A dental implant is a surgical-grade titanium post that is shaped like a tooth root. Dr. Eric Klumb and Dr. Mike Menolascino have successfully placed hundreds of dental implants for many years, offering the treatment as a steadfast method of natural-looking tooth replacement. As highly trained dentists, they have utilized implant dentistry to help restore the smiles of hundreds of patients throughout St. Louis County.

How Do Dental Implants Work?

Dental implants are placed under the gums where a natural tooth originally resides and left to integrate with a patient’s jawbone before being used to replace teeth or anchor dentures. This allows dental implants to serve as a reliable foundation for a custom-made restoration. An implant typically requires no additional maintenance besides the care necessary to keep natural teeth in good condition. The placement process usually involves a local anesthetic and the procedure is often described as preferable when compared to a tooth extraction. Due to the expertise of our Eureka dentists, there is seldom much pain or discomfort and patients are frequently surprised at how straightforward the procedure is.

What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

Dental implants and restorations can be a terrific choice for replacing missing teeth or anchoring loose dentures or partials. They can provide a natural and comfortable way to improve a patient’s bite, smile, and confidence. Depending on your needs, dental implant treatment can:

  • Serve as a long-lasting solution to restore a full, healthy smile
  • Prevent further bone loss caused by missing teeth
  • Prevent the shifting of surrounding teeth and/or changes to the facial shape experienced as a result of absent spaces between teeth
  • Recover biting function and alleviate discomfort when eating

These sophisticated tooth replacements can allow patients to achieve a durable and secure restoration indistinguishable from surrounding teeth. Beyond the aesthetic benefits, the ways in which dental implants promote renewed tooth form and function can also positively impact an individual’s oral health and wellness.

Who is a Candidate for Dental Implants?

In order to ensure a dental implant is properly anchored, patients interested in treatment should have an adequate amount of jawbone density to accommodate the implant’s insertion into the gumline. Additionally, the surrounding gum tissue should be relatively healthy enough to heal around the implant following placement. An unimpeded healing process is pivotal for long-term success with dental implants, so those undergoing chemotherapy or cancer treatment may not be good candidates for the procedure.

After assessment of your dental examination, medical and dental history review, radiographs, and photos, our dentists can determine if implants are right for you. If you require prior dental work before you the procedure, Drs. Klumb or Menolascino can talk to you about bone grafting and periodontal care (gum disease treatment) to help you improve your oral health before implant placement.

Types of Dental Implants

The dental implants offered today give us options that we didn’t have until very recently. We can now successfully replace missing or lost teeth with implants and porcelain teeth that are natural-looking, solid, and predictable. Versatile in usage, dental implants can restore a single tooth, multiple consecutive missing teeth, or entire dental arches for full mouth rehabilitation.

Single Tooth Implants

Dental implants are typically considered an optimal solution to replace individual missing teeth, provided a patient retains enough bone density to support the implant. Once the implant has successfully integrated to the jaw structure, a porcelain same-day crown—custom-made in our office to match the shade and proportions of your surrounding teeth—can typically be utilized for a discreet and seamless tooth replacement.

Multiple Teeth Implants

If your teeth have three or more absent spaces in a row, dental implants can act as a state-of-the-art solution to anchor a custom-designed dental bridge. The prosthesis is specially fabricated to span the length of the gap and fit harmoniously within your smile and bite. While unanchored dental bridges are traditionally attached to dental crowns on either side of the absent space, using implants to affix the bridge can typically provide greater security as well as a healthier bone structure.

Implant Dentures

Utilizing dental implants to secure full or partial dentures are often considered superior to traditional, removable dentures. Rather than fastening these restorations with messy pastes and adhesives, implant dentures are securely affixed to the jawbone. This enhanced support typically provides a more comfortable denture fit, significantly minimized potential for gum slippage, and the ability to eat tougher foods. For patients with adequate bone volume, implant dentures can be an ideal way to replace a full upper and/or lower arch.

All-on-4® Implant Dentures

All-on-4® refers to a special technique designed to anchor a set of custom-made dentures to the upper and/or lower jaw using dental implants. While properly securing a denture to the jawbone usually requires around eight implants, All-on-4® makes it possible to fully restore your dental arch with only four implants placed at strategic angles. Since All-on-4® requires fewer implants for support, the technique can allow patients with less bone volume to still replace their missing teeth with implant dentures. All-on-4® can also minimize the cost and downtime associated with the implant dentures procedure. Depending on the bone volume available, some patients may be a better candidate for All-on-6®, which uses six implants during the same treatment rather than four.

How is the Dental Implant Procedure Performed?

