Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth can now regain the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile and chew with comfort and confidence.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into the upper and / or lower jaws where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root replacements. Over several months the bone bonds with the titanium surface, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts (abutments) are then attached to the implant(s). These posts ultimately provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth and function just like natural teeth.
Implants also help preserve facial structures, preventing bone deterioration(atrophy) that normally occurs when teeth are missing.
The Surgical Procedure
For some patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures (two-stage placement). If two-stage placement is done, first, implants are surgically placed within the jaws. For the first two to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the bone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time without pain.
After the bone has bonded to the implant(s), the second phase begins. Our doctors will uncover the implants and attach small posts (abutments) that protrude through the gums and will eventually act as anchors for the artificial teeth. When the artificial teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure is usually three to seven months, depending upon bone quality. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life during this care.
Dental Implant Presentation
To provide you with a better understanding of dental implants, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to dental implants are discussed.
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Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, we are now able to place single stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require a minimum of six weeks of healing time before final artificial teeth are placed. Frequently, the implants can be placed at the same time as a tooth extraction – further minimizing the number of surgical procedures and treatment time. In some cases, temporary dental restorations can be placed with-in hours to weeks of implant placement getting you back to normal as soon as possible.
Dental Implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. While we perform the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting if necessary, the restorative dentist (your general dentist) fabricates and places the final definitive prosthesis. Your dentist will also typically make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.
What Types Of Prosthesis Are Available?
A single implant is used to replace a single missing tooth. Each prosthetic tooth (crown) attaches to its own implant much like a natural tooth. Implants can be used to support bridges replacing two or more teeth. A complete dental arch prosthesis replaces all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants typically varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended. A removable prosthesis (patient removable over-denture) attaches to a bar or individual attachments, whereas a fixed prosthesis is removable only by the dentist.
Our doctors perform in-office implant surgery in hospital-style operating suites, thus optimizing the level of sterility. In-patient hospital implant surgery is for patients who have special medical or anesthetic needs or for those who need extensive bone grafting in which bone is harvested from the jaw, hip or other donor sites.
Why Dental Implants?
Once you learn about dental implants, you finally realize there is a predictable and affordable way to improve you life. When you lose several teeth – whether it’s a new situation or something you have lived with for years – chances are you have never become fully accustomed to losing such a vital part of yourself.
Dental implants can be your doorway
to renewed self-confidence and peace of mind.
A Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, developed this concept for oral rehabilitation more than 35 years ago. With his pioneering research, Dr. Branemark opened the door to a lifetime of renewed comfort and self-confidence for millions of individuals facing the frustration and embarrassment of tooth loss.
Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types Of Restorations?
There are several reasons: Why sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge a space? This only results in a cascade of events frequently resulting in loss of the supporting teeth. In addition, having to remove a denture or a “partial” in the restaurant restroom or at night with your bed partner can be at least inconvenient if not embarrassing, not to mention that dentures slip and can be uncomfortable.
Are You A Candidate For Implants?
If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history reviewed. If you mouth is not ideal for implants, ways of improving outcome, such as bone grafting, may be recommended. Most everyone can be restored with dental implants.
What Type Of Anesthesia Is Used?
The majority of dental implants and bone grafting can be performed in our office under local anesthesia, with or without intravenous general anesthesia. Our doctors will discuss these options at your initial consultation with your comfort in mind.
Do Implants Need Special Care?
Once the implants are in place, they will serve you well for many years if you take care of them and keep your mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dental providers. Typically though, no extraordinary care is necessary. Take care of your implants like natural teeth.