DENTAL IMPLANTS AN OPTION FOR ME?
If you are considering dental implants, your mouth will
be examined thoroughly and your dental and medical history
will be reviewed to ensure that dental implants are appropriate
for you. Dental x-rays and, frequently, panoramic (or
complete) x-rays of your jaws will be taken to evaluate
your jawbone and to determine if it will accommodate implants.
Occasionally, more detailed information is required and
can be provided by special x-rays. They will help determine
if additional tests or procedures are needed to place
your implants properly.
IS A DENTAL IMPLANT?
best way to describe a dental implant is to compare it to
a real tooth. A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown.
The part of the tooth that you see and eat with is called
the crown. Beneath the crown is the root, which anchors the
tooth through the gum tissue to the jawbone. When you lose
a tooth, you lose both the root and the crown. To replace
a tooth, we first have to replace the root. Essentially, a
dental implant is a new root. This titanium root is fitted
into a socket that we create in your jaw, replacing the lost
root of your natural tooth.
implants come in various shapes and sizes and have different
types of surfaces. The actual implant selection will depend
on a variety of factors related to your specific treatment
needs and the most appropriate one(s) will be used. Once an
implant has been placed in the jaw, the bone around the implant
will need to heal for two to six months, depending upon how
hard the bone is. When this initial phase of healing is completed,
a support post called an abutment will be placed into the
implant itself and then a new crown will be placed on top.
If all of your teeth are missing, a variety of treatment options
are available to support the replacement teeth.
ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS PLACED?
Usually, the office procedure to place a dental implant takes
about an hour for one implant and no more than two or three
hours for multiple implants. The placement process consists
of the following steps:
If indicated, you will be given medication such as antibiotics
prior to the surgery (preoperative instructions).
You may be offered sedation with nitrous oxide ("laughing
gas") or intravenous medications. Then, a local anesthetic
will be administered to numb the areas where the implant/s
will be placed.
are comfortable, a small incision is made into the gum tissue,
revealing the bone into which the implant will be placed.
Using special instruments, a socket is created carefully,
avoiding damage to the bone.
The titanium implant is then inserted into the socket.
Finally, if necessary, sutures will be used.
the implant is placed, the area will need to heal for as long
as six months. How long your mouth will need to heal will
be determined by a variety of factors. Follow-up care (one
to four appointments) is usually needed to ensure that your
mouth is healing well and to determine when you are ready
for the restorative phase of your treatment.
dental work required to complete your treatment is complex.
It is, however, considered more comfortable and more pleasant
than conventional dental care. Frequently, most of the work
can be done without using even local anesthesia.
Your restorative treatment begins with specialized impressions
that allow us to produce a replica of your mouth and implants.
We will also make "bite" records so that we see
the relationship of your upper and lower jaws. With this information,
we will make the abutments (support posts) that attach your
replacement teeth to your implants. Various types of abutments
exist. Frequently, we can use "off the shelf" abutments.
Other times, custom abutments must be made of gold or a tooth-colored
ceramic material. As you can imagine, these custom-made abutments
add to the cost and treatment time involved. Which abutment
to use is a decision that often cannot be made until after
healing is complete and impressions have been made.
number of appointments and the amount of time required for
each appointment is different for each patient. No two cases
are exactly the same and regardless of the number of teeth
replaced, the work must be completed with great precision
and attention to detail. If you are having only a few teeth
replaced, there as few as three short appointments may be
required. Between appointments, we will need time to complete
the necessary lab work to make your replacement teeth.
your final restoration is a removable denture, you will need
to come to as many as five office appointments (although it
may be fewer) over the following several months. During these
appointments, we will perform a series of impressions, bites
and adjustments in order to make your new teeth as well as
the custom support bars, snaps, magnets, or clips that will
secure your teeth to the implants. During this period we will
make every effort to make certain you have comfortable temporary
general, once your implants are placed, you can expect your
treatment to be completed anywhere from two to 12
months. For these reasons, it is difficult for us
to tell you exactly how much the restorative phase of your
treatment will cost, although you should receive a reasonable
estimate of costs. It also is difficult to give you a specific
time frame for completion of your treatment until after the
implants are ready for restoration.