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 nearly like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat foods more easily and can smile with confidence, knowing that these replacement teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved.

What Are Dental Implants?

The implants themselves are titanium posts of various sizes that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone attaches to the implant surface, 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.

The Surgical Procedure

For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. At the same time, your dentist is forming new replacement teeth.

After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Our doctors will uncover the implants and attach small posts that protrude through the gums and will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. When the artificial teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.

Dental Implants 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.

Dental Implants Presentation

Surgical Advances

Our doctors use the most recent advances in dental implant technology to place the implants expediently and in precise locations.  The use of surgical guides and guidance systems will sometimes allow for avoiding bone grafting surgeries, which may increase costs and overall treatment times.  Our doctors strive to place implants in the fewest number of surgeries and at the lowest cost possible, though our primary goal is to give a patient the best implant possible which will last a long time and function well with as few complications as possible.  Some implants can be placed at the time of tooth removal, though many times it will need to be placed after the socket has healed.  Your doctor will discuss with you your options and the estimated time it will take to complete treatment.

Dental Implant restorations are a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. While our doctors 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.

What Types Of Prosthesis Are Available?

A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing tooth with each prosthetic tooth attaching to its own implant. A partial prosthesis (fixed bridge) can replace two or more teeth and may require only two or three implants. A complete dental prosthesis (fixed bridge) replaces all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended. A removable prosthesis (over denture) attaches to a bar or ball in socket attachments, whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by the dentist.

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? In addition, removing a denture or a partial at night may be inconvenient, not to mention that dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and rather embarrassing.

Are You A Candidate For Implants?

Almost all patients are a candidate for dental implants.  If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly, and your medical and dental history reviewed.  Often, a 3D radiograph is taken (Cone Beam CT). If you mouth is not ideal for implants, ways of improving the overall outcome, such as bone grafting, may be recommended.

Even some people who have been told are not candidates for implants can be treated with specialized implants called zygomatic and pterygoid implants.  These specialized implants are for patients with minimal jaw bone remaining.  Our doctors have special training in order to provide this care.

What Type Of Anesthesia Is Used?

The implant procedure is a very gentle technique. The majority of dental implants and bone graft can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, with or without other sedation methods.

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 specialists.