What Are Dental Implants?

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Dental implants are threaded titanium fixtures which are inserted into the mouth to replace missing single teeth, multiple missing teeth, and even support dentures. Implants look and feel like natural teeth!

what are implants - 2Does it hurt?

Oftentimes patients experience little to no discomfort from implant placement. There are no nerves in bone, so there is no pain from the preparation. There may be some mild discomfort where the tissues are pouched open, but this is temporary in nature. Immediately implants (implants placed at the same time as the extraction) can be uncomfortable in the early days of healing, but this too subsides quickly. Patients are usually under-whelmed by the whole process, and after having one placed will recommend them to their family and friends.

Implant sizes

Implants come in may different sizes in terms of length and diameter. As a general rule the larger the implant you can have placed the better is the long term success rate of your implant.

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How implants are placed

dental implantsWhen you are missing a tooth, the first thing we do is pouch open the tissue, similar to peeking into an envelope, so we can visualize the bony ridge.

What are implants?We then make a very precise hole in the bone. This does not hurt. There are no nerves in bone.

What are implants?In that precise hole we place the implant. The implant is made of titanium, and titanium is unique in that it is very kind and compatible with bony tissue. Most people think bone is like cement, or like a rock. It is not. Bone is a living tissue which is always tearing itself down and building itself back up.

What are implants?What is special about titanium is that it has a stimulatory effect on this bone turnover. The bone turnover is higher around the implant than it is even around a natural tooth. What this means to you (the patient) is the bone will grow into the implant threads and into any irregularities in the implant. In this way the implant becomes fused (integrated) into the jaw.

What are implants?After the implant has been allowed to integrate (time may vary) you will return to your general dentist where they will place a post, and they will make a crown.

whatareimplants6What you have is a one-to-one replacement. You are missing one tooth, you replace it with one tooth. The only difference is that instead of being made of dentin, you have a tooth that’s made of titanium.



What are implants?The alternative to an implant is a bridge. With a bridge you have to cut down two perfectly good teeth to try and suspend a fake tooth in mid-air. The problem with a bridge is the literature shows that half of all bridges need to be replace within 12 years, whereas an implant is generally considered to be more of a permanent restoration. Implants are more conservative because the adjacent teeth don’t need to be cut down.

What are implants?The other alternative to implants are removable partial dentures. These replace the teeth that are missing, and keep the teeth that are good. The problem is that there are often large, bulky bars, straps, and clasps which fill up your mouth. Also, you have to take these out at night.


Click to see the Implant Gallery of Smiles!

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Pam L. (Periodontal patient)
Jun 29, 2014


Due to the severity of my dental needs, my regular dentist referred me to Dr. Engen’s office. Being referred to a periodontal specialist is not something I would wish upon anyone, and it was difficult going to another dentist. However, from the minute I entered their office I was greeted by professional, friendly staff members who acknowledged me with a warm smile and a pleasant, cheerful welcome. The doctors and hygienists demonstrated a high level of expertise and technical competency by effectively communicating the options available to address my dental needs. Each and every staff member I encountered, from the receptionist, to the doctors are extremely dedicated to creating a long term relationship with each one of their patients, including taking the time to educate each patient about oral hygiene. The staff at your office works harmoniously, cooperatively and effectively as a team to make your time with them as productive as possible. I would highly recommend this office to anyone seeking resolution to any dental issues and be assured you will be pleasantly surprised with your time with them.

Denise F
Jun 29, 2014


I would highly recommend Dr. Engen and his office staff to anyone whose child was apprehensive about having braces. Other than the high level of professionalism, I appreciate the down-play of cutsie-pie gimmicks for kids. He thoroughly explained everything to us right from the start.