview of dental implants. As the dental and medical situation of every patient is unique, any implant treatment plan requires a complete examination and analysis. Only then can an individual treatment plan be formulated.

Computer Guided Implant Dentistry

Fuller Periodontics and Implant Dentistry have the ability to place dental implants by utilizing a computer-guided method of implant dentistry. This method reduces the overall time of the implant procedure, minimizes post-operative discomfort, and makes the outcome more accurate and predictable. A 20-second CT scan of the patient's mouth is taken here at our office with a conebeam CT. The scan produces images from multiple angles, and these images are used to create a 3D computer image.

The 3D images help visualize the structure of the jawbone and teeth, allowing us to plan the dental implants procedure with optimum precision. The images also help to determine the amount and health of bone that is present in the jaw so that we can decide the best type and size of implant post to use for each patient. We can determine the exact location for the surgical placement of the implant posts by using the images to fabricate an implant placement guide. In some cases, we can create the replacement teeth before the implant posts are placed. Therefore, the teeth can be placed on the posts during the same procedure.

Sinus Elevation (Lift)

The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. Sinuses are like empty rooms that have nothing in them. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone.

There is a solution and it's called a sinus graft or sinus lift graft. The dental implant surgeon enters the sinus from where the upper teeth used to be. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and donor bone is inserted into the floor of the sinus.

Keep in mind that the floor of the sinus is the roof of the upper jaw. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient's jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone.

The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option other than wearing loose dentures.

If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, the Sinus Augmentation will have to be performed first, then the graft will have to mature for several months, depending upon the type of graft material used. Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.

Major Bone Grafting

Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease or injuries. The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or your own bone is taken from the jaw, hip or tibia (below the knee.) Sinus bone grafts are also performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw. In addition, special membranes may be utilized that dissolve under the gum and protect the bone graft and encourage bone regeneration. This is called guided bone regeneration or guided tissue regeneration.

Major bone grafts are typically performed to repair defects of the jaws. These defects may arise as a result of traumatic injuries, tumor surgery, or congenital defects. Large defects are repaired using the patient's own bone. This bone is harvested from a number of different sites depending on the size of the defect. The skull (cranium), hip (iliac crest), and lateral knee (tibia), are common donor sites. These procedures are routinely performed in an operating room and require a hospital stay.