Dental Implants

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. A person who has lost their teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything. Their teeth appear natural and their facial contours are preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile once again with confidence.

What Are Dental Implants?

The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts that protrude through the gums are then attached to the implant. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.

Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.

Dental implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. Our surgeons perform the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting if necessary. The restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process

The Surgical Procedure

The placement of dental implants begins around two months after an extraction to allow for sufficient healing.  There must  be sufficient bone to hold the implant so sometimes bone grafting procedures are necessary.  If the tooth has been absent for some time implants may still be possible after a thorough evaluation of the bone and bite.

The implant post is placed within your jawbone. For the first two to four months following surgery the implants are beneath the surface of the gums, gradually bonding with the jawbone.  Routine follow up examinations and xrays assess the healing and integration of the implant into the bone. You should be able to wear temporary appliance if needed. Most patients eat a soft diet during this period.

During the healing process your surgeon may perform small procedures, such as changing the caps covering the implant, or  a procedure uncover the implant once healed. The small posts that attach to the implant  will act as anchors for the artificial tooth or appliance. These posts will be covered and hidden from view by the artificial teeth that are placed.  Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.

What Types Of Prosthesis Are Available?

A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing tooth – each prosthetic tooth attaches to its own implant. A partial prosthesis (fixed bridge) can replace two or more teeth and may require only two or three implants. The number of implants needed to secure a full denture varies depending upon a variety of factors.  Our surgeons together with your referring dentist work closely to provide the optimal treatment plan for you.

Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types Of Restorations?

There are several reasons: A dental bridge can sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge the space of the missing tooth/teeth. In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient, not to mention dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and rather embarrassing.

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 your mouth is not ideal for implants there are ways of improving the outcome, such as bone grafting, which may be recommended.

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 general anesthesia.

Do Implants Need Special Care?

Once the implants are in place they will serve you well for many years if you take good care of them and keep your mouth healthy. Good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dental specialists is key to the long term success of dental implants.