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 had their missing teeth replaced with dental implants regains the ability to eat virtually anything. The teeth supported by dental implants appear natural and help preserve the patient’s facial contours. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants 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. In the first phase, implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first four 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. During this time, your dentist is forming new replacement teeth.
Once the implants have bonded to the jawbone, the second phase will take place. Dr. Eggert will uncover the implants and attach small posts that protrude through the gums. These posts 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. Eggert is able to place single stage implants. These implants have the healing posts placed at the same time the implants are placed. They do not require a second procedure to uncover them. They still require the same healing time as implants that are covered by the gums.
Dental Implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. While Dr. Eggert 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 attached to the implants and can only be removed by the dentist.
Dr. Eggert performs in-office implant surgery in a hospital-style operating suite, thus optimizing the level of sterility. 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.
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?
Implants or Fixed Bridge
- Implants have a significantly higher long term success rate compared to a fixed bridge.
- Implants do not require that the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth or teeth be cut down. This process of cutting down the tooth to make room for the bridge increases the risk of cavities and the need for root canals.
- Implants preserve the jaw bone. If there is no tooth or implant in the jaw, the body will slowly take the bone away.
Implant Supported Denture or Traditional Denture
- An implant supported denture is much or stable and secure than a traditional denture that rests on the tissue. This allows the patient to eat and talk with much more comfort and confidance.
- An implant supported denture preserves the bone while a traditional denture actually accelerates the rate of bone loss in the jaw. The pressure of the denture on the jaw during eating causes the body to remove bone.
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, there may be procedures available to reconstruct the area so implants can be placed. For this reason, bone grafting may be recommended.
What Type Of Anesthesia Is Used?
The majority of procedures associated with the placement of dental implants and bone grafts can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, with or without general anesthesia. However, some procedures do require general anesthesia.
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 dental specialists.