Imagine Your Smile

Natural Dentistry

By Mark W. Wilhelm DMD, MSD


About Dental Implants

Dr. Wilhelm has become a preferred choice for dental implants in Minnesota, Western Wisconsin, Northern Iowa and the Twin Cities area. Dr. Wilhelm has performed implant dentistry for over 20 years, and has taken advanced courses, seminars, and hands-on training to provide his patients with dental implants using the latest technology and the very highest level of care. Patients often refer their friends and family members to us because of Dr. Wilhelm’s friendly communication style and most importantly for his smile-enhancing results.

Dental implants are the most stable and cost-effective solution when it comes to replacing missing teeth, whether they’re for one or two teeth or even an entire mouth. But they also require specialized knowledge, expertise, instrumentation and equipment. Our dental implant dentist is one of the few dentists in the state of Minnesota who can perform both the surgical placement and reconstructive phases of implants (placing the teeth themselves). This means you don’t have to see two or more doctors to complete your smile. In Dr Wilhelm’s office we use newly developed techniques and technology to make your visit easier, faster and more comfortable.

The following section answers many of the questions our patients have about this procedure, but please give Dr. Wilhelm a call at (651) 227-2427 or contact us by email if you would like to know more about the advantages of replacing missing teeth with dental implants.

What are implants?

A dental implant is a man-made substitute that is created to replace a missing tooth’s roots. Implants are usually made of a space-age alloy or titanium and they come in various shapes and sizes to fit your individual needs. Most are cylinders placed into bone where your tooth was and allowed to bond undisturbed while bone heals around them, locking them in like an anchor. Some implants are placed at the same time a tooth is removed while others are placed into areas where teeth have been missing for years. After an appropriate healing time, the implants are used as a foundation for replacing the missing teeth. Prosthetic restorations, like porcelain crowns, bridge-work or dentures are attached to a post or abutment which is attached to the implant. So when you chew, the implant acts like the root of a tooth – it transmits force to the jaw and stimulates the bone. Implants are so comfortable you’ll soon forget you have them. Your body will think it’s your own, and so will you.

Am I a dental implant candidate?

If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants are the perfect option for you. You may also be a candidate for dental implants if you have problems with existing crowns or bridges, or if you have loose dentures. Dental implants can be placed in any position where you normally had teeth. Where your jaw anatomy has abundant bone, implant placement is straight forward. In areas that lack sufficient bone, Dr. Wilhelm can create enough space utilizing any number of advanced methods of augmentation or grafting. To determine if you have enough bone, Dr. Wilhelm may use a newer x-ray technology called a Cone Beam CT (CBCT) machine. Using an in-office CBCT machine Dr. Wilhelm can examine areas of your mouth in 3-D and easily determine whether you have adequate bone or may require a procedure to add bone. If you have been missing teeth for years, don’t worry, Dr. Wilhelm will develop a custom solution for you whether you desire an entire set of teeth that don’t come out at night, or you want to help your dentures stay more secure.

What are the benefits of dental implants?

First of all, you will be able to smile – a big, healthy, happy smile. And you will have a lot to smile about. Dental implants allow you to speak, eat, sing; everything you want to do with total confidence and self-assurance. United States denture wearers spend over $150 million a year on adhesives in an effort to hold their dentures in place. With implants, you don’t have to worry about loose dentures, an inconsistent fit, or other embarrassments such as unpleasant taste, bad breath or poor appearance. Dental implants are also not susceptible to dental decay (caries), root caries, or hot/cold sensitivity. And you can floss and brush as you do with your own teeth.

In addition to improving your self-esteem, dental implants also make a big difference in your overall physical health and appearance. As a result of losing one or more teeth, you inevitably lose mass in your jaw. This affects the overall skeletal structure of your face, which not only changes your profile, but also may result in thin lips, drooping muscles, jowls or witch’s chin appearance. Bone loss in the jaw affects the gums and ridges in your mouth, as well as the muscles and nerves in and around the mouth. These conditions, which are the inevitable consequence of tooth loss, are associated with a host of anatomic and clinical problems, ranging from increased tongue size, to looseness of remaining teeth, to loss of sensation, to severely painful conditions. These conditions may only be avoided through use of dental implants, because implants can halt and even reverse the bone loss that results from missing teeth.

How does the procedure work?

There are several steps to getting a dental implant, which we will explain here. However, the best way to learn more about dental implant procedure and to determine if implants will work well for you is to give Dr. Wilhelm a call at 651-227-2427 or contact us by email.

The first step requires the actual “implant”, a small grooved or threaded titanium post, to be planted into your jawbone. The thickness and type of bone at the implant’s location determines which size and style post should be used. Local anesthesia makes sure you are comfortable throughout this part of the procedure.

Your body immediately begins to “bond” with the titanium post, as if they were a natural part of your own body. This is a very important process and may take several months before the next step can begin. Bonding can literally last forever. During this bonding process you can choose to wear a temporary tooth, teeth or denture.

Once the titanium implant is bonded or healed, a wider post is attached to the titanium implant and your new tooth is attached to this second post with one of the world’s most secure adhesives. Cosmetic Denture construction involves the use of attachments or snaps to help secure the denture. The restorative phase of treatment is comfortable and does not require any anesthetic.

How long does it take to get teeth?

