are a revolutionary way to replace missing teeth. They can be life changing for many patients, allowing them to eat, speak, laugh and enjoy life in comfort and with confidence. Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. If you have lost teeth, you will regain the ability to eat as you did when you had your natural healthy teeth and you will be able to smile with confidence knowing that your teeth appear natural.
What Are Dental Implants?
The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for the crowns (artificial teeth) which are placed on small posts that protrude through the gum.
These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth. These posts will not be seen after the artificial teeth are in place. Studies have found that the success rate for today’s dental implants is as high as 98%, with no or little discernable bone loss.
In the hands of a properly trained and skilled oral surgeon they are a safe, predictable and most often preferred alternative to old-fashioned bridges and dentures. Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, our doctors are 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 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 surgical procedures.
Advances in dental implant technology have made it possible, in some cases, to extract teeth and place implants with crowns in one visit. This procedure is called “immediate loading” and a patient can leave the office on the same day with their replacement teeth.
Dental implant placement is 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 healing 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 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.
Our doctors perform in-office implant surgery in a hospital-style operating suite, thus optimizing the level of sterility and the continuity of service. You will meet your surgical team at the time of your consultation so that on the day of surgery they will be familiar with you and your needs. Inpatient hospital implant surgery is for patients who have special medical or anesthetic needs or for those who need extensive bone grafting from the jaw, hip or tibia.
Why Dental Implants?
Once you learn about dental implants, you finally realize there is a way to significantly improve your 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.
Life’s simple pleasures can cause problems and pain for the millions of adults who suffer from permanent tooth loss. Men and women of all ages are self-conscious about their dentures, bridges or missing teeth. Some have difficulty speaking because their dentures slip or click. For others, the irritation and pain caused by dentures are constant reminders of the limitation they feel.
Many are concerned about their apperance and may feel that their tooth loss has “aged them” before their time. Some people regularly decline invitations to social events because they are unwilling to face the undertainties of eating, speaking and laughing in public. Many can no longer enjoy their favorite foods, nor the social interaction with family and friends that accompanies special meals.
Dental implants can be your doorway to renewed self-confidence and the elimination of your embrassment from tooth loss.
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, ways of improving outcome, such as bone grafting, may be recommended.
There is not a “right” age for placing implants. Our doctors have placed implants in patients of all ages. Even complete dentures can now be supported by implants. The advantage of an implant-supported overdenture is that it is completely stable, with no slipping, no rocking and no falling out. Speaking and chewing are unaffected.
What Type Of Anesthesia Is Used?
The majority of dental implants and bone grafts can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, nitrous oxide or IV conscious sedation, or even general anesthesia. At the time of your consult the doctor will discuss the various methods of anesthesia and together you will decide which type of anesthesia is best for you.
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. Dental implants are not susceptible to periodontal disease or tooth decay. They are considered permanent — and in most cases last a lifetime.