Skip to main content

Dental Implants

What Are Dental Implants?

A missing tooth can be devastating—and not simply in regard to smile aesthetics. If left untreated, tooth loss may adversely alter your speech patterns, chewing efficiency, and even dietary habits. In addition, the surrounding teeth may shift around, and bone deterioration will eventually occur over time.

icon

Screw

icon

Abutment

icon

Crown

icon

Dental Implant

Dental implants are widely regarded as the premier tooth replacement option for qualified candidates.

If you have lost one tooth, several teeth, or even all of your teeth, you may be a candidate for dental implants—a permanent tooth replacement solution designed to look, feel, and function just like natural teeth. A dental implant is comprised of three main components: a post, an abutment, and a customized restoration. The post serves as an anchor in the jawbone while the restoration, which is attached via the abutment, remains visible above the gumline. For individuals with dentures who would like to eliminate movement of the dentures when talking or eating, dental implants can be life-changing, as well.

Over her two-plus decades in practice, Lexington cosmetic dentist Jenny Miller, DMD has helped numerous patients successfully replace teeth through personalized implant dentistry. Unlike many other dental offices, our in-house lab—which is operated by Dr. Miller’s husband, Certified Master Technician Neil Miller, CDT, CMT—enables all implant abutments and final tooth restorations to be designed and fabricated right here on-site with unmatched precision and efficiency, ultimately resulting in exceptionally natural-looking and -functioning results.

To learn more about dental implants and whether or not this treatment is right for you, please continue reading the information on this page, or simply contact Hamburg Expressions today to book a complimentary in-person or FaceTime consultation with Dr. Miller.

Did You Know?
Dr. Miller is a Gold Medal Winner of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s prestigious Smile Gallery Competition! She has also undergone extensive training at the renowned Misch Implant Center, as well as the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies.

What Are the Pros & Cons of Dental Implants?

Pros

Dental implants provide numerous benefits for individuals seeking tooth replacement:

  • They offer a durable, permanent solution to missing or severely damaged teeth
  • They do not require messy adhesives or oral glues to stay in place
  • None of the surrounding teeth are modified (as they are with a traditional dental bridge)
  • They can be used to help stabilize a denture or partial- or full-arch replacement
  • They look and function just like natural teeth when speaking, chewing, and smiling
  • No special maintenance is needed aside from normal brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings
  • They help prevent bone deterioration and facial collapse (when a tooth is missing, the body reabsorbs the minerals that were once used to support the tooth  to be utilized elsewhere in the body, often resulting in debilitating bone loss that can affect facial structure)
  • They do not decay
  • There is no nerve to cause pain or ever need a root canal
  • There is over a 90% success rate of dental implants succeeding for a lifetime

Cons

  • They have a long healing period, sometimes taking up to six months from start to finish
  • hey can require more upfront expenses than other replacement alternatives (though it should be noted that, in the long-run, the total cost of dental implants is often similar to—if not less than—that of other options due to their enhanced durability and limited need for maintenance)

Is Everyone a Candidate for Dental Implants?

The primary requirement for dental implant candidacy is the need to replace one or more missing and/or damaged teeth. Additionally, you must have good overall oral wellness and ample bone density to adequately support the implant post(s) to be considered a candidate.

At the time of your consultation, Dr. Miller will perform an extensive evaluation of your oral health and bone density with the aid of advanced diagnostic technologies like radiography and digital impressions. In the event she does not feel you are currently qualified for dental implants, she can often recommend treatments such as periodontal therapy, bone grafting, or tooth extraction to help improve your candidacy for treatment. She also offers a number of other tooth replacement alternatives that can be discussed at this time, enabling you to be fully informed and able to select the most appropriate option for your unique needs and goals.

If it is determined that you are a candidate for implant therapy, Dr. Miller will refer you to a surgeon (for example, an Oral Surgeon or Periodontist) to have the implant(s) placed into the bone. We use our network of talented specialists to perform the implant surgery because this is what we would do if it was us having this procedure done. Yes, general dentists can place implants, but the success rates are greatly diminished and potential hazards are increasingly possible as with any surgical procedure. Once the implant has fully integrated into the bone, Dr. Miller and her team will create the final tooth or teeth atop the new implant (everything you see in the mouth above the gums) in our on-site lab.

