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 regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.
Why select dental implants instead of more traditional types of restorations?
There are several reasons: A bridge requires your dentist to grind away healthy tooth structure adjacent to the site of your missing tooth. That process can be harmful to the teeth. Why sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge a space? Many patients are unsatisfied with removable partial dentures due to the unsightly clasps that are required to stabilize them or the necessity for their removal at night. A complete denture may be unstable resulting in difficulty eating or speaking. Implants can stabilize the denture and improve your function with a denture.
Are you a candidate?
If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history reviewed. If the condition of your jaws is not ideal for implants, our surgeons may recommend additional procedure to improve them. It is common for our surgeons to perform bone and/or soft-tissue grafting.
What type of anesthesia is used?
The majority of implants and bone grafting can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, with or without general anesthesia. No hospitalization is required.
Do dental 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 specialists.
Implants are placed into the bone of the jaws following a complex preparation of the site. The placement must be accurate in three dimensions. Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons have extensive experience with implant procedures. All cases are coordinated with the restorative dentist (your dentist).
Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons utilize the most advanced implant surface technology to limit the healing time required for the bone to bond to the implant. This technology is expensive, but the result is your ability to complete your dental restorations much sooner then in the past. Most patients are ready to begin working with their restorative dentist in six weeks.
After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. To assure that the implant-bone interface is appropriate, our surgeons perform an examination and execute specific testing of the implant prior to authorizing implant restoration by your dentist.
Using the most recent advances in implant technology, our oral and maxillofacial surgeons 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 artificial teeth are placed. There are even situations where the implants can be placed at the same time as a tooth extraction — further minimizing the number of oral surgical procedures.
Dental implants are 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 also will make any temporary prosthesis, if one is needed, during the implant process.
What types of prostheses are available?
A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing tooth — each prosthetic tooth attaches to its own implant. A bridge can replace two or more teeth and is placed as a single unit on multiple implants. A complete dental prosthesis can replace all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants required varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended. A removable prosthesis, also called an “overdenture,” attaches firmly to the dental implants. There are many ways to accomplish this. A fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by the dentist.