Dental Implants

At St. Louis Prosthodontists, we specialize in providing customized solutions to complex dental problems. With over two decades of experience practicing dentistry in St. Louis and the surrounding area, we’ve developed a solid reputation in the community for quality care. Dr. Shea believes strongly in carefully listening to each patient’s individual concerns and in answering all questions with clarity and patience, explaining each step of the treatment process thoroughly so that you’ll know exactly what to expect. He also takes the time to evaluate all possible treatment options before moving forward with a personalized plan designed to meet your individual needs and preferences.

Dr. Shea has years of experience with dental implants and keeps current with all the latest implant technology. Here’s what you need to know about dental implants:

What Are Dental Implants? 

Dental implants are fixtures made from titanium alloy that are implanted into the bone tissue of the jaw and used as a base for prosthetic teeth. Titanium is chosen because of its unique ability to bond with the bone tissues. After this process is complete, your dentist will connect an abutment to the implant which is used to attach a prosthetic tooth.

Why Do Most People Prefer Implants Over Dentures?

Unlike dentures, implants provide an experience as close as possible to having natural teeth. People like them because they don’t have to remove them at night to be cleaned and soaked and because they look more natural than dentures. They also function more like natural teeth, making it easier to chew food.

Are You a Good Candidate for Implants?

Candidates for dental implants need to be in good overall health as well as in good oral health. If you’ve got gum disease, you’ll need to work with your dentist to eliminate this issue before you can have implants installed. Ideal candidates for dental implants what you need to

What You Need to Know About Bone Grafting

Because bone loss often occurs when teeth in surrounding areas have been lost due to decay or injury, it’s not unusual for implant patients to need a bone graft before the implants can be installed. Bone grafting involves removing bone tissue from one part of the body and transplanting it in another — in this case, the jaw area where the implants are to be installed. It usually takes several months after the graft is performed for the area to be ready to accept implants.

Are Implants Safe for Children?

Dental implants are generally not recommended for children because their jawbones have not yet stopped growing, and the implants may shift out of place as the bone tissue continues to grow. It’s recommended that implants not be installed before the age of 16 in girls and before the age of 18 in boys. However, your child can still have a dental bridge installed in order to cover any gaps between the teeth that may exist..

How to Prepare for Your Implants 

Your dentist will provide you with a customized list of do’s and don’ts to follow in order to prepare yourself for the implant procedure. You may be prescribed a course of antibiotics if you have a weak immune system. If you’re going to be having general anesthesia, your dentist will ask you to fast for at least 12 hours prior to the procedure. You’ll also be asked about any medication you may be taking into order to avoid negative drug interactions.

You should also stock up on soft foods, over-the-counter pain relievers,  and other necessities before the implant procedure so that you can recover in peace without having to run out to the supermarket. Schedule downtime, take a break from physical exertion for a couple of days, and arrange for household help if necessary. If necessary, plan to take two or three days off from your job. Keep in mind that how thoroughly you prepare for your recovery period, the better it will go.

What to Expect From the Implant Procedure

The implant procedure varies depending on a number of factors. A young, very healthy adult who is only having one or two teeth replaced won’t expect to spend nearly the amount of time in the dentist’s chair as someone who is having multiple implants put in place.

After your implants are put into place, they’ll need to be left alone for a period of between three and six months so that the titanium alloy can bond with your bone tissue. After this period has passed, your dentist will attach the post, or abutment, to which your custom-made crown will be attached. The final step will be to put your prosthetic crowns in place.

What is the Success Rate of Dental Implants?

Dental implants have a success rate of up to 95%. Unlike your natural teeth tissues, your implants won’t decay. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t develop gum disease. The success rate of your implants as well as how long they last will depend highly on how well you care for them after they’re installed.

How to Care for Your Implants

Practicing proper dental hygiene at home helps ensure the success rate of your implants. Your dentist will recommend a toothpaste and dental floss specifically designed for use on prosthetic teeth. This will help keep bacteria from building up and negatively affecting the health of your gums. Although the composite material used to manufacture prosthetic teeth is strong, it’s nonetheless wise to err on the side of caution and avoid biting down on hard food items such as candy or certain nuts and chewing on pencils. Scheduling a checkup with your dentist every six months will also keep your implants in the best possible shape.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at your convenience for more information on dental implants or to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled staff members to explore whether implants are a good solution for your dental issues.

If your dental needs are above the ordinary, beyond the typical, you are in luck, as Dr. Joseph F. Shea created St. Louis Prosthodontics with patients like you in mind.

Dr. Shea has seen, studied and solved virtually every type of dental problem and stays current on dental advancements through rigorous continuing education. There’s no dental issue too complex for him, including yours.

Dr. Shea specializes in Complex Reconstructive Dentistry.

Restoring and replacing damaged teeth is what the dental specialty of prosthodontics is all about. And as the only fulltime prosthodontist in private practice in the St. Louis area Dr. Shea excels at treating these conditions successfully. So if you have missing teeth, lost teeth structure and function, or other congenital or developmental oral issues, trust Dr. Shea with your smile.

Dr. Shea has spent a lifetime preparing for your care.

In fact, you should think of Dr. Shea as your dental architect. As a specialist in restorative dentistry, he has the unique skills to design and execute the blueprint for rebuilding the beauty and function of your smile. Dr. Shea is a highly skilled prosthodontist, offering you more than 20 years of experience, knowledge and technical excellence. He stays on the leading edge of dental reconstruction procedures through on-going education, training and certification.

Your new smile starts with a Comprehensive Treatment Plan.

Dr. Shea begins with the end in mind. He carefully listens to you to understand your goals, hopes and dreams. He answers your questions, clearly and honestly. Next, he researches and evaluates the potential ways to “create and build” your dental solution.

Then he presents his plan to you; explains his diagnosis, procedures, benefits, costs and timetable. And unlike general dentists, he sees complex dental cases regu­larly and has successfully performed them for years.

Your dental solution is one-of-a-kind — exclusively yours.

Your mouth and teeth are unique, so Dr. Shea’s customized solution is essential to achieving your goals. The result can change your life – provide you with new confidence, a more enjoyable eating experience, and a light-up-the-room smile.

For more information about complex dental problems please contact us. Or to make an appointment call us at (314) 822-9446 or use the online appointment request form.

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