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Dental Implants – Lawrence, KS

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At Heck Family Dentistry of Lawrence, we are committed to providing you with the highest quality services possible. Our dentists have extensive training and experience performing tooth replacement with dental implants in Lawrence, Kansas.

As with all our dental services, we will ensure you are kept comfortable and informed throughout the entire implant process. We are always available to address your questions or concerns. Let our caring dentists help you through the process of extraction, grafting, implant placement, and tooth restoration in one facility. Schedule an appointment to see how our skilled dentists and advanced technology can help restore your confident and healthy smile!

Care of Mouth After an Implant ProcedureCare of Mouth After A Sinus Lift or A Sinus Perforation RepairInstructions or Your New Implant-Retained Denture

Why Choose Heck Family Dentistry of Lawrence for Dental Implants?

What is a Dental Implant?

Animated parts of a dental implant replacement tooth

Think of dental implants as artificial tooth roots. These manufactured roots are similar in shape to screws. Dental implants, placed in your jawbone, bond with your natural bone. They become a sturdy base for supporting artificial teeth like crowns or bridges and also dentures.

Dentists have successfully used modern dental implants for over 30 years. Implants are the strongest devices available for supporting replacement teeth. In addition, they allow these artificial teeth to feel, look, and function naturally.

When performed by an experienced dentist using specialized 3D technology, dental implant surgery is one of the safest and most predictable restorative procedures in dentistry.

The 4-Step Dental Implant Process

implant dentist in Lawrence holding a model of a dental implant in the jaw

Many general dental practices have to refer their patients to specialists for the surgical portion of the dental implant treatment. However, at Heck Family Dentistry of Lawrence, we’ve brought the specialists to you! Our dentists have completed advanced training in the field of dental implants, enabling them to surgically place them right here in our own office. This makes your treatment more comfortable, convenient, and not to mention affordable!

No two patients have the exact same journey when it comes to tooth replacement, as a number of variables come into play. However, most patients go through a process that has the same four basic steps. Here’s what you need to know about the process of how dental implants work in Lawrence.

Initial Dental Implant Consultation

dentist showing a patient their dental X-rays

First things first, a consultation is necessary to determine whether you’re eligible for dental implants. You’ll meet with one of our dentists, who will take some time to discuss your goals for your smile. Then, we’ll examine your mouth using our cone beam scanning technology. This will give us a clear picture of the health of your remaining teeth, jaw, and other oral structures. From there, we should have no problem evaluating your candidacy for dental implants.

There’s a chance that you’ll require one or more preparatory procedures before you can receive implants. For example, your jawbone will need to be strengthened with a bone graft if it has deteriorated after tooth loss. Gum disease will also have to be treated, and damaged teeth must be removed. Once these procedures are squared away, we can schedule your dental implant surgery.

Dental Implant Surgery

smiling man sitting in the dental chair and giving a thumbs-up

On the day of your procedure, your implant dentist in Lawrence will begin by numbing your mouth and administering sedation if need be. Then, we make tiny, strategic incisions in your gum tissue. Through these incisions, we insert the implant posts at specific locations in your jaw. Lastly, we suture your gums closed and place protective caps over the implants.

Dental Implant Osseointegration & Abutment

X-ray of a patient with a dental implant

Over the course of the next three to six months, osseointegration will occur. This process of the implants fusing to your jawbone is what will allow your new teeth to function and feel exactly like your old ones.

When this fusion has finished, we’ll schedule another minor surgical procedure to install your abutments. These metal attachments are placed on top of your implants, allowing us to secure your replacement teeth.

Delivery of Dental Implant Restoration(s)

senior woman with dental implants in Lawrence grinning from ear to ear

It typically takes about two weeks to recover from abutment surgery, at which point we can deliver your restorations. Depending on how many teeth you’re missing, your restoration could be a dental crown, bridge, or denture. In any case, these new teeth have been customized to mimic what Mother Nature gave you. Once we place them on top of your abutments, they should look and feel just like the genuine article.

Although the process of getting dental implants in Lawrence is lengthy, their long-term benefits and lifelike qualities are absolutely worth the wait!

Benefits of Dental Implants

woman biting into a red apple

There’s nothing quite like the teeth you were born with, but out of all the options for tooth replacement, dental implants are the only treatment that can hold a candle to the real thing. When every part of a missing tooth is replaced, you end up with a solution that looks and feels almost exactly like your original smile did. When you read about all of the amazing benefits of dental implants in Lawrence, it’s no surprise why more than half a million people choose this option each year!

