Introduction to Dental Implants

We are excited to announce that Dr. Judd Shenk is now certified in dental implants! We look forward to adding implant dentistry to our featured services and are happy to assist you with any questions you may have. If you are missing teeth for any reason, dental implants may be the option for you!


implants2Why Choose Dental Implants

  • Permanent Tooth Restoration
  • Ability to Eat and Speak Without Loose Dentures
  • No More Embarrassing Gaps In Your Smile!
  • Saves Bone and Surrounding Teeth
  • No Need for Fixed or Removable Appliances
  • Renewed Confidence in Your Appearance

Missing Teeth?

You're not alone! Did you know that 69% of adults between the ages of 35-44 have lost one or more of their permanent teeth?


Roswell Dentist Answers: What Are Dental Implants?

Are you aware that dental implants are typically the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth?

Rather than resting on the gum line like removable dentures, or using near by teeth as anchors for fixed bridges, dental implants are long-term replacements that your doctor places in your jaw bone.

Missing Teeth? Got Dental Implants?

implants3Did you know that 69% of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost a minimum of 1 permanent tooth due to gum disease or an accident? Furthermore, by age 74, 26% of adults have zero permanent teeth remaining!

Technology has evolved to the point where these patients have alternative treatments outside of dentures or fixed bridges. Dentures and fixed bridges tend to have problems associated with them as time goes on. Dentures can become loose and make embarrassing clicking sounds when people talk or eat. They can also lead to bone loss. Fixed bridges can affect the adjacent teeth that are healthy. Not to say that a denture or a fixed bridge is not a good option. They are both very good and appropriate options. However, the research and science has clearly shown dental implants to be a much better long-term treatment for the patient.

Dental implants are long-term replacements that your doctor surgically places in the jawbone. These dental implants are composed of titanium metal that “fuses” with the jawbone through a process called “osseointegration,” these implants never slip or make embarrassing noises that show the world that you have “false teeth,” and because they are made of titanium you do not have to worry about decay like you see with fixed bridges. Also, given the fact that the titanium is surgically inserted into your jawbone you will typically not have an issue with bone loss.

Dental implants have been around for a while now. Doctors have been placed them for over 20 years and the best part is that most of the implants that were placed in the late 80’s and early 90’s are still operating at peak performance. If properly cared for, dental implants in Roswell, GA can last a lifetime.

Basics of Dental Implants

implants4If you are interested in replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant it is important to understand the basics. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that has been surgically placed in the jawbone and acts as an anchor to stabilize an artificial tooth. Dental implants can replace one, some, or all missing teeth and are the most permanent, natural-looking substitute on the market. Dental implants are made from different types of metallic and/or bone-like ceramic materials that are compatible with body tissue.

A dental implant is comprised of 3 parts: the titanium implant, the abutment, and the crown. The titanium implant is surgically placed in the jawbone where the titanium will then fuse with the jawbone. The abutment fits over the part of the implant that is protruding from the gum line, and the crown is the part that looks like a natural tooth that attaches to the abutment.

Many times people who are missing one tooth opt to get a fixed bridge; but there are a few things that you need to know before taking this route. A bridge may damage the healthy, adjacent teeth that may or may not need to be restored in the future. Then depending on the age of the patient there is the additional cost of possibly having to replace the bridge once, twice or more over the course of a lifetime. This also holds true for a removable partial denture. Research has shown that within five to seven years there is a failure rate of up to 30% in teeth located next to a fixed bridge or removable partial denture. Clearly opting to get a fixed bridge or a removable partial denture can end up being much more expensive in the long run.

Many times people who are missing one tooth opt to get a fixed bridge; but there are a few things that you need to know before taking this rout. A bridge may damage the healthy, adjacent teeth that may or may not need to be restored in the future. Then depending on the age of the patient there is the additional cost of possibly having to replace the bridge once, twice, or more over the course of a lifetime. This also holds true for a removable partial denture. Research has shown that within five to seven years there is a failure rate of up to 30% in teeth located next to a fixed bridge or removable partial denture. Clearly opting to get a fixed bridge or a removable partial denture can end up being much more expensive in the long run.

implants5As you can see in the illustration, the presence of natural teeth or implants preserves the jawbone. When a tooth is extracted or missing, the bone may erode and/or weaken to the point where bone grafting will be necessary for placement of the dental implant. When the implant integrates with the bone in your jaw that implant will provide the same stability as the tooth that was previously there.

