Experience and Training

Dr. Nightingale has been performing dental implant placement and bone regeneration procedures since 1987. As a Periodontist, he possesses a unique clinical skill set with education and experience in both regenerating soft tissue and bone and in the long term maintenance of the restored implant. This background is essential to meeting your expectation of an attractive, comfortable and long lasting implant supported restoration.

The Team Approach

There is no officially recognized specialty in dental implants.  The reputation of dental implants as highly successful replacements for natural teeth is due in large part to use of the team approach in which the implants are placed by a surgical specialist in close collaboration with the restorative dentist and dental laboratory who are ultimately responsible for the final restoration placed upon the implant. Dr. Nightingale understands the value of the team approach and works closely with your general dentist and laboratory to help insure that the restoration of your implant goes according to plan. Close rapport with both the patient and the restorative dentist is essential to maintaining healthy periodontal tissues around both teeth and implants.

Replacing a Missing Tooth

A natural tooth is anchored into the jawbone by its tooth root. Tooth roots attach firmly to the jawbone and keep your teeth stable when chewing solid foods.

Traditionally, if you were missing a tooth or if one needed to be extracted, the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth would be cut down and all three teeth replaced with a “bridge”.

The Alternative -
a Fixed Bridge
Two adjacent teeth have to be shaved down to receive the bridge.  Dental implants anchor directly to the bone and preserve the adjacent teeth.

Dental implants are the modern alternative. Instead of cutting down two perfectly healthy teeth, the Periodontist inserts a dental implant fixture into the jawbone to replace your missing tooth root. In many cases, the implant can be placed directly into the empty socket at the time of tooth extraction.  The implant becomes solidly fixed into your jaw (like a natural tooth root). After healing, your general dentist places a crown onto this artificial tooth root that looks, feels, and functions like your natural teeth. Quite simply, dental implants are the most natural and reliable replacement available for missing teeth.



Natural Tooth Dental Implant

Replacing Several Missing Teeth

Dental implants can be used to replace several or all of the teeth which traditionally might have been replaced with removable dentures.

Implant fixtures are used to replace the missing natural tooth roots and rigidly anchor the replacement crowns to the jawbone. The result is permanently attached replacement teeth that look and function just like natural teeth. 

By contrast, removable dentures have to be taken out and soaked at night. During the day, they can also look unnatural and rub painfully. Dentures and partials make it difficult or impossible to eat certain foods.

Replacement of teeth with dental implants can contribute greatly to an individual’s sense of well being and confidence.

Stabilizing Loose Dentures

In some cases, missing teeth may need to be replaced with a removable partial or full denture. This may be the most satisfactory approach when loss of jawbone or soft tissue has been more extensive.

Dental implants can be used quite effectively to anchor partial and full dentures. This prevents the slipping, irritation, and pain associated with “floating” partials and dentures.

Dental implants also eliminate the need for dental adhesives. This allows you to enjoy eating the foods you previously avoided. With dental implants, your partials or dentures are firmly anchored to the jawbone, causing them to feel much more like natural teeth. Implant retained dentures can create a tremendous improvement in an individual’s quality of life at any age.



Dental Implants Prevent Loss of Jawbone

Dental implants help preserve your jawbone and appearance by preventing loss of jawbone which often occurs when teeth are lost. Dental implants function like natural tooth roots. They stimulate the jawbone when you chew and prevent it from shrinking. You may have seen a person who looked prematurely old because their jawbone had shrunk after wearing floating dentures.

Facial appearance with healthy teeth and bones After tooth loss After tooth loss and
Subsequent bone loss

The Success Rate of Dental Implants

After their healing period, the success rate of dental implants is between 94% and 98%. If you are a non-smoker with good oral hygiene, the percentage is closer to 98%.

Does the Procedure Hurt?

The discomfort involved with receiving a dental implant is similar to that of having a cavity filled. It is often done under local anesthesia with a mild sedative and patients generally experience little discomfort after the procedure.

How Long Will Dental Implants Last?

Dental implants become fixed to the jawbone. Though the life span of a dental implant will vary with each patient, many have lasted for over 30 years. With good oral hygiene and regular cleanings, dental implants could last a lifetime. In contrast, the average life span of a traditional fixed bridge is between 10-15 years.

Bone Regeneration

A critical question in determining whether an implant can be placed is, “Is there enough bone to support the implant?” Fortunately, advanced bone regeneration techniques and implant site development now make it possible for implants to be placed in almost every situation.

Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?

With modern techniques, most patients can have dental implants. Treatment begins with an evaluation by your general dentist who will determine if you might be a good candidate. If he or she feels dental implants might be possible, he or she will send you to a Periodontist for a placement evaluation.

What about Mini Implants?

Mini implants or miniature dental implants (MDI) can provide satisfactory results as a low cost  method to help stabilize removable dentures  They can also serve as temporary anchors for bridge work.  Because of their small size, they are generally not strong enough to be reliable as anchors for long term support of fixed crowns and bridges.  When used for this purpose they frequently create hygienic problems and are unlikely to enjoy the same durability and longevity as standard implants.  There is no professional literature or research to support the use of mini implants for long term support of crowns and fixed bridges.  As such, most dentists concur that this use does not meet the standard of care.

For More Information

The following sites will provide you with more information on dental implants:

All images on this page provided courtesy of Biohorizons.

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