Dental implants are basically like a little surgical screw that we place into the bone. And then a restorative dentist, like a general dentist, can create a false tooth that goes on top of that screw. So the process for doing a dental implant involves oftentimes first removal of an infected or bad tooth. If the area where the tooth is removed has had some bone destruction, in some cases, we need to graft the bone. We use some cadaver bone in most cases to rebuild some of the bone that's been lost. That bone then goes through a process of healing, and then we're able to insert a little metal screw into the bone that will act as the support structure for a new tooth. So patients will return after the bonus healed. We'll insert the metal screw. That will heal for a period of months, typically. And then we'll have the patient come back in and make sure everything healed nicely. And then we send them back to their general dentist in most cases to have a new tooth attached to the dental implant. Determining a good candidate for a dental implant definitely requires some training and some experience. Not everybody that comes in I consider a great candidate for a dental implant. They're... The patient needs to have certain health criteria. There needs to be certain health in the site that we're considering placing the implant. And so I think that decision between the patient myself and even the restorative dentist together, you know, we need to decide if the dental implant is the best option. The procedure to insert the dental implant is typically around 30 minutes, and there often follows a time frame of anywhere between 2 and 6 months for the bone to grow into the implant and fuse to the point where it can be used to support a crown. What I hope to hear when people come in for their one year follow up after they've been through the whole process and they've gotten their implant and they've gotten their crown and they've been chewing on it for awhile, a lot of times people tell me "I can't remember which tooth is my implant!" And that's what I'm hoping to hear. And fortunately, we hear that a lot. There just are a comfortable way to replace teeth, and they often feel like a natural tooth.
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.
What Are Dental Implants?
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 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 bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Dr. Rudd 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. Rudd is able to place single stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but may 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.
Dental implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. While Dr. Rudd 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.
Dr. Rudd performs in-office implant surgery in a 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 (lower leg).
Why Dental Implants?
Once you learn about dental implants, you 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?
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.
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.
What Type Of Anesthesia Is Used?
The majority of dental implants and bone grafts can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, with or without 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.