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Dental Implants – Soldotna, AK

A Permanent Solution to Tooth Loss

Man and woman smiling after dental implant tooth replacement

Have you been struggling with tooth loss for far too long? This serious level of dental damage can affect not only your oral health but your smile’s ability to function and your everyday quality of life as well. At Soldotna Dental Arts, Dr. Mike Christensen would like to introduce you to a state-of-the-art method for replenishing strong, attractive teeth that exceed expectations: dental implants. Our dentistry team is happy to offer every stage of dental implant treatment, including the surgical portions, right here in our dental office for maximized convenience and comfort. Please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation for dental implants in Soldotna, AK.

Why Choose Soldotna Dental Arts for Dental Implants?

  • Dental Implants Placed & Restored in One Location
  • State-of-the-Art CT/Cone Beam Scanner for Precise Dental Implant Placement
  • Dental Insurance Maximized & Affordable Financing Available

What Are Dental Implants?

Dentist explaining dental implants to dentistry patient

A dental implant by itself is not a replacement tooth in the way that a dental bridge or denture is. The implant is a thin post (made from biocompatible materials, usually titanium) that is surgically placed into the jawbone to mimic the root structure of one or more lost teeth. From there, it fuses with the jawbone and existing oral structures in a process called osseointegration. Once the implants are fully in place, metal connectors are attached, allowing them to secure dental crowns, bridges, and even dentures into place and complete your smile. Essentially, dental implants are the only option that can rebuild missing teeth from the roots up, which is why Dr. Christensen recommends them for most patients dealing with tooth loss.

The 4-Step Dental Implant Process

Animated smile representing the four step dental implant process

While many general dental offices throughout the Kenai Peninsula have to refer their patients to separate specialists for the surgical component of dental implant treatment, Dr. Christensen has the necessary advanced training and expertise to perform this type of care right here in-office. This means that every stage of your smile transformation will be personally handled by a team you already know and trust — no time-consuming trips or “surprise” extra costs required.

While every patient’s dental implant process will differ, the four basic steps of the treatment are:

  • Initial dental implant consultation – Dr. Christensen examines your smile, handles any needed preparatory procedures, and creates a treatment plan.
  • Dental implant surgery – Implants are placed in your jawbone.
  • Dental implant osseointegration/abutment – Implant posts gradually fuse with your jawbone. Then, metal connectors are secured.
  • Delivery of dental implant restorations – Your custom crown, bridge, or denture is placed atop your abutment.

Benefits of Dental Implants

Man smiling after dental implant tooth replacement

Unlike traditional dentures and bridges, dental implants seamlessly recreate every part of the natural tooth, including the “root” that exists underneath the gumline. This allows them to accomplish many things that other options cannot. Here are just a few of the benefits that dental implants can offer your smile, health, and overall quality of life.

Lifestyle Benefits

Smiling man and woman

Dental implants are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth from every angle, including their cosmetic appearance, their ability to function, and their overall mouth feel. In fact, patients will likely forget which teeth are the “fakes” after some time has passed.

Additionally, they’ll renew almost all of the biting force that you had with your original teeth, allowing you to eat pretty much whatever you’d like. This includes hot beverages like coffee, which you typically wouldn’t be able to drink with dentures (since dentures can warp when exposed to heat). Because dental implants are secured in your jaw, you also won’t have to worry about your teeth slipping or falling out and creating embarrassing moments.

Health Benefits

Two women eating a snack together

Because they act as replacement tooth roots, dental implants keep your jawbone strong enough to maintain your facial shape. They also don’t require surrounding natural teeth to be significantly altered to accommodate their placement, which is much better for the patient’s continuing health and well-being.

Dental implants can be cared for with diligent brushing, flossing, and checkups with your dentist, just like regular teeth — no inconvenient routine changes required. Because they’re easy to maintain, they naturally promote better oral health, which is directly linked to improved overall health. In fact, people who had lost five or more teeth before the age of 65 were more likely to develop diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. Dental implants can stop these health issues in their tracks and let you enjoy the many benefits of having a complete smile.

Long-Term Benefits

Older couple smiling together

The longevity of dental implants is truly unmatched. They’re designed to last for multiple decades, and many patients can enjoy them for the rest of their lives without issue. Compared to traditional bridges and dentures, which typically break down after 10 years on average, dental implants can last for 30+ years with minimal maintenance.

While it’s true that dental implants have a higher upfront price than conventional options, they can actually save you money in the long run. Dentures and bridges have to be adjusted, repaired, or replaced entirely every few years, eventually compounding their lower, initial cost. Plus, you have to invest in special adhesives and cleaning solutions to take care of them, while dental implants can be maintained almost exactly like natural teeth.

