Dental Implants


First, What is a dental implant?

Dental Implants: The Gold Standard

Implants now are the gold standard in tooth replacement for a variety of great reasons

A dental implant is a surgical screw that we place in the bone of a patient’s mouth to replace the tooth root. Our implants are made of a surgical titanium alloy because of its strength and compatibility within our bodies.  Our bone cells actually grow into the titanium implant over the 3-4 month healing period.  This quality of the dental implant allows for the most strong and secure final outcome, whether that is a single tooth replacement, a bridge, or a denture.

Designed to be a long-term fix:

Although bridges have been successfully used in dentistry for hundreds of years, they generally shorten the lifespan of the teeth that support them and often need to be replaced multiple times over the years. Implants as we know them were introduced in the early 1980s, which means that our current research is only about 35 years old at this point. Over the last three decades implants have changed and improved greatly to be very predictable restorations. Because they are attached to a human body nothing can be guaranteed, but we anticipate implants that are well maintained will last many decades, and hopefully for life

Prevent bone loss and tooth movement:

Without stimulation, our bone atrophies and shrinks away. When a tooth is removed, the bone that used to support that tooth will resorb over time, creating defects or dents, changes in face shape, and collapse of the cheeks and lips to make the patient appear older than they are.
When implants are placed, the forces from chewing are transmitted through the restoration into the bone. These forces stimulate the bone so that it maintains density and volume to support the implant, just as the bone surrounding natural teeth does. Also, our teeth prefer to have partners: if a tooth is removed, the opposing tooth will often grow out of the bone because there is no contact. Teeth will also tip or move forward into areas were teeth are missing which can alter and disrupt proper biting.


The most common image of a dental implant is one supporting a single crown, but they can be used in a variety of indications. Implants placed in multiples are able to support bridges to maximize the number of teeth replaced with a smaller number of implants.

When a patient has lost bone, four or more implants can be placed to support up to a full arch prosthesis that replaces teeth and the bone that used to support them.

Partial and complete denture patients benefit greatly from implants, as snaps can be placed on top of the implants instead of crowns and bridges. These snaps help the denture fasten in place and provide a major improvement in stability, comfort, chewing forces, and phonetics.

A set of complete dentures can only provide about 25% of the chewing forces that a mouth of healthy teeth can. By adding in just two implants at the lower canine positions, the patient improves to about 60% of their previous chewing ability. With every additional implant those forces increase, and the dentures can be designed to be smaller and less cumbersome which also improves taste, comfort, and aesthetics.

Why are they great options for tooth replacement?

No detriment to neighboring teeth:

Traditionally, if missing a tooth, the dentist would make a bridge. To fabricate a bridge, the neighboring tooth on either side of the space needs to be ground down to allow for a 3-unit bridge (3 crowns fused together that rest on the two teeth).

If the surrounding teeth did not need crowns then this process removes a major portion of healthy tooth unnecessarily. Bridges set those teeth up for difficulties in the future, such as need for a root canal, development of cavities in hard to fix areas (you can’t floss between the teeth when fused together), and fracture (we’re asking two teeth to do the work of three, and the supporting teeth have been whittled down).

Can look and function like natural teeth:

Individual implants mimic a natural tooth better than any other option in dentistry. And unlike bridges, partials, or dentures, the strength of implant biting is often stronger than a natural tooth.

Prep for a traditional bridge –
NOT necessary when doing an Implant

Actual implant patient

Can be changed or updated:

The top portion of the implant can be changed or updated throughout the patient’s life. If an implant was first placed to replace a single missing tooth, it can be swapped out to help support a bridge if nearby teeth are later extracted. If many or all of a patient’s teeth end up being removed, the crown or bridge can be changed to a snap to help support a partial or complete denture. This ability to modify an implant helps the patient to continue to benefit from the implant as they age and indications change.

Step by Step Process:

  1. Consultation
  2. CT Scan
  3. Surgical guide
  4. Implant placement
  5. Bone / Graft and PRF option
  6. Three month of healing
  7. Crown impression and placement

1. Consultation

At the beginning of your dental implant journey you will complete a consultation which includes an oral evaluation, a medical history review as well as the use of a state-of-the-art Cone Beam CT 3D scan. This 3D scan will evaluate your bone to make sure you are a good candidate for dental implants.

A virtual surgery can be done on a computer to plan exactly what size, position, depth, and angulation your implant should be, which helps determine if you require or would benefit from any bone or gum grafting before or during implant placement.

At this point we’re able to discuss all of your treatment options and indications as well as answer any and all questions you may have.

Check this video out to the right that explains an “implant overview”


2.  CT Scans- A 3-D xray

The Blairsville Dentistry team is always planning for your safety and comfort, which comes in many forms during the implant process. The 3-D planning process using CT scans is absolutely critical to this goal. You are a three-dimensional human 🙂 , and any implant surgery should be planned in a 3-D manner to safely avoid important anatomical structures like your sinuses and nerves.

Proper planning = Predictability

3. 3D guided Surgery

Once we’ve developed a personalized treatment plan for you and decided on the positioning of the implants, we use surgical guides on as many procedures as possible to help ensure that every implant is placed exactly how we want it. These guides are made from the CT scans and are 3-D printed to have a very high accuracy for safety and predictability every time.
Guides can be used for a variety of procedures, ranging from implant placement, to bone reduction, to proper positioning of restorative components such as “screw-in” or “hybrid” dentures.

3D printed guides

4.  Implant placement

The research over the past 30 years has shown that implants are very predictable and fairly easy on the patient. Sometimes an implant requires even less anesthesia than a simple filling does!  This is because there are far less nerves in the actually bone than those sensitive teeth.    Because we utilize “Guided implant surgery” as much as possible, this allows maximum precision and minimizes surrounding tissue damage during the placement.     You can imagine how less tissue damage = less healing that must occur.  

5. PRF For Faster Healing

 Platelet Rich Fibrin (PRF) can be incorporated into just about every oral surgery procedure: wisdom teeth, tooth extractions, implants, bone grafts, and sinus lifts.

Using PRF speeds up how quickly the surgical site heals by stimulating the body to accelerate it’s normal processes. This causes soft tissue (gums) to close faster and it has Bone Morphogenic Proteins (BMPs) that help create new bone quickly.

6. Healing time

Healing time can generally vary from patient to patient.  Typically, after the implant is in, it requires about 4 months healing before the final crown can be placed on it.  This time is to allow your body to undergo something called osseointegration with the implant (think:  allows the implant to become part of your bone).   Ones the implant is fully integrated and stable.  We can move on to the final restoration (crown). 

7.  Final crown

Woohoo!  This is the best part (and easiest procedure) for you.  We simply take an impression and have a implant crown fabricated CUSTOM for your new implant.   Once fabricated, it’s a simple process to permanently place the crown on top of your new implant!   

Congratulations!  With proper care, this implant and crown could last you the rest of your life!


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Blairsville Dentistry (previously Blair House Dental) is located 5 miles north of downtown Blairsville, GA. Serving Blairsville, Young Harris, Blue Ridge, and Murphy, NC.