At the time of treatment, Drs. Klumb or Menolascino will use a local anesthetic to help minimize discomfort during the procedure. Your implant(s) will then be inserted into the gumline and allowed to incorporate into the jaw for integration. The healing and fusing process can take several weeks, depending upon the jaw structure and other factors. Following sufficient healing, the implant can be uncovered with a simple procedure. The inside of the implant body is hollow with threads. These inside threads allow an abutment or post to be screwed into it without the need for anesthetic or pain.

A ceramic or metal abutment is placed, impressions taken, and then sent to a ceramist for tooth fabrication. For some cases, the tooth can be made in one day with the CEREC® porcelain system, allowing insertion of the crown on the same day the post is placed. The artificial tooth is custom-made to match the shade and shape of the natural teeth. If cosmetic changes are desired, we will plan to enhance those teeth around the implant.

How Do I Care for My Dental Implants?

Daily proper at-home cleaning (brushing and flossing) by the patient, and once or twice yearly follow-ups by the hygienist and dental staff are critical to long term success. Poor hygiene, smoking, certain medical conditions, trauma, grinding, and clenching are some of the factors that may lead to implant failure. With the right care, the result of treatment should be a tooth that is as secure and aesthetically pleasing as the original tooth. Implants typically have an over 95 percent success rate. Dr. Menolascino, Dr. Klumb, and their team will review these factors with you and determine the possible influence in your specific situation.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Dental implants are meant to be a long-term tooth replacement that lasts as long as your natural teeth. Just like real teeth, your implants should stay in good condition as long as you practice good oral hygiene and keep up with semi-annual dental checkups. If you neglect your oral health, bacteria buildup and decay can cause your implants to fail in the same fashion that excessive plaque would deteriorate your natural teeth. Drs. Klumb and Menolascino recommend taking precautionary measures to protect your restorations, such as sleeping with a night guard if you grind your teeth and wearing a mouth guard if you play contact sports. With proper care and the necessary safeguards, your dental implants should last for years—and even decades—into the future.

How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?

While we cannot provide an accurate cost estimate until your needs are assessed in a consultation, the average cost of dental implants at our practice is approximately $3,000 to $4,000 depending on your insurance (if applicable). Fortunately, this range is well below the average price of implant restorations nationwide. Since the dental implant process will be different for each patient depending on their existing oral health and unique needs, the cost will be similarly personalized according to the number of implants you require, the location of your missing teeth, and whether preliminary treatments are necessary before implant placement, among other factors. At Eureka Smiles, we make sure to offer free implant consultations so you can gain an idea of your needs before proceeding with treatment.

To make your expenses from dental implant treatment more affordable, Dr. Klumb and Dr. Menolascino accept dental financing through CareCredit®. Once approved, this healthcare lending company offers qualified applicants a range of low- to no-interest payment plans that can bring the cost of treatment into budget. Please don’t hesitate to contact our practice to learn more about our accepted payment methods. As receiving dental implants can minimize the likelihood of problems that commonly arise when a tooth goes unreplaced—such as the shifting of surrounding teeth—many patients consider dental implants a long-term investment into their oral health and smile.

Are There Any Alternatives to Dental Implants?

If you are not a good candidate for dental implants, or if you simply desire an alternative method of achieving a tooth replacement, Drs. Klumb and Menolascino can also restore your smile through dental bridges. Dental bridges involve attaching a custom-made prosthesis to adjacent healthy teeth on either side of a gap. The restoration is crafted to fit comfortably within your bite and does not require oral surgery or jawbone density for support. While they do not usually last as long as dental implants, dental bridges can be an excellent way to restore the form and function that is often lost when a tooth is missing.

How To Choose the Right Implant Dentist

Successfully restoring a missing tooth with a natural-looking replacement is a complex technique that requires the care of an experienced team of dentists. It is not uncommon for periodontists, implant surgeons, and cosmetic dentists to work together during the dental implant process to achieve the most optimal result. While selecting the best implant dentist for your needs and treatment goals may seem overwhelming, following a few simple tips can help you narrow your options:

  • Check credentials. Research your prospective dentist’s educational background and learn where he or she received their training. This can give you an idea of how long they have been in private practice, as well as whether they specialize in any given treatment.
  • Learn about post-graduate training. It’s in your best interest to choose someone with extensive experience working with dental implants to perform your procedure, so read a prospective dentist’s online biography and check whether they have undergone continuing education courses on implant dentistry, periodontics, or oral surgery. This additional training beyond the minimum hours required to practice dentistry can help you ascertain a dentist’s level of expertise in placing dental implants.
  • See dental treatment before-and-after photos. It’s important for your tooth replacement to look and function like a natural tooth, allowing proper biting function while blending in seamlessly with your smile. During a consultation, ask to view the outcomes achieved with previous dental implant patients and determine whether the results align with your goals for treatment.
  • Read dentist reviews. The experiences of other patients can give you a comprehensive understanding of the type of care provided by a cosmetic dentist. Use these assessments to gain insight into his or her ability to achieve high levels of patient satisfaction after treatment, as well as what you can expect from the dental implant procedure.

