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Dental Implants

Dental Implant Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of dental implants, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to dental implants are discussed.

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Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth which 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, which are inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jawbone. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts are then attached to the implant, which protrude through the gums. 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. O’Connor will uncover the implants and attach small posts, which will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. These posts protrude through the gums. When the artificial teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure can take between 3 to 6 months. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.

Surgical Advances

Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Dr. O’Connor 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,” greatly simplifies the surgical process.

GUIDED IMPLANT SURGERY

Dr. O’Connor offers two different types of “Guided Implant Surgery”, the type dependent on the patients condition and need for such therapy. This technique involves the use of the 3-dimensional scanner, then subsequently importing the Dicom data into the respective software program.

Robodent, an infrared, computer driven guiding system, is useful for positioning implants in difficult cases. This system allows observation in “real time”, the actually osteotomy preparation and implant placement.

Simplant, a very powerful software, is used to create guides that fit in the patient mouth during surgery. 3-dimensional reconstruction of a model representing the patients actual anatomy is also a feature of this software. Both preoperative bone anatomy and planned post-operative changes can be fabricated. This is helpful when certain materials need to be preformed or fitted for the desired outcome, thus lessening surgical time, and increasing precision.

Who actually performs the implant placement?

Implants are a team effort between an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and a Restorative Dentist. While Dr. O’Connor performs the actual implant surgery, and 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 prostheses 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. O’Connor 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 you 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.

Why would you select dental implants over more traditional types of restorations?

There are several reasons: The dental implant helps preserve the surrounding bone structure and the integrity/alignment of the dental arch. The dental implant preserves the adjacent tooth structure of which would be lost with conventional crown and bridge procedures. The dental implant/crown is more “hygienic” then a partial denture, which is hard on the supportive teeth and soft tissue. Dental implants stabilize otherwise unstable dentures, which slip, and make chewing difficult.

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 you 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 graft 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.