Dental Implants

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that a periodontist places into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge.

What Dental Implants Can Do?

  • Replace one or more teeth without affecting bordering teeth.
  • Support a bridge and eliminate the need for a removable partial denture.
  • Provide support for a denture, making it more secure and comfortable                                           

    What are the most common benefits of dental implants?

    Implants restore form function and esthetics.  They give you confidence to smile and chew. They help  avoid tooth migration and loss of structure. Implants reduce the impact of the lost tooth on surrounding teeth, as traditional bridge structures often require reduction (filing down) of the two adjacent teeth to hold the bridge in place with crowns.                                                                                                 
    Dentures are notorious for slipping at the worst possible moments. Poorly fitting dentures can even affect diet, restricting food selections to easily chewed foods. Implants eliminate the possibility of slipping or pinching, and allow food of almost all types to be eaten.  In short, dental implants are the closest way to surgically restore a natural tooth to its original condition.
  • What will happen at the initial consultation?At the first appointment, the your teeth will be examined and it will be determined whether implants are the best solution to your dental problems. Often, x-rays are necessary to discover the state of the jawbone, particularly if the teeth have been lost for some time. This information can be used to determine if implants would work for you.

    How are dental implant procedures performed?

    Local anesthesia is used to place the implant into the bone. Implants are made of titanium, or a titanium alloy, because this metal does not adversely interact with biological tissue. In general, placements in the lower jaw need to heal about three months, while placements in the upper jaw need to heal about six months.

    How long does the surgery take?

    Surgery time will vary greatly depending on the number of dental implants.

    Where will the procedure be performed?

    The dental implant procedure generally is generally IN OFFICE.

    How much pain is there?

    Local anesthesia is used for the surgery and most patients do not complain of any pain after the srugery is completed.

    What can I expect after dental implants?

    Following surgery, there are routine postopertaive instrucitons to follow.  You might be given antibiotics to take during the period immediately following dental implant surgery.

    What is the recovery period like?

    Many people have little pain and so return to work the day after surgery.

    It is very important during your recovery to practice scrupulous oral hygiene. Poor care and smoking may result in chronic swelling of gum tissue, infection or even implant loss or failure. You will have to be seen for regular visits during the healng stage and as long as you have the implant.

    What is the long-term outcome with dental implants?

    For most people, dental implants last between up to 25 years. They may last significantly longer. Although 5-10% of implants might fail, they often can be replaced with another implant attempt. Smokling and poor health (diabetes, for example) may contribute implant failure.

    Ideal Candidate:

    The primary consideration is the amount and condition of the bone in the area where the implant is to be placed. With the loss of a tooth, the area of the jaw without the tooth naturally undergoes resorption, or a thinning, of the bone in that area.   A commonly procedure used for highly resorbed bone in the area where the implant is to be placed is grafting. This involves moving  bone from one place in the body to another to enlarge the bone structure at the implant site. Often, bone can be moved from one place in the mouth to another. Sometimes a graft from a donor or an animal or artificial bone can be used if bone from the patient is not available. Grafting usually is done 4 - 8 months before the implant procedure to allow the graft a chance to heal before it is disturbed with the implant process. A CAT scan is commonly used to obtain a model of the bone structure and then the implant fixture is molded to precisely fit the bone model.

    Other important information

    A further consideration as to the suitability of implants is the patient's general health, especially whether or not the patient smokes. Although the exact cause of the connection is not known, it is hypothesized that the nicotine, known to shut down blood vessels, interferes with the healing of the dental implants. Whatever the cause, heavy smokers are known to have a higher failure rate for implants than those who do not smoke. Other chronic conditions that affect healing, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and immunosuppressive conditions, can also increase the chance of implant rejection.

    Risks and Limitations:

    The greatest risk following the surgical procedures is that the dental implant will fail. For implants placed within the bone, most failures occur within the first year and then occur at a rate of less than one percent per year thereafter. Location of the implant can also predict the risk of failure. Implants in the back upper jaw fail most often, followed by the front upper jaw, and the back lower jaw. The most success seen is in implants of the front lower jaw. Overall, the success rate for all implants runs from 90 to 95 percent. Most failed implants can be replaced with a second attempt.

    Be sure to:

    • Disucss allergies you have (to foods, drugs, environmental elements)
    • Discuss all medications you are taking (both prescription and non-prescription)
    • Follow instructions