General Dentistry

Dental Implants

Eat, Smile, Laugh, Talk, and Play with Confidence

Dental implants are the closest you can get to healthy, natural teeth. They will allow you to confidently eat, smile, laugh, talk, play and enjoy all of your regular activities of everyday life without worrying about your teeth. Ask Dr. Vlahos if dental implants are your best choice.

Getting Started is Simple

Dental implants are often the best treatment for missing teeth when you use an experienced implant dentist. Dr. Vlahos has placed hundreds of dental implants in patients from St. Catharines and the Niagara region and has been doing so since 2003.

Dr. Vlahos is a member of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry and furthers his implant training by attending the University at Buffalo Dental Implant Study Club.

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Dr. Vlahos and his team will assess your dental implant needs and answer any questions you may have.

Smile on.

Smile on.

Eat, smile, laugh, talk, and play with confidence

Before & After

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    How do dental implants work?

    A dental implant is a cylindrical and/or tapered post, usually made of titanium, that serves as a substitute for the tooth root.

    When a damaged or decayed tooth is removed, both the visible part of the tooth, called the crown, and the root is lost.

    A dental implant is placed in the jawbone so that it can fuse with your natural bone and become a strong and sturdy foundation for replacement teeth. Implants can be used to replace an individual tooth or for an implant-supported bridge or denture containing multiple teeth.

    How do I Care for my dental implants?

    Caring for teeth restored with dental implants is just like caring for your natural teeth: brush, floss and maintain regular dental cleanings and check-ups, as scheduled. Additional cleaning aids also may be recommended to help you keep your teeth healthy at home.

    As is the case with natural teeth, you and Dr. Vlahos and his team members must work as a team to ensure the longevity of your dental implant. While replacement teeth can’t get cavities, they are subject to the same wear-and-tear as natural teeth. Well-placed and cared for dental implants have the potential to last a lifetime!

    The Benefits of Dental Implants

    Strong and stable, a dental implant restores a lost tooth so that it looks, feels, fits and functions like a natural tooth when implanted by an experienced implant dentist. Other options such as dentures or bridges can lead to bone deterioration, and may interfere with eating, smiling, speaking and other activities of everyday life.

    That makes them your best long-term, cost-effective solution. Traditional, tooth-supported dental bridges only last five to seven years, and with proper care often more than 10 years, but at some point they may need to be replaced. Those costs can really add up over time. While dental implants may need periodic adjustments, they can last a lifetime when properly placed and cared for over time by your St. Catharines dentist Dr. Vlahos and his experienced team.

    There is no need for you to stay home or feel uncomfortable in public, embarrassed because your smile looks different, or worry that missing teeth will limit your ability to join in the fun. And you certainly don’t need to worry like you do with removable dentures or tooth-supported replacement teeth could loosen or fall out when you talk, eat or laugh. Teeth restored with dental implants are teeth that let you, not your teeth, lead your life. Dr. Vlahos can offer many wonderful success stories!

    A face without teeth can sag and appear sunken and sad. Dental implants allow you to maintain the natural shape of your face and smile. It’s important to talk to a tooth replacement expert before you consider any other option because some other tooth replacement options have the side effect of allowing your appearance to change over time, which may not be attractive.

    Leaving empty spaces in your mouth after losing one or more teeth can lead to additional health issues, such as the loss and deterioration of some of your jawbone. When it is not being used to support a natural tooth, the jawbone deteriorates, losing its strength and firmness. Dental implants are the only dental restoration option that preserves and stimulates natural bone, actually helping to stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss. Surprising? Dr. Vlahos can tell you about cases where dentures or other non-implant options can lead to problems with your jawbone.

    Adjusting to removable dentures can mean struggling to pronounce everyday words. Not so with dental implants, which function like natural teeth.

    Cavities can’t occur in an implant-restored crown, or replacement tooth; however, you will need to visit your dentist as scheduled and clean and care for it and your gums and mouth every day, the same as you would if it were a natural tooth.

    Dental implant treatment by proven implant dentists has a track record of reliable, long-term successful outcomes and is often considered “more predictable” than other treatments to repair or replace missing teeth, including bridgework, removable appliances and retreatment of failing root canal (endodontic) therapy which could be more costly in the long run.

    What Do Dental Implants Cost?

