What are Dental Implants Chapel Hill, NC

Dental implants are now the most sophisticated way to replace missing teeth. They are the only long-term tooth loss solution and the second-best choice over natural teeth. Dr. James Furgurson and Dr. Nathan White are top dental implant dentists in Chapel Hill, NC. They have helped many patients restore their oral health with implant-supported restorations over the years. Below, we discuss what dental implants are and how they can restore your smile.

Dental Implants in Chapel Hill NC

What are Dental Implants?

Teeth implants are dental devices that will secure false teeth and replace the root structure of missing teeth. An implant is a titanium post that looks like a screw. Titanium is a metal used inside the human body. It is a medical-grade, safe, and biocompatible material.

A dentist will surgically place the Titanium implants into the jaw bone during implant treatment. There, the implants will fuse with the surrounding jawbone. Implants act as an anchor or post for dental restorations. They replace missing teeth at the root, holding crowns, bridges, and dentures in place.

Many types of dental implants are available in various lengths and diameters. These implants can accommodate the different locations along the upper and lower arches of bone.

Standard dental implant – A typical dental implant is about 3.4 mm to 4.2 mm in diameter. Dentists typically use them in the front of the mouth because they are skinny and short. Patients with a weakened jaw bone benefit from standard dental implants. 

Wide platform dental implant – This type of implant is between 4.5 mm and 6 mm in diameter. Dentists use them in the back of the mouth. Wide platform dental implants can support molars.

Mini dental implant – A mini implant is narrow and ranges in diameter from 1.8 mm to 3.3 mm. Dentists may recommend a mini implant if there is less room between the roots or when a patient does not have enough bone density. Often, patients can get mini dental implants without a bone graft.

Parts of a Dental Implant

Before you receive one or more dental implants, you should know the components of your implant restoration. There are three main parts of the dental implant:

Implant Post

The implant post is the first part of an implant-supported dental restoration. A dentist will surgically insert this fixture into the jaw bone, acting as the new tooth root and supporting the new, fake teeth. It will take a few months to fuse with the surrounding bone completely. Patients may require 1-8 implants per arch to support their restoration.


After the implant posts fuse with the jaw bone, your dentist will attach a small metal piece, the abutment, to the posts. This involves a minor surgery where the dentist will uncover the implants to connect them. Sometimes, they may use a healing abutment.

The dentist will immediately place the healing abutment on the implant after placement. In this circumstance, a second minor surgery is not necessary. Instead, the dentist will simply replace the healing abutment with the permanent one.

Dental Restoration

A dental restoration is the part that will replace the missing teeth. It is the last thing your dentist will place to complete your new smile. The type of restoration you need will depend on how many teeth you are missing.

  • Dr. Furgurson or Dr. White will use a single dental implant to replace one missing tooth. They will secure the implant with a dental crown as the replacement tooth. A crown is a tooth-colored cap, typically made of porcelain materials to match other natural teeth in the smile.
  • For multiple consecutive missing teeth, they will place at least two dental implant posts in the jaw bone. Then, our dentists will design and place a custom-made dental bridge to the implants. A dental bridge consists of a row of multiple teeth.
  • Our dentists may use up to eight dental implants to secure a custom-made full denture for a row of missing teeth. Denture implants can replace a full set of teeth. You can receive a partial or a complete denture. Partial dentures replace rows of teeth in different parts of the smile. Complete dentures restore the top and bottom tooth rows.

Dental Implant Evaluation

We will evaluate your smile before determining if dental implants suit you. Before implant treatment, will take detailed dental X-rays to view your teeth, gums, and jaw bone. We may recommend bone grafting if you do not have enough jaw bone to support your implants. Our dentists will also recommend tooth extractions, gum disease treatment, or other preventative care for oral health problems.

Dr. Furgurson and Dr. White will ensure you are as healthy as possible before dental implant treatment. They perform a thorough evaluation and provide dental treatments so you can receive dental implants safely. Dental implant evaluations also ensure dental implants stay in the mouth after surgery. We eliminate the risk of implant failure with proper preparation. 

Dental Implant Procedure

We will begin the treatment process once we determine that you are a good candidate for dental implants. During treatment, will place you under general anesthesia so you do not feel any discomfort or pain. Dr. Furgurson or Dr. White will place your implants in the jawbone. Then, they will place healing caps over the dental implants.

After three to six months, you will return to receive your final dental restorations. These restorations are made from dental impressions of your smile. Getting used to biting, chewing, eating, and speaking with your restoration will take time. However, you will benefit from improved tooth function and aesthetics once you receive a permanent restoration. 

Restore Your Smile Today

To learn more about dental implants and if they are the right solution for you, call 919.736.6175. You may also schedule a consultation with Dr. Furgurson or Dr. White in Chapel Hill, NC! Feel free to ask our dentists any questions about dental implant restorations. They’re here to help you. 

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