Day-to-Day Benefits

man brushing his teeth
  • Because dental implants fuse with the jawbone, they are completely fixed in place and do not move at all. As a result, your new teeth will feel like a natural part of your body and will always stay in place while you’re speaking or chewing. This makes them a cut above dentures, which notoriously slip around when trying to do everyday tasks.
  • When you have a lifelike set of pearly whites that reliably stays in place, you’ll feel much more confident than you ever thought possible. This can lead to greater opportunities in your professional, social, and even romantic life.
  • Unlike dentures, which require a time-consuming cleaning process, dental implants are easy to care for. All you have to do to keep them in pristine condition is brush twice a day, floss daily, and visit our dental office for regular checkups – just as you would do with natural teeth!

Health Benefits

senior man and woman stretching before exercising outside
  • The roots of your natural teeth stimulate blood flow to your jawbone, strengthening it every time you bite or chew. When these roots are lost, however, the jawbone gradually begins to weaken. Eventually, it may be unable to support your remaining teeth, leading to additional tooth loss. Dental implants prevent these issues by stimulating the jawbone in the exact same way as natural tooth roots.
  • Regular dentures sit atop your gums, which may result in irritation or sores, especially if your prosthetic is always shifting around. Traditional dental bridges rely on two of your remaining teeth for support, which can leave these teeth more vulnerable to decay or fracture. Luckily, dental implants are self-supporting and remain firmly in place at all times, so neither of these problems will occur.
  • Being able to eat whatever foods you would like can also lead to better overall wellness. Denture wearers are often limited in terms of which healthy foods they can eat, so they may suffer from nutritional deficiencies. On the other hand, dental implants make it easy to enjoy a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, tough meats, and other foods that benefit your general health.

Long-Term Benefits

senior woman admiring her smile in a mirror
  • Even after more than a decade, dental implants have a 95% or higher success rate. You can trust that investing in dental implants is a decision that will pay off in the long run.
  • Some patients hesitate to commit to dental implants due to the higher initial price. Keep in mind, though, that implants last about four times longer than dentures and bridges on average. This means that you won’t need to have your prosthetic replaced nearly as often, saving you money (and time) overall.
  • By stimulating the jawbone, dental implants also prevent the facial structures from drooping and making you look much older than you really are. With this solution, you can look forward to a youthful glow for years, if not decades, to come!

Who Dental Implants Can Help

Woman in dental chair smiling at dentist

You will be pleased to know that dental implants are virtually accessible to any adult suffering from tooth loss. When visiting with your dental implant dentist in Lawrence, we will determine if you are cleared to undergo oral surgery right away or if you will require preliminary treatments first. Bone grafting, periodontal therapy, and even tooth extraction may be necessary to ensure that your future implants have the greatest chance of success. Even if you’re concerned that you might not be eligible, it’s always best to schedule a consultation with our team who will examine your smile and offer the right solutions for you. To learn more about who is a qualified candidate for dental implants, review the information below and contact us to schedule an appointment.

Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Man listening to dentist in Lawrence

You can consider yourself a potential candidate for dental implants as long as you have lost at least one tooth. You must also have an overall healthy mouth, meaning gum disease and cavities must be treated properly before moving forward with the dental implant procedure. If you do not have enough jawbone, we may need to perform bone grafts if the jaw has already started to break down. You must also be healthy enough to undergo minor oral surgery. The dental implant procedure will differ depending on the number of teeth lost; you’ll receive a different number of posts and a specific restoration based on your situation.

Although you might assume the only way to treat your tooth loss is with traditional prosthetics, dental implants in Lawrence are highly versatile and can replace any number of teeth:

Missing 1 Tooth

Single dental implant in Lawrence

Every single tooth is important for a healthy smile. When even one is lost, it can make eating, smiling, and speaking more difficult. It is believed an estimated 120 million Americans are living with at least one missing tooth. To replace it, we can use a single dental implant and a crown. Using an implant instead of a bridge means we don’t have to alter your remaining teeth by removing small amounts of enamel to make room for the prosthetic.

Missing Multiple Teeth

Implant bridge in Lawrence

The solution for missing multiple teeth depends on how many are gone and where they were located. If they were spread throughout the mouth, you may need a separate implant for each one or you can have an implant partial created. But if they were all in a row, we can fit a dental bridge on a pair of implant posts to replace them all at once.

Missing All Teeth

Implant denture in Lawrence

In addition to crowns and bridges, we use implants to support dentures. Dental implants offer an exceptional method to provide an anchor for dentures. Using dental implants as a base for dentures can drastically improve the overall function and appearance of your new teeth. Not to mention, you will enjoy greater jawbone stimulation and a prosthetic that doesn’t need to be replaced for 30 years or more!

