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.
What Are Dental Implants?
The dental implants themselves are tiny 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, 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.
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, failing teeth are removed and any existing bone deficiencies are repaired with bone grafting material. Following a healing period recommended by the surgeon (typically three to four months), a second surgical procedure is performed to place the dental implants in your jawbone. The implants are then allowed to heal for an additional period of time in which they gradually bond with the jawbone. To ensure proper integration and readiness for final restoration, your implants will be tested using a non-invasive procedure referred to as an ISQ test. The results are communicated to your general dentist who will fabricate and attach the artificial teeth. The entire dental implant process usually takes six to eight months. Most patients will experience minimal disruption in their daily life.
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Dr. Cayo and Dr. Boisen 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.
Dental implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. Dr. Cayo and Dr. Boisen perform the initial tooth extractions, necessary bone grafting, and actual implant surgery. The restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent crowns, bridges, or dentures. 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 – 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.
Dr. Cayo and Dr. Boisen perform in-office implant surgery in a hospital-style 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 requiring extensive bone grafting from the jaw, hip, or tibia.
Why Dental Implants?
Once you learn about dental implants, you 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.
Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, a Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon, 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?
There are several reasons dental implants are a better option for tooth replacement. Implants eliminate the need to sacrifice surrounding healthy teeth to bridge a space. In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient, and dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and cause embarrassment.
Are You A Candidate For Dental Implants?
If you are considering dental 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 outcomes, such as bone grafting, may be recommended.
What Type Of Anesthesia Is Used?
The majority of dental implants and bone grafts can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, with or without general anesthesia.
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.