Dental Implants — What You Should Know, According to Dr. Jay Hustead

By on May 15, 2020
Dental Implants

Getting dental implants is one of the most reliable procedures for securing crowns and dentures. In fact, dental implants have nearly a 100% success rateDr. Jay Hustead, DMD, of National Harbor, Maryland, explains everything you need to know about dental implants. 

What are Dental Implants?

Technically speaking, dental implants form the base of an artificial tooth (crown). But when most people speak of implants, they are referring to the entire dental implant process. 

Today’s dental implant procedure involves surgically replacing a tooth with an implant (base), connector, and crown. Professionals like Dr. Jay Hustead customize the crowns to each patient’s mouth so that the artificial teeth look pleasant and natural.

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Now a modern established dental procedure over three decades old, implants “are the strongest devices available to support replacement teeth — and even better, they allow these new teeth to feel, look and function naturally,” according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.

The accepted approach to dental implants is to install titanium endosteal rods and bond to the jaw. Though the process may sound unusual, scientists discovered over 50 years ago that titanium is a natural fusing material to the human bone. 

Another method to the traditional implant is the mini implant. Not only are they cheaper, but patients heal much faster. The connector and crown attach to the mini implant in the same way that they do in traditional implants.

Who Needs Dental Implants?

For some, non-implanted dentures have been one of the more common teeth replacement tools by dentists. But without implants, dentures can be unstable and uncomfortable for patients. Increasingly, dentists are recommending dental implants.

A more in-depth procedure like implants can properly connect the tooth/teeth replacement to the jawbone. With the help of implants, patients can combat a host of dental issues, says Dr. Jay Hustead.

Reasons, why a patient might want or need implants, can vary. But for reasons usually fall into one of two categories: tooth loss or gum disease.

Tooth loss. The first and obvious reason why a dentist might recommend implants for their patient is that the patient has lost teeth due to decay or an accident. Without teeth residing in their natural spot, the other teeth will attempt to fill the gap.

Teeth may visibly try to lean into the open space. Or, those teeth may try to occupy the space below the surface. In time, a missing tooth can impact the look of one’s smile and the health of their jaw (resorption).

Gum disease. When one’s gum line recedes, it can cause teeth to become unstable. So long as the jawbone is in decent shape, dental implants can restore the patient’s smile as well as add some structural stability to the mouth and jaw. 

Left untreated, gum disease can force the jawbone to resorb. If there is significant bone loss, only grafting surgery can make implants possible. Some dentists are reluctant to attempt traditional implants in the case of bone loss in the jaw. As a result, the dentist might recommend mini implants instead.

Dr. Jay Hustead Explains the Differences Between Mini Implants and Traditional Implants

Both mini and traditional implants use titanium screws anchored to the jaw. Additionally, both procedures have a high success rate. But there are a handful of ways in which these two implant types differ.

Size. The first (and obvious) difference between mini and traditional implants are the size. Traditional implants usually involve 4-5 millimeter titanium screws. Mini implant sizes are as small as 3 millimeters and as large as 4 millimeters. The smaller size allows even patients with bone loss to receive an implant procedure.

Speed of the procedure. Traditional implants constitute mouth surgery, to include incisions and suturing. In contrast, Dr. Hustead and his peers can complete mini implants in a single appointment without surgery.

Recovery. Patients undergoing mini implants can return to their normal routines within days (and sometimes hours). Depending upon how extensive the surgery, traditional implants may take up to six months to fully heal.

Cost. Since mini implants do not require surgery, it is nearly 75% cheaper for patients to get mini over traditional implants.

Dr. Jay Hustead is a practicing dentist based in Bryans Road, Maryland. A third-generation dentist, Dr. Hustead graduated from the Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine before embarking on his 20-year career in dentistry. In addition to his work at Smile Dental Art, Jay also owns the Dental Management Group where he mentors young dentists on operations and best practices.

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Dental Implants — What You Should Know, According to Dr. Jay Hustead