Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. In short, it’s like replanting a tooth root. 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 are titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These serve as anchors and act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts, called abutments, are attached to the implants and protrude through the gums. These abutments provide stable connection for artificial replacement teeth.
Implants also help preserve facial structure and form, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
The Surgical Procedure
In years past, implants were placed and were allowed to heal for months. A big complaint of many patients were the treatment times involved with dental implant reconstructions. Today, healing times have been shortened significantly. In selected cases, the implant can be placed at the same time with tooth extraction. For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves one or two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within your jawbone and allowed to heal for two to three months. 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.
After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Dr. Yanagihara will uncover the implants and attach small posts that protrude through the gums which serve as anchors for the artificial teeth. When the artificial teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure usually takes three to eight months. Most patients experience minimal discomfort and disruption in their daily life.
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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Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Dr. Yanagihara 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.
To achieve the best possible outcome, dental implant reconstruction requires the expertise of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. While Dr. Yanagihara performs the initial tooth extractions, actual implant surgery, and bone grafting if necessary, the restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the final teeth replacements. 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 removable only by the dentist.
Dr. Yanagihara 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.
Dental Implant Overview
For a brief narrated overview of the dental implant process, please click the image below. It will launch our flash educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about dental implants.
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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.
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 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 intravenous (IV) anesthesia.
Do Implants Need Special Care?
Once the implants are in place, they will require at home care similar to your natural teeth. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dental specialists. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene and have your bite checked periodically. With proper maintenance, your implants can serve you well for years.