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Understanding the Cost of Dental Implants

Woman smiling as she fills out payment forms for dental implant tooth replacement

At the beginning of the implant process when you’re trying to figure out the costs involved, you have to remember one important thing: the treatment will be greatly customized based on your situation. That means the amount you end up paying won’t be the same as another patient. At the same time, dental implants are a long-term investment, so even though the initial cost is higher compared to other treatments, the benefits (such as a longer lifespan) will pay for themselves in the long term.

Preliminary Treatments & Dental Implant Surgery

Woman checking her smile in a handheld mirror

If the teeth being replaced are still in the mouth, naturally they’ll have to be extracted before you get implants. Also, gum disease therapy and bone grafting might need to be performed to correct issues that could potentially lead to implant failure. All of these procedures come with their own cost.

When the time comes to pay for implant surgery, remember that the kind of sedation or anesthesia you require can add to the price. Fortunately, since we place our implants in-house, you don’t have to worry about dealing with a separate practice when the time comes to pay the bill.

The Parts of Your Dental Implant

Dental implant, abutment, and crown being placed in mouth

Obviously, the number of dental implants you need is going to affect the final price, but the individual parts of the implant have to be considered as well. For one thing, there are different types of restorations that can be supported by implants; small restorations like crowns are less costly than larger restorations like dentures. As for the actual implant posts, the size and material, as well as the individual manufacturer, all affect the price; we invite you to ask for additional information about where your implant is coming from and the benefits of our selected brand.

How Dental Implants Can Save You Money

Variety of implants and restorations on a table

Surprisingly, dental implants are often the more cost-effective option compared to traditional restorations thanks to the following facts:

  • Dental implants do not have to be replaced or readjusted every few years.
  • Unlike dentures, implants do not require you to buy special cleaning solutions.
  • Dental implants are easy to keep clean and don’t irritate your gums, so they can help you prevent issues like tooth decay and gum disease (which require their own treatments that require separate costs).

Does My Dental Insurance Cover Dental Implants?

Bearded many sitting on stairs with his phone

We are in-network with several insurance providers and accept several out-of-network plans as well. You should call your insurance provider and review your benefits before beginning any sort of dental treatment. Most plans will not cover dental implants, but some exceptions exist, and other parts of the treatment (such as the final restoration) may be covered. If there’s anything you don’t understand, talk to our team; we’ve worked with plenty of insurance companies over the years and we know how to make sure that you get the savings you’re entitled to.

Making Dental Implants Affordable

A brilliant, healthy smile shouldn’t be something that breaks your budget. We can discuss your financial situation with you and help you find ways to make paying for dental implants easier. One possible solution is dental financing through CareCredit; you can pay for your care in smaller, monthly installments that are more convenient for you.

Dental Implant Post-Op Instructions

woman smiling after getting dental implants in Lawrence

Our team at Heck Family Dentistry of Lawrence is trained on the placement of dental implants, meaning we can complete the entire process from start to finish in one convenient location. Although the recovery from dental implant surgery may seem daunting, it’s absolutely nothing to be worried about! Following your procedure, we’ll walk you through the post-op instructions to help you make a speedy recovery. If you want to know what to expect throughout the healing period, continue reading or call our office to speak directly with a member of our team!

What to Do Directly After Dental Implant Surgery

taking pain medicine after dental implant surgery

After getting dental implants in Lawrence, it’s incredibly important to take proper care and maintenance of your new smile. By doing so, you can make a smooth sailing recovery and be one step closer to having a complete grin once again. One of the most important parts of recovery is to ensure the forming blood clot on the surgery site remains untouched. To do this, make sure you avoid:

  • Spitting (use tissues or swallow your saliva)
  • Drinking from a straw
  • Smoking
  • Touching the surgical site with your fingers or tongue

Common Side-Effects When Recovering from Dental Implant Placement

woman with swollen jaw after getting dental implants in Lawrence

If you’ve never had oral surgery before, you may be unsure which side-effects are normal and which ones you should be concerned about. One thing to keep in mind while you heal is that any effect you experience should be temporary and gradually subside as time goes by. If anything seems to be worsening rather than improving, don’t hesitate to contact our office for assistance. That said, here’s what you can expect while recovering:

  • Intermittent Bleeding – You can alleviate this by placing a small amount of pressure on the gauze that’s located on the surgical site.
  • Swelling – You’ll experience this over the first 72 hours, but it may last over a week. You can use cold compresses to help it go down more quickly.
  • General Discomfort – You can manage your discomfort by taking prescribed or over-the-counter pain medication as instructed by your dentist.

