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.
At Oral Facial Surgery, P. A., Drs. Hughes and Bays believe that dental implant placement is best done as a team effort between a trained and experienced surgical specialist and your restorative dentist. In this approach, each member of your implant team is concentrating on the aspects of your care that they are most experienced in and do best. While Drs. Hughes and Bays 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.
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What Are Dental Implants?
The implants themselves are 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 (a process referred to as osseointegration), 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 your dentist to construct artificial replacement teeth.
Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
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 integrating 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. Drs. Hughes and Bays 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.
There are certain situations where the dental implants can be placed at the same time as a tooth extraction. Drs. Hughes and Bays can evaluate whether you are a candidate for immediate placement of a dental implant.
The movie below shows the steps of a single stage placement of an implant and then a crown. It is called single stage because the healing cap is placed at the same time as the implant fixture, eliminating another surgery to expose the implant and place the healing cap. After a few months of healing the healing cap is removed and the final crown restoration is cemented on top of the post and core.
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.
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Drs. Hughes and Bays work to provide the best and most predictable implant treatment. Cone beam computed tomography (CT) provides 3-dimensional information on bone volume, anatomy, and quality. This along with sophisticated treatment planning software can allow digitally guided surgery, particularly in complex restorative situations.
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. A complete dental prosthesis (denture) 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.
Drs. Hughes and Bays perform in-office implant surgery in an operating suite, thus optimizing the level of sterility. 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 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.
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?
When you need to replace missing teeth, you want something as close to natural teeth as possible. Dental implants are the only solution that replaces the entire missing tooth and preserves the supporting bone.
Dental implants represent the state of the art in dental technology, and are considered the preferred approach over fixed bridges or removable dentures for those patients who qualify as candidates.
Watch the movie below which shows two types of tooth replacement options – a bridge and an Implant. It shows that through time the Implant is a much better option to replace a missing tooth. The bridge eventually fails and more teeth are lost. Also, due to the missing teeth there is atrophy of the ridge and the area does not look as natural as the implant option.
Are You A Candidate For Implants?
If you are considering implants, an initial consultation will be done. At that time, a thorough examination and review of your medical and dental history along with appropiate x-rays and CT scans will be done to determine whether you are a candidate for dental implants. There are a few medical and dental conditions that can prevent dental implant placement, but the vast majority of people are able to safely undergo dental implant restoration.
What Type Of Anesthesia Is Used?
At Oral Facial Surgery, P.A., we offer a full spectrum of anesthetic choices to make dental implant procedures as easy and comfortable as possible. Drs. Hughes and Bays have the training, licence, and experience to provide local anesthesia, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) sedation, or intravenous anesthesia.
Do Implants Need Special Care?
Once the implants are in place, they should 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 family dentist and dental specialists.