Dental Implants

Dental implants 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 and can smile with confidence, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. The implants are small titanium posts which are placed into the jaw bone where teeth are missing. The bone integrates with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. In addition, dental implants can help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration which occurs when teeth are missing.

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


Dental Implant Illustration

Evaluation for Dental Implants

If, like many others, you feel implant dentistry is the choice for you, we ask that you undergo a dental/radiographic examination and health history. During these consultation visits, your specific needs and considerations will be addressed by either Drs. Toft and Hetrick, or by an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon referred to by our practice. Your questions and concerns are important to us and our team will work with you very closely to help make your procedure a success.

Surgical Advances in Dental ImplantS

Using 3D imaging technology, along with traditional x-rays, a clinical exam, and a thorough review of your medical history our team can determine if you are a candidate for dental implant therapy. It is our standard of care to utilize the most up to date imaging technology to ensure that each patient we treat with dental implants will have the most successful outcome possible.  

Usually, all stages of the Dental Implant procedures can be performed in our office.  Drs. Toft or Hetrick perform initial tooth extractions, bone grafting if necessary and soft tissue management. They also perform the actual implant surgery as well as  fitting and making the permanent prosthesis. If necessary they will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.

The implant process has a multitude of stages beginning with the extraction and ending with the final restoration.  Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, some or all of these steps can be combined if the circumstances allow. Drs. Toft and Hetrick are able to place single stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require approximately four months of healing time before artificial teeth are placed. There are even situations where the implant can be placed at the same time as the tooth extraction (immediate placement) – further minimizing your number of surgical procedures.  In addition, if we can achieve primary stability of the implant, then we can fabricate a temporary restoration at that time. This would be referred to as immediate loading

It is important to understand that while these are convenient options to conserve time, however combining steps does increase the risk of implant failure.  This is a conversation to be had between the doctor and patient on an individual basis.


Dental Implant Procedure

Dental implants are metal anchors, which act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jaw bone. Small posts are then attached to the implant, which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.

For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, dental implants are placed within your jaw bone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums, gradually bonding with the jaw bone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. 

After the dental implant has bonded to the jaw bone, the second phase begins.   Drs. Toft or Hetrick will uncover the implants and attach a small healing collar and can then start making your new teeth. An impression is taken. Then posts or attachments are connected to the implants and the replacement teeth are then made over the posts or attachments. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months, or longer if necessary. Most patients do not experience any disruption in their daily life.