What Are Dental Implants?
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
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first one to three 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 bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Our doctors 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 two to six months on average. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Dr. Chawla is 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”, actually performs the implant placement. Each case is individually evaluated for the most optimum treatment.
Implants are a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. While our doctor performs 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.
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.
The “All-on-4” concept provides a full upper or lower arch of “fixed” (non-removable) replacement teeth supported by four implants. Since two of the implants are placed at an angle, it is possible to avoid critical anatomical structures and take advantage of the bone that is available, rather than grafting (adding) bone.
“All-on-4” can be a good option for patients who are missing all of their upper or lower teeth if they have adequate bone to support a full arch of teeth with only four implants. However, it is important to understand that not everyone is a candidate for this procedure.
Therefore, patients who are interested in determining whether “All-on-4” implants is right for them should discuss the option with Dr. Chawla in conjunction with their restoring dentist.
Dr. Chawla performs in-office implant surgery. In addition, 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.
When missing teeth are replaced with dental implants, there is no need to cut down the adjacent teeth, or hook a partial onto them, compromising the long-term health of the teeth. The dental implant serves as a replacement tooth root, supporting a new crown. This replicates the anatomy of the missing tooth as closely as possible. Additionally, there is an abundance of documented evidence in the scientific literature demonstrating that replacing teeth with dental implants actually protects the adjacent natural teeth.
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.
An implant and crown replace the missing
tooth without compromising other teeth
A partial denture hooks onto the adjacent teeth
for support, loosening them over time.
Replacing a tooth with a bridge requires
cutting down the two adjacent teeth.
Are You A Candidate For Implants?
If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history reviewed. A final treatment plan will be formulated by Dr. Chawla and your restoring dentist.
What Type Of Anesthesia Is Used?
The majority of dental implants and bone grafting can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, with or without Intravenous 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. Oral hygiene is of the utmost importance to ensure longevity of your implants. This means taking the time for brushing/ flossing and keeping regular appointments with your dental specialists.