If you’ve lost teeth via extraction, damage, or decay and you think dentures are your only option, think again! A dental implant is a tooth-like replacement that is firmly placed in your mouth by attaching it to a metal post implanted in your jawbone. It can replace a single tooth or an entire row of teeth and, unlike dentures, it’s a fixed, permanent solution. We know oral surgery can be daunting, which is why at Bunker Hill Dentistry we make every effort to provide a relaxed, soothing environment for your dental implant procedure. Don’t let any worries keep you from benefiting from this transformative treatment at the hands of our experienced team. Benefits of Dental Implants Here’s what a dental implant can do for you: Improved chewing ability – Enjoy those foods again that you had to quit eating due to lost teeth. Enhanced appearance – Replace unsightly tooth gaps with natural-looking prostheses. Less prone to plaque buildup – Implants are easier to clean than tooth-supported bridges. Reduced teeth grinding – Traditional dentures can create an uneven bite that causes bruxism. Higher self-esteem – Look great and feel great! More comfortable – Implants are fixed in place, just like your natural teeth. Improved speech and sense of taste – There’s nothing covering the roof of your mouth. Better oral health – There’s less risk of bone shrinkage and bone loss due to missing teeth. Permanent solution – With good care, implants can last a lifetime. Why Bunker Hill Dentistry? Dr. Le and his wife and office manager Ann Le Specialists – Dr. Le is an implants specialist and holds a Fellowship with the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. Serene setting – Our office is designed to provide a calm, relaxing environment to help put your mind at ease during treatment. Take a tour. Client satisfaction – We have one mission – total client satisfaction. “Care, Comfort, Convenience” is our guarantee to every client. More about Bunker Hill Dentistry. Reception room at Bunker Hill Dentistry State of the art – We utilize the most advanced technology such as the i-CAT 3D x-ray machine, All-On-4® implants and an anesthesia-delivery wand, for faster and more accurate diagnosis and treatment. Conveniently located – Located in Memorial, just a short drive from Houston’s city center. Find us on the map. Who Is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants? Dental implants are a viable treatment for a wide range of patients older than 18 years of age…up to 80, 90, or beyond! Because the procedure involves surgery, it’s best if you’re a non-smoker/tobacco-user, in good oral and general health with healthy gums and jawbone. However, if you don’t have enough jawbone to attach the implant to, we can perform a bone graft so that you can still take advantage of dental implants. And even if you have other pre-existing conditions, you’re still likely to be a good fit for the treatment. How the Dental Implant Procedure Works The dental implant process happens in 6 stages: Stage #1: Consultation At your initial appointment, we will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your teeth and mouth to determine whether you are a good candidate for dental implants, or if another treatment method would work better for you (see Alternatives section below). We will explain the treatment, the timeline, the recovery process, and answer any questions you have. Stage #2: Bone Graft This stage will not be necessary for all patients, only those with insufficient healthy bone into which we can place the implants. If it is needed, we will perform the bone graft surgery, then you will need to let it heal for six months or longer before we can proceed with the implants. Learn more about bone grafts and understand who make good candidates, the different bone graft procedures, how the procedure works, and its effectiveness. Stage #3: Implantation As we go to place the titanium implant in your jaw, you will receive either local anesthetic (in the case of a single tooth replacement) or more extensive anesthesia (for multiple teeth) so that you experience no discomfort at all. The placement of the post is done by making a small cut in the gum where the prosthesis will go, drilling the post into the bone, and stitching the cut closed. This takes up to two hours per tooth. 3 components of a dental implant (top to bottom): restoration crown, abutment, and titanium post. Photo credit: Neville Desantis. Stage #4: Implantation Recovery Before moving on, we give your mouth up to six months to heal. During this time, the bone grows around the implant, creating the ultra-stability that dental implants are known for. You’ll need to take any prescribed antibiotics as directed after your surgery and may wish to take over-the-counter pain relievers, as well. You may have some swelling, bruising, or slight bleeding initially. Eat a diet of soft foods for a few days and brush diligently but carefully so as to avoid disturbing the incision(s). Depending on the level of anesthesia you received and how you feel, you should be able to return to normal activities in a couple days. Stage #5: Placing the Abutment and Crown The abutment is the small piece that screws into the implant and will support a restorative crown (the “tooth” part). After attaching it to the implant, we make an impression of your mouth so that the porcelain crown can be matched perfectly to the size, shape, and the color of your natural teeth. Then, when it’s ready, you come back and we install it. In the interim, we will put a temporary crown over the abutment. Stage #6: Crown Recovery The recovery time for the final part of the treatment–placing the crowns–is much shorter than the other recovery times. The crowns may be sensitive for a few days, but this should dissipate relatively quickly. Long-term Effectiveness Dental Implant Before And After A healthy patient with good hygiene habits is extremely likely to enjoy dental implants for a lifetime without complications. These habits are the same ones that lead to healthy natural teeth: not chewing ice or non-food items such as pencils; brushing twice per day and flossing once per day; avoiding tobacco products, too many sweet foods, or sticky food; and scheduling regular dental checkups. Cost of Dental Implants Because the scope of the procedure depends on so many different factors that are unique to each patient, we need to evaluate you before we can give you a price estimate. We do our best to make the treatment as affordable as possible, working with you to arrange insurance coverage, FSA payment, or third-party financing. Spacing out payments works well with dental implants, which take several months from beginning to final restoration. Dental Implant Alternatives There are two primary alternatives to dental implants, and we offer all options here at Bunker Hill Dentistry. Each can be a good fit for the right candidate, and we can help you decide at your consultation. Dentures Dentures have been in use for well over 200 years to replace missing teeth, and while they’re not the most cutting-edge treatment, they are a proven, effective, and inexpensive form of dentistry. Also known as false teeth, dentures are removable, custom-fitted appliances that mimic real teeth and are held in place by oral adhesive. Patients on a budget who don’t want to invest in the permanent solution of dental implants may be a perfect fit for dentures. Learn more about Dentures Bridges A dental bridge is a device that features a single false tooth (called a pontic) or multiple, consecutive false teeth being attached to anchor teeth on each end (called abutments). In other words, it’s like a partial denture. A bridge can last 10 to 15 years with good care, and it’s more affordable than dental implants. Candidates need to have healthy teeth that can serve as abutments, because they will be supporting the bridge. Patients in need of a full row of replacement teeth would not be able to use bridges because there would be no abutments. Learn more about Dental Bridges All-on-4 All-on-4s are a special type of “traditional” dental implants that allow you to get “teeth in a day.” The “4” refers to four implants that then anchor multiple teeth, up to a complete row. For patients in need of major teeth replacement, All-on-4s are an amazing option. Learn more about All-on-4 Implants Make Implants Part of a Full Mouth Restoration Dental implants fall under the umbrella of restorative dentistry – treatments with the goal of restoring the look and function of your mouth. Implants can be used together with other treatments, such as crowns, veneers, and bonding, for a more impressive transformation. Learn more about our restorative dentistry services. Bunker Hill Dentistry’s Dr. Le is an Implant Specialist Dr. Tri Le is a widely recognized implant expert in the dental community, having published articles in dental journals on the subject. He received his training at Misch Implant Institute and holds a Fellowship with the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. He has been performing implant operations for more than a decade and is adept at handling even the most complicated cases. Schedule An Appointment Not been to Bunker Hill Dentistry before? To help you prepare for your first visit, read our new patient information page.