One of the things that patients and doctors alike can hang their hat on is that there is over 50 years of clinical research supporting dental implants. Most of the time implants are the best long-term treatment option to replace missing teeth.

woman eating apple_thumbDental implants closely resemble the look and "feel" of your real teeth. They don't rely on neighboring teeth and tissue for support (unlike traditional bridges or dentures), so there is less risk of infection, periodontal disease, and bone loss. Dental implants actually help hold the bone in the areas where they are placed because they act the same as the natural tooth root.

If you are missing most or all of your teeth and wear dentures, dental implants will provide stability and security. Dentures attached to implants won't slip, click, or affect your speech like traditional dentures, so you can feel confident when talking and eating. Dental implants are becoming the alternative of choice to traditional dentures.

Most patients that have had a denture in the past, and then opted for dental implants, speak of the difference in quality of life. The implants will feel like natural teeth and you will not have to worry about bone loss making you look older or embarrassing moments with the dentures. Not to mention the difference when you eat!

Dental ImplantsDentures
  • Made of titanium. Titanium is a metal compatible with the human body. Over time, the titanium implant will fuse with the bone.
  • Very stable. Implants have a root-like portion that fits into the bone socket like natural teeth. Once the implant is placed, it will act as a permanent replacement for the lost tooth.
  • Can replace one or more teeth. Implants can be used to replace just one tooth or many. This allows for more flexibility in restoring your smile.
  • Will last a lifetime. With proper care, dental implants need never be replaced. Just like a natural tooth, good oral hygiene will ensure its longevity.
  • Preserves jawbone. Because of the root like shape of the implant, the bone where the tooth or teeth were lost will be naturally stimulated and not deteriorate over time.
  • Made of uncomfortable materials. Dentures are made of acrylic, cast metal, and flexible plastic, which may irritate the gums.
  • Unstable. Because they are not fixed in the mouth, dentures can move around and make clicking sounds when you eat or speak. And the ability to chew naturally is greatly diminished.
  • Only used when many or all teeth lost. Because of their design, dentures are only an option when many or all teeth have been lost.
  • Will need to be replaced. Dentures will need to be re-fitted, re-made, or re-aligned as your gums and jaw structure change with age.
  • Does not preserve jawbone. Because the denture rests on the gums, there is little to no stimulation for the jawbone. The jawbone will deteriorate over time without this stimulation.

It is possible to lose a single tooth due to gum disease, injury, or decay and there are many patients whose chief complaint is a single missing tooth. Replacing the missing tooth is commonly done through a removable partial denture, a fixed partial denture (three unit bridge), or a dental implant. There are positives to each restoration; however, dental implants are commonly considered the most successful.

dentalImpantsBeforeAfter2Removable Partial Dentures

Removable partial dentures consist of replacement teeth attached to gum-colored plastic bases, which are connected by metal framework. Removable partial dentures attach to the natural teeth with a series of metal clasps. However, most patients are dissatisfied with the bulk of the prosthesis and the unsightly clasps needed to hold it in place.

Fixed Partial Denture or Three Unit Bridge

A fixed partial denture is commonly called a “bridge” because it essentially bridges the space between teeth with a prosthesis. Bridges are cemented to the teeth on either side of the missing tooth, commonly called the abutment teeth. Before the restoration can be placed, the abutment teeth must be ground down to support the cemented bridge.

Before dental implants were available, the fixed partial denture was considered the most effective way to replace a missing tooth. However, it has drawbacks such as jawbone deterioration and tooth decay in the adjacent teeth that have made it a less preferred option.

Dental Implants for Single Missing Teeth

Dental implants are currently considered the best treatment option available for replacing a single missing tooth. Implants are designed to mimic the lost tooth and its root. Upon placement, the titanium of the implant begins to integrate with the surrounding bone in a process called osseointegration. The process of osseointegration creates a remarkably strong bond between the bone and the implant. This strong bond allows the implant to act as the natural tooth, supporting the bone tissue around it and restoring the ability to chew and speak normally.

Dental implants replace the missing tooth without sacrificing the health of the abutment teeth as with removable or fixed bridges. Implants are designed to last a lifetime, though the crown may require replacement after about ten years. Keeping a dental implant clean is similar to keeping the natural teeth clean; brushing and flossing daily and seeing the dentist at least twice a year is recommended. Implants are designed to look and feel like natural teeth and do not move when chewing food or talking.