    You might be surprised how affordable dental implants are compared to other tooth replacement options. While the cost of your dental implants can vary widely according to your particular situation, Dr. Vlahos will spend the time with you discussing your treatment plan so you can understand the total cost involved and the necessary steps needed for your treatment. Dental implants are customized to fit your mouth and blend in naturally with your existing teeth. Typically fees can range from $2500 to 4000 for the surgical placement of the single dental implant and the crown that will go onto the implant once it is integrated. Be very wary of any low-cost quotes that you may hear or receive. Often, these quotes entail the use of cheap dental implants and crowns made in other parts of the world whose standards of quality are often much poorer than those from Canada. Often, a patient who gets cheap dental implants will get what they pay for in terms of quality. These implants are often poorly designed with ill-fitting prosthetics and highly unesthetic crowns. Often, they do not last very long and will need to be redone at a higher cost.

    Here are three important things you need to know about dental implants before you make your decision.

    Dental implants are the standard for tooth replacement. It’s easy to understand why. Dental implants are renowned for the quality of life they offer to you:

    • Dental implants are the most natural looking tooth replacement option. When friends and acquaintances see your smile, the dental implant may be almost indistinguishable from your natural teeth. Why? Because an expert in implant dentistry has the skills to create dental implants that fit your unique mouth size and shape. In addition, an implant can be made to look more realistic than many teeth replacement options.
    • Dental implants won’t slip like dentures. Every social interaction can put you on edge when you are worried about your dentures slipping as you talk, laugh or eat. In contrast, a dental implant is fixed firmly in your mouth, anchored by your jawbone. Smile, laugh, and eat all you want – the dental implant will not slip. This gives you peace of mind.

    Dental implants have been found to be a cost effective option both for single tooth replacement and multiple teeth replacement. While some tooth replacement options may have a lower up front cost, dental implants are cost effective over the long term because of their quality, long lasting nature. If you plan to smile for years to come, dental implants can be a choice even your accountant will love!

    Dental implants may also offer better oral health-related quality of life compared with other tooth replacement options. This is related to the bonding of the implant with your jawbone – it can be more important than you might realize. Yes, it reduces the slipping associated with dentures, but just as importantly, it stimulates healthy bone formation. In contrast, dentures and other non-implant options can lead to bone loss over time as the body senses that the tooth is missing. In addition, while dentures may allow food to wedge in between the gums and the denture itself, dental implants behave like natural teeth.

    The initial cost of dental implants is only part of the information you need to decide if dental implants are right for you. Be sure to consider the quality of life, overall cost effectiveness, and long term health associated with dental implants. With all information considered, dental implants could be the very best choice for you.

    What if there is not enough Bone for my Dental implants?

    Some people do not have enough healthy natural bone to support dental implants. Natural bone insufficiency can be caused by:

    • Gum disease
    • Tooth development defects
    • Wearing dentures long term
    • An injury to the face or trauma
    • Spaces left empty in the mouth after teeth are removed
    • Dental procedures where efforts were not made to restore natural bone

    Several techniques are used to rebuild bone, restore your natural jaw line and smile, and provide a strong and sturdy foundation for implant-supported teeth. Most patients proceed with everyday life and work often by the next day and continue throughout the months in between dentist appointments.

    Dr. Vlahos can tell you if you need bone augmentation.

    Below is an overview of some of the more common techniques to augment bone.

    Bone grafting is a safe and highly successful procedure that involves the “building up” or adding bone to the jaw by using your own natural bone from another location and/or by using donor, processed or synthetic bone materials. Often the new bone can be obtained from inside the mouth. Ask Dr. Vlahos about the advantages of different bone grafting methods and materials so that, together, you can make an informed decision.After the procedure, you will usually be given antibiotics, pain medication if needed, and an antibacterial mouthwash, and instructed to avoid eating certain foods and putting pressure on the bone graft. You will return home in between dentist appointments while the bone graft heals and should be able to work and go about your everyday life.

    Your implants will be placed after the grafted bone has fused or become a strong, integrated part of the existing bone. The amount of time the integration takes varies depending on the location of the graft and the density of the bone. It may take three or more months.

    Missing upper back teeth are among the most difficult to restore. When the back teeth in the upper jaw are missing the sinus cavity becomes larger as the natural bone deteriorates over time. A sinus lift, also called sinus augmentation or sinus elevation, is a bone-augmentation procedure for patients who have insufficient natural bone in this area for dental implant placement. The procedure involves adding bone below the sinus so that one or more implants can be placed. The procedure does not affect speech, intonation or cause sinus problems.After the bone has been given time to develop, usually for approximately four to 12 months, dental implants can be placed. Sinus augmentation, which many patients say causes only minimal discomfort, is designed to help ensure that your implants are long-lasting, with ample, strong and sturdy bone that will allow your new teeth to fit and function like healthy, natural teeth.

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