How Will My Customized Implant Restoration(s) Be Made?

A key distinction that sets Hamburg Expressions apart from other practices is our on-site dental lab in which our Certified Master Technician—Neil Miller, CDT, CMT—can custom-create all abutments and restorations needed for implant dentistry cases.

Abutments

There are two ways to attach a tooth restoration to the implant post that is embedded in your bone. Many dentists place stock abutments that are manufactured by the implant company in various sizes, shapes, and angulations. But at Hamburg Expressions, we only use custom abutments made from zirconia (with an internal titanium core) that are personalized for your particular case. The difference is similar to a set of eyeglasses that you buy from a display at your pharmacy versus a set that is made to fit a prescription from your eye doctor. Using highly sophisticated CEREC® CAD-CAM software, Neil can shape customized abutments specifically for your mouth to yield the highest level of function and aesthetics. They are extremely durable and, due to the white translucent zirconia, incredibly strong and natural-looking.

Tooth Restorations

Working collaboratively with Dr. Miller, Neil utilizes top-of-the-line technologies like CEREC®, 5-axis milling, and state-of-the-art 3D printing to create all tooth restorations right here in-house with unprecedented precision and efficiency. In fact, he can generally fabricate restorations in a matter of days as opposed to the weeks—or even months!—often needed when practices have to deal with third-party dental laboratories. Furthermore, in the event any last minute touch-ups to the size, shape, and/or color of your restoration(s) are desired at the time of your final try-on, Neil can take care of all modifications immediately. Ultimately, you can benefit from ultra-precise restoration creation in significantly less time than is traditionally necessary.

What Is the Dental Implant Procedure Like?

To begin the dental implant process, Dr. Miller will perform a comprehensive oral assessment, review your smile concerns and expectations, and examine your candidacy for treatment. If dental implants are right for you, she will explain all facets of implant dentistry as they relate to your case, as well as create a physical wax-up model of your mouth to help you better visualize how your potential results may look after the placement of your custom restoration(s) on top of the implant post(s). Any modifications you desire can be made to the wax-up at this time until you are completely satisfied with the proposed outcome.

When both you and Dr. Miller are pleased with your smile design, she will move forward with custom treatment planning. We will use our state-of-the-art implant surgical guide technology along with ultra-low radiation CT scanning technology and digital impressions of your mouth that will allow her to pinpoint optimal locations and angles for implant placement in the jawbone. She will also formulate design specifications for the exact size, shape, and color of your final tooth restoration(s). This “beginning with the end in mind” approach will ensure that the implant is placed in the ideal location for the preplanned restoration while also ensuring the best aesthetic result possible

Once a plan is finalized, you will be referred to a local implant specialist who will surgically place your implant(s) based on the particulars of Dr. Miller’s planning. Over the course of approximately four to six months, the implant(s) should fuse to your jawbone through a process called osseointegration, eventually becoming a permanent part of your mouth. During this time, the design details for your implant abutment(s) and restoration(s) will be sent to our on-site dental lab for custom creation. Dr. Miller will also secure temporary restorations designed to look and feel just like your final restoration(s) to allow you to get accustomed to your new smile.

After osseointegration is complete, Dr. Miller will have you return to our office to try on your final restoration(s). While it is uncommon that changes are needed, any last-minute modifications or fine-tuning can be completed immediately—which is yet another benefit of housing an on-site dental lab at our practice.

Once you are happy with the appearance of your smile, Dr. Miller will place your restoration(s) on the customized implant abutment(s), ensuring an excellent, secure fit on top of the implant post(s). When this is complete, your restoration(s) should blend perfectly with your surrounding teeth—in fact, it is likely that no one will be able to tell you were ever missing a tooth!

