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.
The 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
Placement of dental implants is a surgical procedure, and therefore should be placed by a surgical specialist / oral surgeon. 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. At the same time, your dentist is forming new replacement teeth.
After the implant has integrated with the jawbone, the second phase begins. Our oral surgeon, Dr. Schneider, 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.
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Dr. Schneider may be able to place the implant at the same time as a tooth extraction – further minimizing the number of surgical procedures. Implants are a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. While Dr. Schneider performs the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting if necessary, the restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. It is this team approach (an Oral & Maxillofacial surgeon and restorative dentist) to implant treatment that has established the highest percentage of implant success to date (98%).
What Types of Prosthesis are Available?
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.
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. Schneider performs in-office implant surgery in a hospital-style operating suite, thus optimizing the level of sterility.
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.
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. There are approximately 22 implant manufacturers nationally. However, only 6 of these companies have FDA certification. Dr. Schneider only utilizes FDA certified dental implants. Be sure to ask your implant Doctor if he/she is a surgical specialist, and if the implants used are FDA certified.
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? When a bridge is placed the hard enamel of the adjacent teeth is ground down, or in some cases removed, leaving the tooth more susceptible to decay. Implants do not compromise adjacent teeth. 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. Be sure you consult with a surgical specialist and your restorative dentist if you are considering dental implants.
What Type Of Anesthesia Is Used?
Our oral surgeon, Dr. Schneider, performs implant surgery under deep sedation/general anesthesia, providing you with a very comfortable and pleasurable experience. Please let Dr. Schneider or his staff know if you are susceptible to nausea.
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. In fact, dental implants have a longer survival rate than teeth with root canals. However, you will need to take the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dentist.