With all of the benefits dental implants have to offer, it’s no wonder they’re becoming millions of Americans’ favorite choice to replace missing teeth!

Who Dental Implants Can Help

Woman covering smile before dental implant tooth replacement

Dental implants are highly versatile and can benefit patients who are struggling with a wide spectrum of tooth loss, from a single, small gap to an entire arch. Keep reading below to learn more about what types of restorations are available for each unique situation:

Missing One Tooth

Animated smile during dental implant supported dental crown placement

Single-tooth dental implants can be paired with all-porcelain crowns for a conservative and successful replacement. The customized restoration will slip right into place alongside natural teeth without requiring them to be reduced, and the crown’s metal-free construction will even reflect light in the same way as your original tooth enamel for a highly lifelike result.

Missing Multiple Teeth

Animated smile during dental implant supported fixed bridge placement

While dental crowns can be paired with multiple implants throughout the mouth, a dental bridge may be better suited to cases where the patient has lost several natural teeth in a row. You will only need two dental implants for this type of restoration, with each one being placed on opposite sides of the gap in question. The bridge itself is then anchored in place for a sturdy, functional fit.

Missing All Teeth

Animated smile during dental implant supported denture placement

When a significant number of natural teeth (or even an entire arch) have been lost, implant dentures can provide comprehensive, cost-effective coverage. Instead of placing one individual implant for each lost tooth, these modern prosthetics can be securely attached over a small number of strategically positioned implants throughout the jaw. Depending on the patient’s preferences and current level of oral health, the denture can be fixed permanently in place or left removable like a traditional denture. We even offer All-on-4 dental implants for additional convenience.

Learn More About Implant Dentures

Learn More About All-on-4

Understanding the Cost of Dental Implants

dEntist explaining the cost of dental implants

Determining the cost of dental implants is a complicated question and one that cannot be determined without first undergoing a dedicated consultation with Dr. Christensen. Every patient’s oral health needs are different, and there are several components to the treatment process that will affect the overall cost. This includes the number of implants needed, if connectors are necessary, and the type of restorative solution we’re creating.

While dental implants are certainly an investment, our team strongly believes it is worth making. While more traditional prosthetics will more than likely require costly repair and replacement over the years, dental implants are truly built to stand the test of time. You can count on them to benefit your overall health and well-being far into the future.

Types of Dental Implants

Three animated types of dental implants

There’s no set price for dental implants because the cost is based on several factors, such as the number of teeth you’re replacing. On average, you can expect to pay more to replace multiple teeth because you’ll need more than one implant post. The type of implant post used also impacts the cost, such as if they are titanium or ceramic.

What Are the Stages of Dental Implant Treatment?

Animated smile showing the stages of dental implant treatment

Your treatment will take several months to complete because there are multiple stages involved; however, it’s time well spent. Each phase has separate costs, which can make it easier to pay for dental implants because you won’t need to pay the entire amount upfront. On average, you can expect to pay for:

  • Initial Consultation: You’ll need an initial consultation with your dentist to ensure dental implants are right for you. Besides a visual exam, you’ll also need digital X-rays and a CT scan.
  • Additional Procedures: Many people need additional procedures before their placement surgery, such as tooth extractions, a sinus lift, or bone grafting.
  • Placement Surgery: Oral surgery is needed to strategically place your implant posts into your jawbone. Sedation or anesthesia is used to ensure a pain-free process.
  • Connectors: Each post needs an abutment to secure your restoration to your jawbone.
  • Restoration: Your replacement teeth are often the most expensive part of the treatment. The cost varies depending on the number of teeth you’re replacing.

Are Dental Implants Worth the Investment?

Man and woman laughing together

Dental implants are initially more expensive, but they will save you money down the road. Unlike any other tooth replacement option, dental implants have the potential to last for a lifetime. They have over a 95% success rate to last for several decades, so you’ll never need to worry about having them replaced if you care for them correctly.

They can also lower your long-term dental expenses. The implant posts stop dental drift by preserving your jaw’s density. This protects any remaining natural teeth to reduce your risk of cavities, gum disease, and additional tooth loss.

Does My Dental Insurance Cover Dental Implants?

Woman discussing dental insurance coverage for dental implants

Unfortunately, most dental insurance companies don’t cover the entire cost of the treatment, but they may pay for certain aspects of it, like your restorations. We work on your behalf with your insurance carrier to reduce the amount you need to pay out-of-pocket. We’ll help you find the solutions you need to cover any remaining balance, such as using third-party financing with CareCredit.

If you’re ready to permanently replace your missing teeth, dental implants may be the answer for you. Contact our dental office today to schedule your consultation.

