There is evidence that the ancient Egyptians attempted crude forms of dental implants. "Modern" implant dentistry began in the 1950's with mixed results. It was not until the early 1980's, that the possibility of consistently successful results with dental implants became a reality. After several years of skepticism by much of the professional dental community, implants became increasingly more accepted as a predictable and viable form of treatment. Today, dental implants are an integral, proven mode of treatment and are considered the "standard of care" in many situations. 

In simplest terms, implants are replacements for lost teeth (actually, lost tooth roots). Implants are usually cylindrical titanium alloy fixtures that are placed in the jaw bone and used to hold a tooth crown, support a fixed bridge or secure a removable denture. 

When considering treatment with an implant (or implants) there are a few items to consider:                                                                               

1) Is there a more appropriate treatment option and what other dental conditions are present?                                                                              
-Dr. Mettens is a general dentist who will evaluate and consider all dental conditions and not only focus on your need for an implant but will offer viable alternative treatments if appropriate.

 2) What is the experience level of your implant surgeon?                                                                                                                                                 
-Dr. Mettens trained at the Midwest Implant Institute in Columbus, Ohio completing over 400 hours of continuing dental education in their Endosseous Implant and Prosthetic (restorative) programs in the early 1990's. Since then he has placed and restored hundreds of implants (actually placing his first implants in 1989) and completed over 500 additional hours of continuing education in dental implants (surgery, restoration and related treatments). He is experienced with bone augmentation and grafting procedures, including sinus grafting (to allow implant placement in the in the upper rear jaw).

3) If a "team" approach (multiple dentists) is planned, who takes responsibility if problems should occur?                                                          
-Because we provide services from treatment planning to surgical placement to final restoraion and continuing follow up care, if a problem should occur, we take responsibility for appropriate corrective measures.

4) Is more than one type of implant available or is it "one type or size fits all"?                                                                                                               
-Nearly all implant systems currently available have proven success rates. However, there is not one best implant for every situation. Because of variations in bone quality, quantity and morphology and differing restorative requirements, Dr. Mettens firmly believes that it is highly advantageous to have multiple implant types or styles at his disposal. Since placing his first implants in 1989, he has placed and restored 11 different implant systems and currently has 5 systems available to suit nearly all requirements.   

5) What is the degree of planning required for your particular case?                                                                                                                                
-Implant dentistry has been called a prosthetic (tooth replacement) discipline with a surgical component. This means that the end result is planned first, followed by requirements needed to achieve that result. As a general dentist, Dr. Mettens is acutely aware of the restorative needs for each particular case. After these needs are determined, we utilize a Galileos Cone Beam Scan for nearly all of our cases to aid in determining implant type, size and placement parameters.

After 25 years of placing and restoring implants, they have become a common and essential treatment modality in our practice. Dr. Mettens thoroughly enjoys the implant component of his practice and considers each case as new and unique. While some implants can be comfortably placed with only local anesthesia (numbing), many are placed using local anesthetic and a mild sedation for total patient comfort. Most patients return to a normal routine (with a few simple restrictions) the day following surgery.

We welcome your questions about dental implants and are available for consultation regarding your situation and particular treatment needs.