Bellevue, Newcastle & Medina, WA
Did you know that 120 million people in the United States have lost at least one permanent tooth? If you’re living with tooth loss, it may affect your diet by limiting your chewing ability. You could have lower self-esteem because you are less likely to show your smile due to that dental gap. You probably have looked into ways to restore your smile by replacing your missing tooth. A dental implant is considered the elite method of tooth replacement that is currently available. Implants restore the look, feel and function of your original teeth.
Let’s learn more about dental implants and how Bellevue implant dentist, Periodontist Dr. Michael Spektor, conducts this common procedure.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant consists of three components:
- An implant screw made of titanium
- An abutment, which attaches to the top of the implant
- A dental crown that connects to the abutment
How are dental implants used?
An implant could replace a single missing tooth or be used to support a set of dentures. Implant-supported dentures, also known as implant dentures, are reinforced by dental implants, which are surgically placed in strategic locations of the dental arch. The dentures then connect to the abutments on these implants, providing a more secure fit and superior stability as compared to any standard set of dentures, which is made to rest on the gum line. Click here to learn more about implant-supported dentures, and their advantages compared to traditional dentures.
What to expect when getting dental implants
You’ll need to schedule a consultation with your implant dentist. At Spektor Dental, most of our implant procedures are performed by our highly experienced periodontist, Dr. Michael Spektor. He will evaluate your current oral health, as well as your complete dental and medical history to ensure you are a good candidate for dental implants. He also will review every step of the implant procedure to help you understand the process. During this consultation, we may perform a few diagnostic tests, which will provide more information about your current dental health.
Next, we administer anesthetic to make sure you feel no discomfort while the implant is surgically placed into the jawbone. Dental implant surgery usually can be performed under local anesthetic. However, you may feel anxious or fearful about their upcoming surgical procedure. Spektor Dental offers sedation dentistry through the use of nitrous oxide (link to page), which is safe for most healthy individuals.
Following the implant placement, your jawbone will need to heal, allowing time for the implant to fuse to the bone. Each patient’s healing time is unique, but this part of the process usually takes anywhere from three to six months for a single implant placement. Healing time may vary for implant-supported dentures.
The Final Steps
Once healing is complete, you return to Spektor Dental to begin the dental crown process. We work with crowns made of beautiful dental porcelain. Not only is this an extremely durable material, but also our crowns are metal-free and can be matched to the shape and color of your other natural healthy teeth. Fabricating the dental crown takes two separate appointments.
The first appointment involves taking impressions and digital images that will be used to fabricate your porcelain crown. It may take a couple of weeks to have the crown made. At your second appointment, we will fit the crown, make any necessary adjustments, and then seat the crown in place to complete your implant procedure.
The advantages of dental implants
- Implants help prevent jawbone loss. If you lose a permanent tooth, deterioration of the supporting bone structure is inevitable. This occurs because the tooth root is no longer stimulating that area of jawbone so it is re-absorbed into your body. An implant helps prevent this bone loss thanks to the titanium implant screw. When inserted, this screw provides the same stimulation to your jawbone that came from the root of your natural tooth.
- Unlimited food choices. An implant is extremely durable, which means you regain a greater amount of your chewing ability than you had with missing teeth. You can start enjoying all the foods you once avoided.
- Stability. An implant is fixed in the mouth because the implant screw has been installed surgically in your jawbone. That means it won’t slip or shift. You can smile with confidence, and won’t have to worry about your implant affecting your speech. A dental implant is as stable as your natural teeth, so you can feel confident with your tooth placement option.
- Convenience. Cleaning your dental implant is simple. Just brush and floss your implant as you would your other natural teeth. Be sure to clean along the gum line under your implant crown. Floss this area daily to remove bacteria and food particles that could lead to gum infection or total implant failure.
- Appearance. Because the crowns are crafted with beautiful dental porcelain, your restoration will look natural, and blend seamlessly with your smile.
- Permanence. By maintaining a diligent regimen of oral care that includes twice-yearly visits to your Bellevue dentist for a check-up, an implant could last the rest of your life. Dental implants are considered the only virtually permanent tooth replacement option in dentistry.
- Results. Of all dental implant procedures, 98 percent of them are successful with diligent care and oral hygiene.
How to choose an implant dentist
- Experience. This is a surgical procedure, so it is important to choose a provider with significant experience in implant dentistry. Dr. Spektor has nearly three decades of experience as a practicing dentist and 25 years of experience teaching periodontics at the University of Washington School of Dentistry.
- Training. Dr. Spektor received his Doctorate in Dentistry and completed a hospital residency in Chicago before coming to the University of Washington for his Periodontics degree. He also belongs to several professional organizations, including the Academy of Osseointegration—a group dedicated to implant dentistry and the specific interactions between natural bone and dental implants.
- Exceptional reviews. When searching for a top-rated implant dentist, check online reviews. We think the patient reviews for Spektor Dental speak for themselves. Dr. Spektor is also often recognized by his peers as a Seattle Met Top Dentist.
The cost of dental implants
While we can make general estimates, Spektor Dental determines the cost of each individual procedure on a case-by-case basis. We will discuss treatment options, as well as the estimated cost of each option, before beginning treatment. Payment is expected at the time of treatment. We always recommend checking with your insurance provider to verify your benefits.
For self-pay or any remaining balance, we accept the following methods of payment:
- Personal check
- Most major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express)
We offer cash-pay discounts, as well as discounts for seniors. While the price of a dental implant procedure is significant, choosing implants from Spektor Dental to replace your lost teeth represents a long-term, quality investment in your oral health.
We also work with CareCredit, a third-party company that offers financing for medical expenses. This option allows you to pay for your procedure at the time of service, and then make monthly payments to CareCredit.
Are dental implants right for me?
Despite all their benefits, dental implants are not suitable for everyone. Dr. Spektor does not consider implants to be suitable for children. You also need to have good oral health, and enough density in your jawbone to support a dental implant. There should be no presence of gum disease. If you have gum disease, this infection will need to be treated first before the work on a dental implant begins. Click here to learn more about Spektor Dental’s comprehensive program of periodontal care and treatment.
Any of these conditions or habits could increase your risk of complications or implant failure:
- Taking certain medications, especially steroids and bisphosphonates
- Any pre-existing condition that slows your body’s healing ability, such as diabetes
If you are not a good candidate for dental implants, Spektor Dental offers other tooth replacement options that may be right for you.
You also need to determine how many implants you need. If you are living with substantial tooth loss, then you may want to consider implant-supported dentures, rather than have an implant to replace each of your missing teeth. Spektor Dental also provides implant dentures for current denture wearers seeking an alternative to their loose-fitting dentures. Again, the best way to determine how many implants are right for you is to have a consultation with Dr. Spektor.
Dental Implants in Bellevue
At Spektor Dental, we strive to be a one-stop-shop for your dental needs. That means providing a variety of dental services at our Bellevue dental office. In addition to our implant dentistry and periodontal services, we also offer a wide range of general and cosmetic dentistry treatment options.
Are you ready to see if dental implants are right for you? Contact our office by calling (425) 454-1322 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Michael Spektor today. We are conveniently located at 1545 116th Avenue NE, Suite 100, in Bellevue. Our office has been providing elite dental care to the Medina and Newcastle areas for more than 30 years.