Maintaining & Caring for Your Dental Implant

man smiling outside with arms crossed

Dental implants are a durable, natural-looking, and long-lasting solution for your smile. With proper care, they can easily last for decades – sometimes even a lifetime! Thankfully, maintaining them is easier than with other tooth replacement methods. Here's what you need to know about caring for your dental implants in Soldotna to keep your smile shining bright.

Make Oral Hygiene a Priority

older couple brushing teeth together

While dental implants themselves don't get cavities, it's crucial to keep the rest of your mouth healthy. Regularly cleaning your mouth removes debris, food, bacteria, and plaque, helping to maintain strong gums and jawbone. This ensures your implants stay secure. Remember to brush for two minutes twice a day, floss daily (or after meals), and rinse with mouthwash often.

Eat a Healthy Diet

older woman eating salad in living room

Unlike traditional solutions such as bridges and dentures, dental implants can restore about 80% or more of your natural biting strength. This means you can indulge in your favorite foods with fewer dietary limitations. However, it's important to be mindful of your food choices to maintain your implants and oral health. Limiting sugar intake can help prevent cavities and infections, while avoiding hard or sticky foods can prevent damage to your new teeth. Opting for foods rich in vitamin C and calcium can also promote healthier bone tissue to support your dental implants.

Break Bad Habits

closeup of man biting fingernails

Even with a consistent oral care routine and a healthy diet, certain bad habits can affect the lifespan of your dental implants. After restoring your smile, it's crucial to avoid these habits to ensure their longevity:

  • Smoking: Smoking can disrupt osseointegration, making your implants more susceptible to infection and increasing the risk of implant failure.
  • Using teeth as tools: Avoid using your teeth to perform tasks like cutting nails or opening containers, as this can easily damage your implants or natural teeth.
  • Chewing on hard objects: Biting down on hard items such as fingernails, pen caps, or ice can wear down the surface of your dental implants prematurely.

Protect Your Dental Implants

person holding mouthguard in hand

If you participate in sports with a potential risk of facial injury, it's wise to invest in custom athletic mouthguards from your dentist. These guards offer a protective cushion for your smile, shielding your implants from harm. Additionally, if you frequently grind your teeth while asleep, this can gradually wear them down and even loosen your implants. Ask our team about nightguards for bruxism to ensure proper protection.

Schedule Regular Dental Checkups

woman smiling while having dental checkup

Regular checkups every six months allow us to assess the condition of your implants, ensuring their stability and addressing any oral health concerns promptly. This proactive approach helps maintain a healthy smile and minimizes the risk of complications such as gum disease or infection in the future.

Dental Implant Frequently Asked Questions

Are you wondering whether dental implants in Soldotna are the right choice for you? It can be stressful to make the best decision for your oral health. At Soldotna Dental Arts, we will be more than happy to address any questions you may have. We want you to feel confident in your decision to restore your smile, so we’ve compiled some common dental implant questions we receive.

Does getting dental implants hurt?

Depending on how many implants you’re having surgically placed, most patients can be sedated. In fact, at Soldotna Dental Arts, we offer several sedation techniques including nitrous oxide. With all the latest advancements in the dental field, implant surgery is relatively pain-free. While your gums are healing, you may experience soreness and slight discomfort, but it’s usually nothing that can’t be remedied with pain medication.

When you get dental implants in Soldotna, you can put your mind at ease knowing that we utilize the latest technology in our field to increase the precision and accuracy of the procedure. Some of these features include a cone beam scanner.

How long have dental implants been around?

The modern version of dental implants has been used for over 40 years. They’re proven to be safe and effective and even boast a 95 percent success rate. Plus, when you visit your dentist in Soldotna, Dr. Christensen, he’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have and walk you through the process.

How long does the dental implant process take?

The dental implant timeline drastically varies from patient to patient, so for a precise timeframe, it’s best to visit our dental office for a consultation. The length of your treatment depends on a variety of factors. To start, we’ll determine whether you need any preparatory procedures such as gum disease treatment, tooth extractions, or a bone graft. These may take weeks or months to heal before we can schedule your dental implant surgery.

Once you get your implants placed, you’ll need to wait for your gums to heal and the titanium posts to naturally fuse with your jaw. After that, your connectors can be added. Once your permanent restorations have been created and your gums have fully healed, we can connect your replacement teeth. Typically, the process takes place over several months. During your consultation, we will examine your oral health and help create your individualized treatment timeline. 

Are dental implants better than dentures?

Everyone’s smile is different, so this question is incredibly subjective. But, if you’re a good candidate for the procedure, it’s definitely worth the investment. Because implants replace the root of your missing teeth, they help prevent jawbone deterioration and provide a durable and stable foundation for your restorations to be placed on top of. Your mouth is always changing, so dentures can slip and shift and need to be replaced more often. Plus, because they only replace the biting surface of your teeth, they aren’t able to prevent jawbone erosion.