Your Diet After Dental Implant Surgery

eating yogurt after getting dental implants in Lawrence

It’s strongly recommended that you stick to a soft-food diet for the first few days following your oral surgery. Here are some foods you should stock up on before your procedure:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Soup (make sure it’s not too hot)
  • Pudding
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Pasta

You can return to your normal diet as soon as you feel up for it. However, it’s a good idea to continue to exercise caution with certain foods and avoid chewing directly on the implant site.

Post-Op Health & Oral Hygiene

brushing teeth after getting dental implants in Lawrence

Following dental implant placement, you must keep your mouth as clean as possible to ensure the titanium posts successfully integrate with the jawbone. Although you can brush your teeth as usual the day after your procedure, you’ll need to be extremely careful around the surgical site. Make sure you rinse your mouth with warm salt water at least two to three times each day, preferably after eating. Avoid using mouthwashes that contain high levels of alcohol, like Scope or Listerine.

What to Do After Your New Teeth Are Attached

smiling after getting dental implants in Lawrence

Once you’re all healed up, you’ll return to the office for the final step of the process – the attachment of your prosthetic! After your new crown, bridge, or denture is attached, you may experience mild sensitivity or irritation. Luckily, you can easily manage the discomfort with pain medication. You’ll be ready to flash your beautiful new smile that same day!

Maintaining & Caring for Your Dental Implants

Man with dental implants in Lawrence, KS sitting on bleachers smiling

While dental implants are known for having an extremely high success rate, their longevity largely depends on receiving regular care and maintenance. There’s no special trick you need to learn; taking care of dental implants isn’t much different than taking care of natural teeth, and of course you still have Dr. Heck and the rest of our team to help you take the right steps. The basic steps for implant care our listed below; contact our office today if you need additional help.

Make Oral Hygiene a Priority

Toothbrush with toothpaste on top of tube

Dental implants are considered most suitable for patients who are already committed to brushing, flossing, and rinsing on a daily basis. Cleaning your mouth regularly stops harmful oral bacteria from attacking your gums and weakening the tissues holding your implants in place. You should brush twice a day for two minutes at a time with ADA-approved toothpaste. You also need to floss daily and rinse with mouthwash to clean the areas of the mouth that your toothbrush can’t reach.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Collection of healthy foods on table

The foods you eat can have a significant impact on your oral health over time. A single piece of cake or a handful of potato chips probably won’t cause any real problems, but too many sugary or starchy foods could eventually put your implants at risk. Cut back on chips and sweets, and eat more nutritious foods that can help improve the health of your gums. Vitamin C and calcium are particularly important for promoting a healthy mouth.

Break Bad Habits

Close-up of woman with dental implants in Lawrence, KS crunching ice

Smoking, biting your nails, using your teeth as tools, and crunching ice are all bad oral habits that can damage your dental implants and lead to eventual failure. If you want to keep your new teeth safe, you need to be aware of these habits and the impact they can have on your smile. Once you’ve identified these habits, you can figure out what steps you need to take to break them. For instance, if you need something to chew on, try carrying sugar-free gum with you.

Protect Your Dental Implants

Close-up of hand holding an athletic mouthguard

Mouthguards do an excellent job of protecting your regular teeth, and they can offer the same safety for your dental implants. You should always wear a mouthguard when playing sports, but you may also need to keep it in your mouth at night if you grind your teeth while sleeping. Grinding puts an excessive amount of force on your teeth and your implants, and that can lead to serious damage; a mouthguard will protect your smile from the worst of the damage.

Schedule Regular Dental Checkups

Male dental patient with dental implants in Lawrence, KS sitting and smiling for checkup

Remember to visit your dentist every six months for a regular dental checkup. While dental implants can’t get cavities, a dentist might still find signs of gum disease or other problems that could put your teeth at risk. We can address these issues early before they truly put you at risk for dental implant loss.

Advanced Dental Implant Procedures

Happy patient at appointment for advanced dental implant procedure

The details of the dental implant procedure in Lawrence can vary slightly from patient to patient. For example, some individuals require preliminary treatments to prepare their jawbone to support their new tooth roots. Fortunately, our expert team can perform such procedures right here in house — there is no need to refer you to an outside specialist! These advanced treatments can make your tooth replacement journey as easy and successful as possible.

