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 patient who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat normally, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.
Dental Implant placement is a team effort between your oral & maxillofacial surgeon and restorative dentist. While Drs. Thurgood or Bingham performs the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions and bone grafting if necessary, the restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis (replacement teeth). Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.
What Are Dental Implants?
The implants themselves are small titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds to the titanium surface of the implant, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small abutments that protrude through the gums are then attached to the implant. These abutments 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
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Drs. Thurgood or Bingham is often able to place implants and a healing abutment in a single stage. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require a minimum of three months 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.
For some 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 while healing occurs. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time.
After the jawbone has bonded to the implant, the second phase begins. Drs. Thurgood or Bingham will uncover the implant and attach a healing abutment that will be visible through the gum tissue and will allow you your dentist to access the implant during the fabrication of your replacement teeth. The entire 2 stage process usually takes four to six months.
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.
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 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 2 small buttons that sit at the level of the gum tissue and the denture is removed daily by the patient. A fixed prosthesis (Bar Attachment Denture Implant Bridge) is permanent and removable only by your dentist.
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?
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 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.
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 I.V. sedation.
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.