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Dental Implants

Dental Implants in Urbandale, Iowa

When it comes to restoring or replacing teeth, dental implants most closely mimic your healthy, natural tooth structure. If you are missing one or more teeth, they are the most functional and realistic form of tooth replacement. 

If you qualify, dental implants can offer the most comprehensive benefits for reconstructing your healthy, beautiful, smile. Dental implants are a form of restorative dentistry and can help our patients rediscover the convenience and comfort of eating, smiling and speaking, you can get back to enjoying your life with dental implants. 


What are Dental Implants?

A computer-generated model showing the parts of a dental implant

Dental implants can fill a gap caused by one missing tooth, or act as an anchor to support the replacement of several missing teeth. They allow for a stronger, more stable bite, while looking and feeling like real teeth. 

Dental implants act like artificial tooth roots, so they can support a single crown to replace one missing tooth, or bridges and dentures to replace several teeth. Dental implants are root replacements made of biocompatible materials, and are inserted into your jawbone to support a lifelike replacement crown, bridge, or denture.


Who Should Get Dental Implants?

Whether you have missing teeth from an accident, age, or infection, dental implants can benefit all patients who have experienced tooth loss. Missing teeth can affect both your physical and mental health. Some patients are self conscious about their smiles and missing teeth have a negative impact on their confidence. 

Others experience difficulty eating, chewing and sometimes even speaking due to missing teeth. There are some situations where placing a dental implant is more difficult for certain patients. Those who have experienced jaw cancer, severe infection or gum disease may still be eligible for dental implants with a modified treatment plan. In a consultation, your dentist will be able to determine whether or not dental implants will benefit your specific case. 


Benefits of Dental Implants 

an older man contentedly biting into a red apple

Long Lasting 

Dental implants are by far the longest lasting form of tooth replacement. They can last for up to 20 years with proper care, and some patients may never need to replace them within their lifetime. Dental implants are an investment, but they outlast many tooth replacement alternatives. 

Prevent Jaw Bone Loss 

Your healthy, natural teeth serve many functions beyond making your smile bright and beautiful. For instance, the roots of your teeth, which are secured within sockets in your jawbone, offer vital stimulation when you bite and chew. This stimulation provides your jawbone with enough nutrients to support all of your teeth.

When you lose a tooth and its root, this stimulation decreases, and your body responds by sending fewer nutrients to your jawbone. Over time, this decrease can lead to jawbone erosion, which can affect your facial appearance, and increases the risk of further tooth loss. Replacing your lost roots with one or more dental implants can re-establish vital stimulation, preserving your jawbone’s strength and reducing your risks of future tooth loss. 

Smile Restoration 

Dental implants can restore the appearance of your smile. Many patients find that missing teeth greatly affects their confidence. Some avoid smiling, speaking or laughing in public. It may seem like a simple benefit, however the aesthetic transformation that a dental implant and crown can provide comes with restored confidence and improved self-worth. If you feel like your missing tooth is holding you back, it’s time to do something for yourself and book your implant consultation

Improved Chewing and Biting Abilities 

Dental implants restore your full ability to chew and bite. When you are missing teeth, it can be very difficult to properly bite and chew your food and this can lead to health risks such as choking or indigestion. Since dental implants are securely rooted into the jaw, they have the strength to grind and chew food that alternative prosthetics such as dentures lack. 

Improved Speech 

Many patients experience speech impediments such as lisping as a result of missing teeth. While it is more likely for those missing several teeth, it can also affect those with one missing tooth at the front of the mouth. We use our tongue and teeth to speak and properly pronounce words, so when certain teeth are missing or out of place, it can be impossible to form certain words without mispronunciation. Those with missing teeth tend to avoid public speaking or positions that require leadership and effective communication. This can hold you back at work or in school and a dental implant can eliminate the problem.


Types of Dental Implants

There are two main types of dental implants that are available to patients. 

Endosteal Implants 

Endosteal implants are by far the most common form of dental implant. They can come in a variety of variations, however they are made up of three main parts. The base implant, a connecting screw and a dental crown. Endosteal implants are inserted directly into your jaw bone and they are screw-like in shape so that they stay in place. 

Subperiosteal Implants 

Subperiosteal implants are an excellent modification of the traditional implant design. They make it possible for patients with bone problems to get implants. Subperiosteal implants are not placed directly into the jaw bone, but instead sit directly on the surface of the jaw bone. They are placed under a patient’s gums and use a metal, mesh-like material to stay in place. They sit directly on top of the jaw bone and a crown can be placed on top. 


Dental Implant Materials

an image of three types of dental implants side-by-side


Titanium or titanium alloys are the most common materials used in dental implants. Titanium is a biocompatible metal, which means that it bonds well with your natural human jaw bone. The cells in your bone adhere to titanium just as they would to a natural tooth root. This solidifies and strengthens the implant and helps to keep it in place. 


Titanium implants may not work for everyone. Some patients have metal allergies and sensitivities that make it difficult and dangerous to place a titanium implant. Some patients may also be concerned with the long term effects of metal in the body. Although titanium is a time tested, biocompatible metal, there is an alternative for patients with metal sensitivities. 

Zirconia implants are made out of a tooth-colored, ceramic material, and they are an excellent alternative to traditional, titanium implants. Zirconia implants are also a porcelain color, which means that they blend in well with your natural teeth, and will not be visible above the gums. 


Dental Implant Procedure 

a dentist sits with a patient an uses a small dental model to provide information

Consultation to Understand your Needs

The first step to getting dental implants is determining your individual needs as a patient. At Lawson Family Dentistry, our team will perform a full assessment and work with you to decide whether or not implants may be right for you. Your dentist will prepare a treatment plan tailored specifically to your smile goals. Depending on the length of time you have gone without teeth, you may require bone grafting due to bone loss in your jaw. This would be done months prior to your surgery. 

Implant Site Preparation

Your dentist will provide sedation, whether it be local or general anesthesia. Implant placement is a relatively straightforward procedure and many find that it is faster and more convenient than having a tooth extracted. Once properly sedated, your dentist will sterilize and prepare the implant site and begin the surgery. 

Implant Placement

Your dentist will place the implant directly into your jaw bone. Its screw-like shape helps it sit firmly in place so that it can heal without movement. The surrounding gums will then be stitched back into place and you will have to let the area recover. 

Recovery & Crown Placement 

During recovery, your jaw bone will slowly grow around the newly placed implant and fuse to it. The swelling in your gums will also go down as they heal. Including healing time, the entire process of having an implant placed can take up to six months, but your dentist will likely schedule check-ups to ensure everything is healing as it should be. 

Once the mouth has healed and the implant is in place, your dentist can place a crown over the implant and screw it into position. The crown completes the implant process and fills the gaps you had in your smile. Once the process is complete you will have full use of your mouth again, without any sign of missing teeth. 


Visit Lawson Dental for your Dental Implant Consultation

Transform your smile for life. Even after tooth loss, you can still enjoy a healthy and beautiful smile with dental implants! Dr. Lawson has experience addressing tooth loss with implant technology and completed the Straumann Mini Implant Residency to learn more about treating challenging cases of tooth loss.To find out if you qualify, schedule a consultation with Dr. Lawson by calling Lawson Family Dentistry in Urbandale, IA, today at 515-278-4366.

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