Multiple Missing Teeth

Dental implants are now considered the standard of care for multiple missing teeth in Roswell ,GA, especially if the teeth lost are in a row. When multiple teeth are missing it is crucial to replace them in order to prevent bone loss in the jaw and facial structure collapse.

Dental Implants vs. Traditional Dental Bridge

A dental bridge is a commonly used solution to replacing multiple teeth, however, a bridge is no longer considered the best treatment option. Bridges require the permanent damage of the anchor teeth to which the bridge is attached. Such damage can cause the anchor teeth to fail as well due to the stress the bridge places on them. Studies have shown that bridges eventually lead to the loss of otherwise healthy teeth because of the unnecessary wear and tear. Additionally, the bridge does nothing to preserve the jawbone, which, without the stimulation of the natural tooth, will begin to dissolve away.

Dental Implants are now considered the standard of care because the implant acts as a tooth root and its stimulation of the bone preserve the shape and integrity of the jaw. The implant is made of titanium, which naturally integrates with the bone forming a permanent, strong replacement tooth. The implant cannot move or be removed so there is no longer a need to fear eating or speaking clearly.

Restoring Your Smile

When restoring multiple teeth in a row, your doctor will first consider placing implants where each tooth has been lost. These implants would function as your natural teeth and would be permanent restorations. However, not every patient will qualify for this many implants. Immediately after a tooth has been lost or removed, the jawbone begins to deteriorate without the natural stimulation of the tooth root. If there is not enough bone left to place an implant, your doctor may suggest bone-grafting procedures to rebuild the bone or to place an implant supported bridge.

bridge1Implant supported bridges are similar to traditional bridges in that the prosthesis is attached to two anchor teeth, bridging the gap where a tooth is missing. However, with an implant-supported bridge, the prosthesis is anchored to two dental implants rather than healthy teeth. This procedure removes the risk and stress on the two healthy teeth that would have otherwise been damaged in order to support the prosthetic with a traditional dental bridge.

During the restoration process, two or more implants are placed. While the implant is integrating with the bone, a temporary restoration called a “flipper” is worn. The flipper acts as replacement teeth during the healing period. Healing generally takes about 4 to 6 months. Then, the fixed replacement teeth can be attached to the implants and the procedure is complete.

Unlike a regular denture, which rests on your gums, implant supported dentures are anchored in your mouth by dental implants. Most often, this form of denture is placed in the lower jaw because dentures tend to be less stable in the lower jaw. However, implant supported dentures can be placed in in the upper jaw as well. In this type of denture, your implant supported denture snaps into place on the implants surgically placed in your jaw. This prevents the denture from slipping or coming loose in the mouth. It also removes the need for denture paste or adhesives. The implant supported denture can be removed at night for cleaning or, if you have a fixed implant supported denture placed, your dentures will act as permanent teeth.

Basics of Implant Supported Dentures There are two types of implant supported dentures, bar-retained dentures and ball-retained dentures. Both types of dentures require two or more dental implants to be placed and both will provide you with a beautiful, natural smile.

PDM_Bar-Retained-DenturesBar-Retained Dentures

In the bar-retained type of denture, three or more implants are surgically placed in the gums. Attached to these implants is a metal bar that runs along the gum line. The denture then rests on the metal bar and is attached using clips or other types of attachments. This type of implant-supported denture holds the denture in place without the steel studs used in ball-retained dentures.

Many patients prefer this type of denture to a traditional denture because it alleviates much of the discomfort and rubbing of traditional dentures. The denture is held in place far more securely and is less likely to come loose.


PDM_Ball-Retained-DenturesBall-Retained Dentures

Ball-retained dentures, also called stud-attachment dentures, use a ball-and-socked design to attach the dentures to the implants surgically placed in the gums. Traditionally, the denture is fitted with sockets and the implants have a ball on top of them. The denture and implants snap together where the ball and sockets meet.

This form of denture is considered exceptionally secure and will allow for an open upper palate denture. Ball-retained dentures are less likely to slip or move in the mouth, and will allow denture wearers to eat more foods they love and speak more clearly!

implants6Advances in technology have made it possible for almost anyone to be a candidate for dental implants. Missing teeth can be embarrassing and can make it hard to speak clearly or eat the foods you love.

The old solutions to missing teeth were dentures, bridges, and crowns but these solutions provide only short-term results and can be difficult to maintain.