Consultations from the Couch
As a convenience, Dr. Miller offers FaceTime consultations to discuss your smile goals and preliminarily evaluate your candidacy for dental implants—all while you remain perfectly comfortable in your own home.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Once dental implants have fully fused to the jawbone, the implant posts themselves can last a lifetime when properly cared for. In addition to brushing and flossing at least twice daily, this care includes receiving routine dental cleanings during which Dr. Miller and our team can thoroughly cleanse and irrigate the implants, as well as confirm their stability with digital x-rays and bite evaluations. Regarding the restoration(s) secured to the top of dental implant posts, most of our patients find that their implant-crowns, -bridges, or -dentures last many years—often even decades—before a new restoration may be needed. That said, there are certainly instances in which our patients’ restorations last a lifetime alongside their dental implants!

How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?

On average, the cost of single-tooth dental implants at our Lexington practice is approximately $3,500. Exact pricing for treatment will depend on a variety of different factors, including how many implants are placed, the particular restoration used, whether or not preliminary treatments are needed, and more. It is also important to keep in mind that cost is often a reflection of the skill and experience of the dentist, the quality of materials utilized, and the level of care you can expect to receive. As a result, it is not advisable to shop around for dental implant providers based on cost alone.

At Hamburg Expressions, we never want procedural expenses to get in the way of someone receiving the most effective treatment for their needs. For this reason, we partner with CareCredit®—a reputable healthcare lender that offers numerous monthly payment plan options with little to no interest rates. If the cost of implant dentistry is a concern for you, we are happy to show you how to view your options and choose a plan that is right for your budget.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Implants

Are dental implants safe?

When treatment is properly planned and performed by qualified and experienced doctors, dental implants are considered to be a safe tooth replacement option for the right candidates. Of course, as with any surgery, some risks (such as infection, poor healing, etc.) do innately exist—though, again, the potential for these issues to occur can be greatly minimized by choosing the right dentist. 

Dr. Miller has received extensive implant dentistry training and has over two decades of experience in successfully planning dental implant treatments. For the actual placement of implants, she refers patients to a local implant specialist who will perform surgery based on the exact specifics of her plan. At the time of your appointment, Dr. Miller can cover all possible complications and detail the various techniques and measures she employs to optimize both treatment safety and efficacy as they relate to your unique case.

Do dental implants hurt?

During the dental implant procedure, some form of anesthesia—whether local or general—will be utilized to help ensure minimal to no discomfort is experienced. Following surgery, some degree of tenderness and/or soreness in and around the area(s) in which the implants were placed is common, though the vast majority of patients describe these sensations as mild and are able to effectively alleviate them with medication until fully resolved on their own.

Does insurance cover dental implants?

Whether or not insurance covers any portion of your dental implant care will depend on your particular plan. At the time of your appointment, our staff will be happy to check with your insurance provider to determine if you have coverage. In the event dental implants are not covered by your plan, we do offer dental financing via CareCredit®. With a variety of little to no interest payment plan options to choose from, CareCredit® can help make dental implants affordable for virtually any budget.

How do I clean and care for dental implants?

Dental implants look, feel, and function just like natural teeth—and they should be treated similarly. With this in mind, proper cleaning and care includes regular brushing and flossing, as well as receiving professional cleanings at least twice annually to ensure surrounding bone and gum tissues remain healthy. In addition, Dr. Miller recommends avoiding the same types of habits that can lead to undue wear and tear on natural teeth—such as nail biting, crunching on ice or hard candy, using one’s teeth to open packaging, etc.—as these actions can potentially damage and/or shorten the lifespan of the restoration(s) placed on top of the implant(s).

Am I too old for dental implants?

When it comes to dental implants, age is less of a factor in determining candidacy than whether or not a patient has adequate jawbone density to allow for the successful placement of the implant post(s). While greater bone deterioration is often seen among older individuals who have been missing teeth for several years—and, therefore, the general assumption is those in their 70s, 80s, and beyond are not typically considered good candidates—the good news is bone grafting has advanced to the point that even many years of tissue breakdown can often be restored to create enough jawbone structure for dental implants. As a result, implant dentistry can often be an excellent tooth replacement solution for patients of all ages.

Contact Our Practice

If you have additional questions or would like to know if you are a candidate for dental implants, please contact Hamburg Expressions today to schedule a complimentary consultation. Dr. Miller is happy to spend time with you personally to determine the best treatment option for your individual needs.