Understanding Dental Implants (Pt. 3)

You only have one set of teeth!

Unlike sharks (which continuously grow new teeth over the course of their entire lives), humans have “baby teeth” which are eventually replaced by adult teeth, and, well, that’s all you get. Your teeth are strong, but just one untimely accident could lead to their loss. That said, the overwhelming majority of teeth are lost due to neglect, poor oral and general health, and disease (primarily gum disease).

Dental implants are the best way to replace missing teeth and to repair the negative knock-on effects they cause:

  • Bone and Tissue Degradation (in the area where a tooth is lost)
  • Movement of Healthy Teeth (leading to unsightly gaps and other problems)
  • Bite (Occlusion) Problems (impacting your ability to chew and speak, as well as cause damage to otherwise healthy teeth such as cracking and fracturing). 

Marineland Dental Care provides its patients in the Kennewick, WA area a number of ways to replace missing teeth and treat related oral health issues.

In our last two posts of our three-part blog series Understanding Dental Implants (Part 1 & Part 2), we have talked about the advantages of dental implants and why you should consider them, and what “qualifies” a patient as a candidate for dental implants.

In this final post in the series, we’ll take a closer look at the dental implant procedures that we offer.

Dental Implant Options

Dental implants are the best possible treatment for replacing missing teeth, provided you are in good enough health to receive them (at the very least, you may require considerable work to get your oral health “up to speed” before implantation can begin).

We offer three dental implant options in our practice.

“Standard” Dental Implants

“Standard” dental implants are the most commonly placed type. They are used to replace your missing teeth (if you can have them).

Mini Dental Implants

Mini dental implants are ideal for those who lack the needed bone density required for standard dental implants, or for those who have naturally narrower jaw bones.

Mini dental implants are about half the size of standard dental implants, and can be used for smaller teeth and the incisors (sharp front teeth). Mini dental implants are constructed slightly differently, and do not involve a screw mechanism.

Dentures with Dental Implants

Dentures with dental implants combine the strong support of implants (mini dental implants usually) with dentures. These are ideal for those who might not want full implants, or are not totally ideal candidates for them. The dental implants hold the dentures, which “snap” in place. They are better than normal dentures, because the implants prevent the dentures from sliding out of place. They also allow the dentures to produce greater bite force, and as a result the patient may speak, smile, and chew with much greater ease than with conventional dentures.

What Can I expect during an installation procedure? 

Dental implants are composed of three parts:

  • The Anchor (Implant): 

This is the part that is actually implanted, directly into the jawbone.

  • The Abutment 

The abutment is responsible for holding the crown in place.

  • The Crown

The crown is the prosthetic which actually replaces the missing tooth.

The anchor is the actual “implant”; it is the part that is actually installed in your body. It has threading like a screw or bolt and it more less works on the same principle as those pieces of hardware.

Following an evaluation of your oral and general health, your dentist will create a treatment plan specifically for you. The dental implant (or more than one dental implant, as the case may be) is installed directly into bone of the jaw, after gum tissue has been moved, revealing the bone and creating a place (or site) for the procedure. The implant is screwed into place.

Once the anchor is installed, the abutment is placed. This abutment can be made of a number of materials, including ceramic, titanium, and even zirconia. Its main purpose is to connect and hold in place the crown with the anchor.

Finally, the crown is placed. The crown is more or less the same as a crown you would receive to repair a damaged tooth, only in this case the tooth is missing and the crown serves as a replacement, both esthetically and mechanically, for the entire tooth. The crown is made of porcelain which allows it to blend in naturally with your other teeth; it will require special maintenance from your dentist, and eventually may even need to be replaced (long after the initial installation). The crown of a dental implant is  The crown might be attached with glue, another screw-like fixture, or it may even be fused directly to the abutment.

Once the installation is complete, healthy gum tissue is placed around the implant. While the implant is firmly in place immediately following the procedure, an implant’s real strength comes from a process called osseointegration. Osseointegration can take several months to reach completion. The anchor of your implant is made of a material (most often titanium, but there are other options) that your body “likes”. The bone merges, or integrates, with the anchor and holds it in position.

Make Your Appointment Today! 

The whole team at Marineland Dental is ready to help you get back your oral health, your smile, and your confidence. Besides dental implants we offer a number of other cosmetic and general dentistry services to meet the needs of your entire family.

Call us at 509-591-0515, or click here to reach our online appointment form. 

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