Bone Grafts

Bone granules being placed in empty tooth socket

After the natural teeth go missing, a process called resorption begins. This basically means that because there are no longer any tooth roots to stimulate the jaw, the bone begins to weaken and grow smaller over time. Eventually, resorption can reach the point where the jawbone becomes incapable of supporting dental implants.

The good news is that we can usually address this issue with bone grafting in Lawrence. There are several different types of bone grafts, but the basic idea is always the same. We expose the jawbone, add bone material (perhaps from a donor, another place in a patient’s body, or an artificial source), and close the incision. In time, the bone will integrate the new material and be able to support dental implants.

Sinus Lifts

Dental implant in upper jawbone after sinus lift surgery

For some patients, their upper jaw is thin enough that if an implant were placed in it, the implant would penetrate the sinus membrane above. This may happen if a patient’s jawbone has deteriorated or they have a naturally large sinus cavity.

To prevent this from being a problem, we may perform a sinus lift. A sinus lift in Lawrence is a special type of bone graft. We access the sinus membrane through the upper jaw and gently push it upward. Then, we keep it in place by packing bone material beneath it. Usually, patients are ready to receive dental implants about 4 – 9 months after a sinus lift surgery.

Ridge Expansion

Dental implants in jawbone after ridge augmentation surgery

We often say that dental implants in Lawrence get placed in the jawbone, but that a simplification. In reality, they are placed in a portion of the jaw called the alveolar ridge. If the ridge is too narrow to support dental implants, we may need to perform a procedure known as ridge expansion or ridge augmentation.

Essentially, we wedge apart the inner and outer portions of the ridge. We place a graft between the sections. After the body heals, the ridge should be wide enough to accept dental implants. In some cases, implants can even be placed during the same appointment as ridge expansion.

PRP/PRF Treatment

Illustration of blood platelets used in PRP/PRF treatment

Platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) involve the use of a patient’s own blood to promote healing after they undergo oral surgery. Basically, we extract the blood, place it in a centrifuge to separate the platelet-rich portion of it, and then apply that substance to the surgical site(s). PRP and PRF are known to speed up healing times and reduce the risk of infection.

Are you ready to learn more about the advanced dental implant procedures available at Heck Family Dentistry of Lawrence? Get in touch today to ask questions or request an appointment.

Dental Implant FAQs

Dentist showing patient their new implants in a mirror

Our dentists at Heck Family Dentistry pride themselves in being able to guide you through every step of the dental implant process. Do you have questions about what’s going to happen during the treatment or what your life will be like once the implants are in place? We strive to address any and all concerns you might have during the dental implant process so that each of your decisions is well-informed. Below, you’ll find a number of questions that multiple patients have asked in the past.

How Long Will It Take to Get Implants?

It varies from person, but the average treatment length is between six to eight months. This is because it normally takes several months for dental implants to integrate with the jawbone. There are cases where temporary teeth can be placed at the same time as the implant, but generally speaking you need to wait until your implant has gained enough stability to support a restoration. Remember that everyone heals differently, so we may not be able to give you a perfect timeline of how long the dental implant process will take, but we will very carefully monitor your progress to make sure that everything is going smoothly.

Is Getting Dental Implants Safe?

Dental implants have been used for more than half a century by now, and they’ve proven themselves to be a very safe and effective treatment with a success rate of around 95%. The potential for complications is still there, however, so it’s important to find a trustworthy expert to handle the procedure. Dr. Beshore has completed state-of-the-art training for dental implant placements, and Dr. Heck has put a lot of focus on implants over the course of his career; you can count on them to make the decisions that will leave you smiling in the long run.

Do Dental Implants Have Diet Restrictions?

You can eat whatever you want once your mouth has fully healed after implant surgery; the chewing power of implants is comparable to real teeth, so you can enjoy a lot of tougher foods that would give you trouble with traditional dentures. Of course, the weeks immediately following surgery are another story. You’ll have to be gentle with your implants while your mouth is still healing. Stick to applesauce, smoothies, and other soft-foods for the first 24 hours. You should also plan on eating eggs, cheese, yogurt, fish, chicken, ground beef, soft potatoes, and other foods that won’t put too much strain on your mouth in the months to come.

How Can I Care for Dental Implants?

Caring for dental implants isn’t much different than caring for real teeth. Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Use a soft nylon toothbrush that doesn’t scratch the implant.
  • Choose toothpaste with nonabrasive ingredients.
  • Use dental floss that has been designed for dental implants.
  • Stay away from excessively sticky or hard foods that could damage the implant posts or the restoration.
  • Avoid tobacco products that can lead to gum disease.
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