What Is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a titanium post that replaces the root of a missing or damaged tooth. Once the post is in place, your dentist then places a crown on the implant. After the process is complete, you can eat and chew, just like with a natural tooth. Dental implants can be the perfect solution for people who are missing one or more teeth. This durable, effective tooth replacement option offers the closest match to the look, feel, and function of your own natural teeth, and it provides aesthetic and cost benefits that are not available with other options, like bridges or dentures.

Our doctors at Union Oral Surgery are board-certified surgical specialists who have placed more than 7,000 dental implants for patients of all ages.

Our Dental Implant Team

Implant coordinator Nicole Huneycutt, RDH, oral surgeon Steven Patty, DDS, and oral surgeon Kelley Lybrand, DDS

The Implant Process

Below is the general process for getting a dental implant. For some patients, it may be possible to complete multiple steps in one visit.

1

The first step is for one of our doctors to remove the fractured or damaged tooth that needs replacement. The area where the tooth was removed is then prepared for the implant.

2

This area must then heal for several weeks.

3

On your next visit to Union Oral Surgery, the titanium implant is placed. This procedure takes less than an hour.

4

This area can then take several weeks to heal.

5

Our doctor places the abutment, which is an extension of the metal implant. (In some cases, the abutment is placed at the same time as the implant.)

6

After another period of healing, your dentist places a crown on top of the implant.

Advantages Of Dental Implants

  • They are the only restoration treatment that conserves bone in the area of a missing tooth, which helps to preserve the natural shape of the face.

  • Implants are the most cost-effective way to replace teeth. If cared for properly, implants can last a lifetime. Alternatives like dental bridges usually need to be replaced every eight to 10 years.

  • Implants don’t decay and are five times stronger than natural teeth.

  • Healthy surrounding teeth are not impacted. In contrast, dental bridges require filing down adjacent teeth to allow space for anchoring crowns, and dentures can damage existing teeth.

Our Dental Implant Coordinator

Nicole Huneycutt, RDH, puts patients at ease with her kind demeanor and knowledge of the dental implant process. She answers patient questions, assists our doctors, and helps patients maintain their implants. Nicole is a registered dental hygienist with nearly 20 years of experience in the dental field.

Caring For Dental Implants

The surgeons at Union Oral Surgery have decades of experience placing and caring for dental implants. Our practice has made significant investments in technology, which allow our oral surgery team to properly maintain dental implants.

By utilizing Airflow Therapy, we can remove plaque and biofilm from supra and subgingival implant surfaces, preventing mucositis and peri-implantitis. At 25 micron particles, the cleaning powder we use with Airflow Therapy also provides gentle, comfortable treatment without scratching the implant surface. Airflow Therapy can also be used to eliminate biofilm that accumulates around dental restorations, including hybrid dentures, and implant supported bridges.

Please remember that dental implant maintenance with Airflow Therapy DOES NOT replace regular dental hygiene appointments patients need with their dentist.

Watch Our Videos To Learn More

Are Dental Implants Right For You?

Our doctors explain how dental implants work and who can benefit from this procedure.

Dental Implant Placement

When local business owner, Archie Morgan, had to replace a bad tooth, he chose the oral surgeons at Union Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center in Monroe. Watch this video to see Archie describe his experience right before and immediately after undergoing this procedure.

After Dental Implant Surgery

Watch our video to learn what you should do after your dental implant procedure.

Maintaining & Repairing Dental Implants

Dental implants have evolved over many years and are now recognized as being so successful that most manufacturers offer a limited guarantee. Union Oral Surgery has made a commitment to their patients and referring offices to offer outstanding care, along with that we pledge to use quality implant products. However, like tires on a car or filters in an air conditioning system, there will be times when maintenance or repair is required.

Dental implants can be used to restore a single missing tooth with a crown, multiple missing teeth with a dental bridge, all teeth with an implant supported removable denture or an implant-supported fixed appliance. When there are more pieces associated with the restoration there is the potential for more replacement parts.

Dental implants require exceptional hygiene and will possibly need additional preventative cleaning appointments with the hygienist. At times it may be recommended that treatment cleaning is needed. Union Oral Surgery makes every effort to limit additional cost, but, at times it will be unavoidable. It is our intent that an estimate will be given when there are further charges for repair or replacement parts.