Dental implants in Roswell, GA are a comfortable, natural-looking alternative to natural teeth. Implants not only preserve the bone tissue, they also act and look like natural teeth – allowing you to eat and speak clearly. They can be used to replace one or many missing teeth.

During your dental implant consultation, the doctor will evaluate your mouth and determine the best possible dental implant procedure to meet your needs. Implants are a viable option for most patients and have even been performed on patients with diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Because dental implants require surgery, patients must be in good health, both general and oral, have healthy gums and sufficient bone to support the implant. Some chronic problems and diseases may decrease your success rate.

An Ideal candidate for dental implants:

  • Is in good general health
  • Has good oral hygiene
  • Has healthy gum tissue
  • Doesn't smoke
  • Doesn't have any chronic problems (clenching, grinding, bruxism) or chronic diseases (diabetics should have control over their blood sugars)
  • Isn't prone to Infection or have periodontal disease
  • Can afford a cosmetic/restorative dental procedure (most insurance does not cover)
Patients who have any of the following conditions will need to discuss their options with the dentist.
  • Existing Dental Work. Implants can either reinforce or replace existing dental work such as bridges or dentures.
  • Bone Loss. As long as there is enough bone tissue in the area, dental implants may still be successful. If there is not enough bone, bone-grafting procedures may be required before an implant can be placed.
  • Existing Medical Conditions. Discuss any medications or existing medical conditions with your doctor. Generally, if you can have typical dental work done, then you can undergo the dental implant procedure.
  • Gum Disease. Gum disease can affect the success of a dental implant. Patients with moderate to severe gum disease may require treatment prior to implant placement.
  • Smoking Habit. Discuss how often you smoke with your doctor. Smoking can affect the success of the implant as well as your overall dental health.

Schedule an appointment today to determine if you are a candidate for dental implants!

Below are some commonly asked questions about Dental Implants that Dr. Shenk has answered.

How long have you been placing implants?

We have been working with a few select surgeons for over 10 years to provide the best possible clinical results.

What does the implant process involve?

The process is divided into 2 phases. The first is the surgical phase. We work with the surgeon to determine the best placement of the implant for the future restoration utilizing study models and various Xrays. The site is prepared if necessary with a bone graft and the implant is placed at that time or several months in the future depending on the situation.

The second phase is the restorative phase. If it is a single tooth implant or bridge an impression ( model ) is made of the implant and opposing teeth in our office. Then the final custom abutement and crown are designed on the computer and then fabricated utilizing cadcam technology. You then return to the office about three weeks later and have them permanently seated in your mouth.

If the final restoration is a removable denture, special attachments or bars are placed on top of the implants with the corresponding attachment inside the denture.

What kind of long-term results do you see?

The long term results are excellent. You can't get decay in an artificial root or crown, but you can get periodontal disease! Therefore good home care, regular cleanings, exams and Xrays are a necessity. Of course if that had always been done you may not have needed the implant in the first place.

What are the main advantages to implants over dentures or bridges?

Historically if you are missing a single tooth it could only be replaced by a fixed bridge or a removable partial denture.

The bridge is made by crowning the adjacent teeth with the missing tooth ( pontic ) in between the two crowns. Many times these teeth didn't need a crown and were only prepared to make the bridge. Since an implant crown is free standing the adjacent teeth don't need to be utilized.

If a removable partial denture is used you have a lot of hardware in your mouth. There is a metal framework with clasps that wrap around multiple teeth for retention, a plastic piece that holds the false tooth and fits against the gum. These are uncomfortable trap food and promote gum disease and decay.

Implant retained or supported dentures have the advantage of minimal movement and tissue irritation. They also allow you to eat and speak in a more normal manner since they have such good retention.

What can patients expect if they choose not to get dental implant surgery?

If you choose not to get the implants you will either utilize a bridge or a removable denture. Compared to an implant a bridge has a shorter lifespan. Removable dentures are uncomfortable and need to be relined or remade every 3-5 years. They also trap food, effect what you can eat and effect your speech.

If you choose not to replace the missing tooth your teeth will shift which may cause bite problems, TMJ problems, and increase the likely hood of decay and periodontal disease.

Explain the significance of 3D imaging in relation to placing implants and the benefit to the patient?

3D imaging brings clarity to a complex situation. It gives information on bone density, width and depth which are all critical factors when placing implants. In multiple implant placement cases it can be used in conjunction with a surgical stent to insure precise placement of the implants for optimum results.