While it is possible to have an implant placed and go home with a replacement tooth, this is usually not the case. There are many factors that are considered when planning to place dental implants. Every step that cuts corners or saves time carries an increased risk of potential problems. When you have teeth that require removal there is the potential to have the tooth removed and the implant placed “immediately” into the tooth socket. This is a common procedure for some of the back teeth but typically not the molars. Because the molars have multiple roots and sockets they are best left to heal for approximately eight weeks before placing the implant. Upper front teeth that are visible when you smile require the most care. We not only want your implant to be successful we want it to look inconspicuous. To accomplish this we generally remove the tooth and augment the gum tissue and allow that to heal first. Front teeth that do not show can be implanted “immediately”. Dr. Wilhelm can also replace an entire set of teeth with “Instant Teeth” or “Same Day Teeth”. These procedures provide temporary teeth that are replaced with permanent teeth after healing is complete. Call Dr. Wilhelm today at 651-227-2427 or contact us by email to schedule a complimentary consultation to determine how long it may take you to receive a new smile.

How many implants will I need?

While single tooth spaces obviously require a single implant, multiple tooth spaces often need fewer implants. In the back of the mouth a three-tooth space is restored using one implant on each end and a false tooth in the center. The front of the mouth can often use two implants to replace four or all six front teeth. Where there are no implants Dr. Wilhelm develops the gum tissue and restoration to appear as though a tooth is growing naturally out the gum. To correctly determine the required number of implants that you may need, Dr. Wilhelm will consider individual factors such as how hard you use your teeth, which teeth are replaced, how the implants can be distributed, and whether or not your new teeth are removable for cleaning or permanently fixed in place. Lastly, some clinics want you to believe that there is ONE way to treat everybody. Whether it is based on desires, needs or budget constraints Dr. Wilhelm believes that you should be treated the best way that you CHOOSE to be treated. Call 651-227-2427 today and learn why Dr. Wilhelm is Minnesota’s preferred choice for so many dental implant customers.

How do dental implants prevent bone loss?

Bone needs stimulation to maintain its form and density. That is why the astronauts lose bone mass while they are in space – their bones lack the stimulation that results from our everyday resistance to gravity. The bone in your jaw is constantly reinforced by the force applied by your teeth. It is as if implants “trick” the bone into thinking there is still a tooth present. By transmitting the natural forces of chewing to the jaw, implants increase bone density. Dental implants have been proven not only to stop bone loss, but in some cases actually reverse bone loss and restore the health of the jaw.

Can I still eat my favorite foods with implants?

Yes. Implants are remarkably strong, and remember – they stay put, unlike removable dentures. So you can eat and enjoy whatever you wish.

The maximum bite force of a traditional denture ranges from 5 to 50 pounds. Almost one-third of denture wearers are able to eat only soft or mashed foods, and 50 percent avoid many foods. 17 percent claim that they chew more effectively without dentures. By contrast, patients with dental implants may increase their bite force by 85 percent within two months of completing treatment, and by 300 percent after three years.

Are implant procedures painful?

In most cases these procedures produce very little, if any, discomfort. Your decision to use implants will help you to avoid pain and discomfort you may experience in the long term. As with any dental procedure, Dr. Wilhelm is equipped to provide you with appropriate pain relief treatment. For more information about the different sedation options Dr. Wilhelm provides, visit our sedation dentistry page.

What are Dr. Wilhelm’s patients saying about their dental implants?

“What impresses me most about Dr. Wilhelm and his staff is the high level of professionalism and compassion.”
Sue began seeing Dr. Wilhelm in 1995. Since then she has benefited from his “cutting edge technology and his endless search to find the best solutions for his patients.” In 1998 when she was faced with a failing bridge Dr. Wilhelm educated her about the wonders of dental implants. Since Sue works with people who strive to achieve the best cosmetically, she expected nothing less for herself. She turned to Dr. Wilhelm to restore her dynamic smile. “He is the best of the best and I’ve never been disappointed with the results!”

Sue L. – Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry Patient

“Dr. Wilhelm and his staff took the time to address my concerns and were very patient about answering all of my questions. The procedure and end result was everything Dr. Wilhelm told me it would be and more!”

Bernard W. – Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry Patient

“It’s the ONLY option for replacing missing teeth as far as I’m concerned! I would do it again!

Emilie -Dental Implant Patient

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Genuine and Caring


Dr. Wilhelm and his staff are genuine and caring which made my dental visits more enjoyable. I also want to thank Dr. Wilhelm for his artistic ability to create a natural smile that I feel confident with.

He and his staff were as excited as I was with my results. I would highly recommend Dr. Wilhelm.

Tim S.

Dr. Wilhelm and the staff were wonderful

mary-archerBeing very apprehensive of dental care I knew I needed somehow to overcome my fear. From my first phone call to Dr. Wilhelm to the completion of my dental work Dr. Wilhelm and the staff were wonderful. They went above my expectation to make me feel comfortable and relaxed through the intensive process of an upper prosthetic. They made sure everything fit perfectly and that they were functional for me, I can eat corn on the cob! My questions were answered promptly and to my satisfaction. Dr. Wilhelm even met me at his office after hours when I needed it. I have recommended Dr. Wilhelm and his staff to many people and will continue to do so. Thank-you all for my rock star smile!

Mary A.


judy-mcstottOn September 13th I had a serious accident in which I lost my front teeth. I was devastated. I was immediately referred to Dr. Wilhelm who is a Prosthodontic specialist. The professionalism and skill that Dr. Wilhelm and his staff demonstrated was remarkable. Dr. Wilhelm was instrumental in building me a perfect set of teeth that I am so proud of.

I would highly recommend Dr. Wilhelm for his skill, professionalism and complete concern for his patients.

I wasn’t comfortable smiling for about 2 years. It really is amazing how a beautiful smile will give you so much confidence. I have had many nice compliments on my new smile….what a great feeling! Dr. Wilhelm and his staff were extremely thorough, from start to finish. I would highly recommend Dr.Wilhelm to everyone.

Judy M.