Having successfully served the implant dentistry needs of our patients, our team is committed to making your implant experience a great one!

Additional Dental Implant FAQs

Are dental implants covered by insurance?

Insurance plans usually do not cover the cost of dental implants, but a member of our office would be happy to check the terms of your policy to help you learn exactly which benefits you are entitled to. Drs. Klumb and Menolascino offer uninsured patients membership to The Smile Club, a program exclusive to Eureka Smiles that can help you save on all kinds of dental treatment. We can provide a complete breakdown of all your payment options once you visit our practice.

How long does it take to get dental implants?

The dental implant process is generally completed over a period of three to six months, as several weeks are required to allow the titanium post of the implant to fuse with your jawbone. This period of healing is necessary to facilitating a natural look and feel for the dental implant. After it has successfully integrated with your jaw structure, a restoration that resembles a natural tooth can be affixed to your implant, concluding the treatment process.

Do dental implants hurt?

Patients are often surprised at how little pain is experienced during the dental implant process, and treatment is usually less uncomfortable than men and women anticipate. Implant surgery will be performed under local anesthesia or IV sedation, so the procedure should cause little discomfort, if any. After the implant is placed, it is normal to experience some mild swelling in the gum tissue, but this temporary inflammation is usually managed well with oral pain medication.

Are dental implants safe?

When treatment is performed by a team of qualified dentists, periodontists, and oral surgeons, dental implants can be a safe and highly effective solution to replace missing teeth. In fact, implants have a success rate of roughly 95 percent and can provide decades of use. The best way to maximize the safety of the dental implant process is to entrust your treatment with an experienced restorative dentist capable of providing a high standard of care.

Why do dental implants fail?

While rare, dental implant failure can result from a complication that prevents the implant from fusing with your jawbone. Those who do not have enough bone density to support an implant may experience problems during the osseointegration (bone fusing) process, or the implant may be rejected due to smoking, gum disease, or poor oral hygiene.

Similarly, implant failure can also occur if an infection develops after the implant has successfully integrated with the bone structure. This complication is most commonly seen in the form of peri-implantitis, an infection that affects the underlying bone around the implant. Many of the factors that cause early implant failure can also lead to peri-implantitis, such as smoking, gum disease, trauma, and decay caused by poor oral hygiene.

How does smoking affect dental implants?

Smoking has been proven to inhibit the healing process after implant surgery, and presents a greater likelihood of infection when compared to dental implant placement in non-smokers. As a result, smoking can significantly increase the risk of implant failure.

Is it possible to get a full mouth of dental implants?

While possible, using a dental implant to replace each individual tooth in the mouth requires multiple surgeries as well as substantial bone support that is not always available; therefore, our dentists find it more effective and affordable for patients to recover their smile by using a few implants to anchor a partial denture, full denture, or dental bridge.

What is the difference between a dental implant and a dental crown?

A dental implant is utilized to replace a missing tooth, while a crown is designed to strengthen a tooth that is weak but still intact. If a damaged tooth still has its root fixed in the jawbone, a dental crown can often be enough to restore the tooth structure; however, if a tooth is missing or otherwise separated from the gumline, an implant is considered the only way to replace the tooth root while maintaining bone stimulation. Although they are both frequently placed together as a complete implant restoration for missing teeth, dental crowns and dental implants are used to treat different concerns.

Will I need bone grafting for dental implants?

Most patients do not need bone grafting before their implant procedure, but this depends on how much bone density is available to support your implant(s). If there is not enough jawbone volume to provide a stable foundation for the implant, a bone graft may be necessary to regenerate new bone. It is generally true that the more bone loss is experienced the longer a tooth has been missing. Consequently, the likelihood of needing a bone graft increases with the amount of time spent without a tooth replacement.

What are mini dental implants?

Mini dental implants work similarly to full-sized implants, but they are only 1.8 to 3.3 mm wide in diameter. Regular dental implants are typically between 3.4 to 5.8 mm wide, so mini dental implants are notably smaller. These scaled-down restorations can be a more effective option in cases where there is less space available to place an implant.

Will I need someone to drive me to and from implant surgery?

Most patients are able to drive home without assistance if they had a single dental implant placed under local anesthesia; however, individuals receiving multiple implants may need to arrange for a ride to and from their appointment. Placement of more than one implant often requires IV sedation during surgery, which can temporarily impair your motor skills and take hours to wear off. That said, it is usually not safe to drive after receiving IV sedation.

If you have any questions about our cosmetic dental treatment options, or if you are interested in scheduling a consultation, please contact Eureka Smiles today.