At Markiewicz Dental of Mundelein, we improve our patient’s lives through quality dentistry. While our goal is to help our patients keep their teeth for a lifetime, we can also help when teeth are lost. Dr. Anthony Markiewicz and Dr. David Markiewicz have received advanced training in restoring dental implants. Dental implants are often a great solution for patients who are missing one or more teeth. At Markiewicz Dental, we utilize digital scanning technology that ensures implants are well-planned from start-to-finish.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant consists of a small titanium post that is surgically placed into the jawbone and space vacated by the missing tooth. This post serves as the missing tooth root and the base for the artificial crown which will be placed at a later date. The surgical procedure used to place an implant is usually quite minor and requires only a local anesthesia in most cases. After a healing period, a custom-made crown is placed on top of the implant which matches your existing natural teeth. The documented success rate of dental implants is over 95%.

What is the process like to get a dental implant?

Although many commercials will market “same day implants,” a properly placed and restored implant usually takes many months to finish. First, it is essential to have an evaluation completed to ensure that there is enough space and bone to support a dental implant. Sometimes, if there is inadequate space or bone, bone grafting and/or sinus lift procedures may need to be completed prior to implant placement. The surgical procedure used to place an implant is usually quite minor and requires only local anesthetic (just like if you had a cavity filled). Once the implant is placed, a healing cap is placed on-top of the implant for a period of 3-6 months. This healing period allows the implant to become integrated with your bone, making it incredibly strong and stable. Once fully healed, a crown is then placed on-top of the implant.

What are the benefits of dental implants?

Of all the restorative dental options available for replacing missing teeth, dental implants are often the best. Not only do dental implants provide you with long-lasting results, but implants also help save tooth-supporting bone that naturally deteriorates when a tooth is lost. Bone loss is one of the major hidden consequences of losing teeth.

How can dental implants be used?

Dental implants are versatile and can replace missing teeth in several ways. Implants can be used as:

Single Tooth Replacement
When used to replace a single tooth, a single implant is placed into the bone to replace the tooth root and a crown is placed on top of the implant to simulate an actual tooth. This treatment choice has the highest success rate, making it the best long-term investment for replacing a single missing tooth. A dental implant will never decay nor need root canal treatment and feels and functions just like the tooth it has replaced.

Multiple Tooth Replacement
When one or more teeth are missing, it is not always necessary to have one implant for each missing tooth. Instead, implant teeth can serve as supports for fixed bridgework. For example, if three teeth in a row are missing, an implant can be placed on either side of the gap and a crown placed in between that has no implant underneath. This means there is no need to use any of the existing natural teeth as bridge supports to keep the natural teeth strong and make them more resilient against decay.

Support for Removable Dentures
Traditional dentures rest on the gums and put pressure on the underlying bone. This accelerates bone loss wherein the jaw shrinks, and the dentures slip, particularly on the bottom. Dental implants can make removable dentures more comfortable, effective and healthier to wear. When a removable denture is attached to implants, the pressure is transferred into the bone structure rather than the bone surface to prevent slippage when eating and speaking while preserving the bone underneath.

For Permanently Replacing All the Teeth
Implants can be used to support an entire arch of upper or lower replacement teeth that are fixed into the mouth and never removed. In some cases, the new teeth can be supported by as few as four implants which is comparable to the structure of a table which only needs four legs to hold it up. In cases where the jawbone’s density and volume have deteriorated, five or six implants may be needed to support a row of ten to 12 teeth. The dental implants used to replace all the teeth protect the jawbone, do not slip, and should last a lifetime.

Post-operative instructions following a dental implant

The only two ways a dental implant can lose attachment to the bone and fail once it has successfully fused are poor oral hygiene and excessive biting forces. If a patient with dental implants does not maintain good oral hygiene and neglects to have regular professional cleanings, a destructive bacterial infection called peri-implantitis can develop. This is why it is very important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine and visit your dentist regularly for routine exams and cleanings. Excessive biting forces can come from a teeth clenching or grinding habit or from an insufficient number of implants to handle the forces generated by the bite. Patients receiving dental implants will receive the correct number of implants so this does not happen. And for patients who grind or clench their teeth, a special nightguard will be recommended to protect the implants.