Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are
designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth which 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
What Are Dental Implants?
The implants themselves are root shaped titanium posts that
are inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These tooth root
substitutes serve as metal anchors. Once they are surgically placed into the
jawbone the bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for
artificial teeth. Small posts are then attached to the implant, which protrude
through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement
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 bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to
wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time.
After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second
phase begins. The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
will uncover the implants and attach small posts, which will act as anchors for
the artificial teeth. These posts protrude through the gums. 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 Implant 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.
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Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology,
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are sometimes 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 select cases, to extract teeth and place
implants with crowns at one visit. This procedure, called “immediate
loading”, in select cases simplifies the surgical process.
Who actually performs the implant placement?
Implants are a team effort between an Oral and Maxillofacial
Surgeon and a Restorative Dentist. The surgeon performs the actual implant
surgery, and 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
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 (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 snap or ball in socket attachments,
whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by the dentist.
Dental Implant Overview
For a brief narrated overview of the dental implant process, please click the image below. It will launch our flash educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about dental implants.
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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 thirty-five
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?
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?
If you are considering implants, your medical and dental
history must be reviewed and your mouth must be examined thoroughly. If your
mouth is not ideal for implants, bone grafting may be recommended and necessary
to accomplish a successful outcome.
What Type Of Anesthesia Is Used?
The majority of dental implants can be placed in the office
using local anesthesia often with oral sedation. More involved surgery is usually accomplished
with monitored IV anesthesia care.
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 dentist.