Here are some of the questions patients often ask about dental implants and our clinic. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns not included here. Our experienced staff are always glad to help!

Why should I consider your clinic for my dental implant needs?

  • Dr. Vassos has placed and restored dental implants for 45 years in his general practice.
  • The only service we provide in our general practice is dental implant treatment.
  • Comfortable, friendly and inviting clinic atmosphere in the historic Le Marchand Mansion with river valley views
  • Pain-reduction procedures via acupressure techniques and intravenous sedation.
  • In many cases we can provide immediate loading of dental implants.
  • Our flexible and efficient team is often able to provide immediate treatment for out-of-town patients at the initial consultation.

Why should I undergo implant surgery instead of simply wearing a denture or a bridge?

A natural tooth does even more than enable a person to smile, speak and eat. Teeth also are the reason the bones of the jaws exist. When natural teeth are lost, those bones lose their reason for being, and begin to shrink. In dentistry, this is known as resorption.

For many patients, resorption is minimal, and sufficient bone remains to provide a good foundation for a full or partial denture. For other patients, bone loss becomes severe. When this occurs, a number of unpleasant side effects may occur:

  • Loose-fitting dentures make it difficult to bite or chew properly. As a result, the range of food a person can comfortably eat becomes limited. In some cases, this limitation is sufficient to impact nutrition.
  • Loose-fitting dentures often rub the underlying gums, causing persistent soreness
  • Speech may be impaired
  • Appearance is negatively impacted
  • A gag reflex could be induced
  • Self-image and confidence can decline

Does my age affect my ability to be treated with dental implants?

Age is rarely a consideration in dental implant treatment. The Vassos Clinic has implanted patients as young as 18 years, and as old as 90.

In very young patients, implants are most often utilized to replace teeth lost due to trauma or that failed to grow in properly. In older patients, dental implants are usually used to address teeth lost to disease.

In the past, bone resorption sometimes made it difficult to treat patients if tooth loss had occurred long before implant treatment was sought. Today, new technologies and improved procedures have made it possible to rebuild the bone so that even patients who have been without teeth for decades may be candidates for dental implants.

How will dental implants improve my life?

Dental implant-supported prosthetics provide a more stable and natural feeling than loose conventional dentures. Implants enable you to eat virtually any food with ease, comfort, and confidence. You will notice an improvement in your appearance, and possibly in your speech. Many patients find these improvements enhance their self-image and confidence.

Will treatment hurt? What can I expect during the post-operative period?

Since the jaw bones contain few nerve endings, the placement of dental implants typically causes manageable post-operative discomfort. Depending on the extensiveness of the procedure, many patients are able to resume work within a day of surgery.

Post-operative discomfort is controlled with prescription pain medication. You will be placed on a soft diet and antibiotics for a few days and told to use an antiseptic mouth rinse several times daily. In most cases, you will be able to wear your existing or new temporary bridge or appliance immediately after surgery.

Sutures are removed approximately 10 days after the implants are placed. During the remainder of the healing period, you are seen regularly by the implant dentist to confirm the health of the your gums and implant sites. The healing period should be uneventful.

(And no, you will not set off airport metal detectors!)

Once the treatment is complete, are the new artificial teeth permanently in place?

That depends on the treatment option you and your dentist have chosen. Implants may be used with a variety of prosthetics, both fixed (non-removable), and removable. Your dentist will discuss the various options during the evaluation phase of your treatment.

In many cases, lower dentures can be stabilized with no waiting period.

Is the treatment only for people who have lost all their natural teeth, or can it be used to replace only one or two teeth?

Implants may be used to replace any number of natural teeth. Among young adults, an implant is often used to replace a single tooth lost to a sporting or other accident, or to provide artificial teeth where natural teeth never developed. In older patients, implants are often used to replace an entire mouthful of teeth lost to disease.

How long after the loss of teeth can I be treated with dental implants?

Until fairly recently, it was sometimes difficult to treat patients who had lost their teeth many years before because so much bone had been resorbed prior to seeking treatment. Today, however, grafting materials and techniques can be used to build up or graft the natural ridge, creating sufficient bone for implant treatment. As a result, timing is no longer as critical as it once was. Implants can be placed into sockets where teeth have been extracted or lost in an accident, as well as into jaw bones that lost their natural teeth roots decades earlier. If a tooth or multiple teeth have been missing for years, often a considerable amount of bone will have been lost. If the missing teeth are in the front where aesthetics are most important, the ridge is built up with a graft first to restore its original shape and size. The implants are placed only after the ridge has healed. This procedure provides the most natural look possible.

How long do dental implants last?

Long-term studies have shown that dental implants can last 20 - 25 years. Your own personal success will be influenced by factors related to your general health (including smoking, grinding, and oral hygiene). With an evaluation prior to treatment, the probability of success is high.