Dental Implants

Dental Implants 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.

Dental Implants Presentation

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are 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, called abutments are then attached to the implants.  The abutments allow a dentist to attach teeth to the implants.

The concept of titanium implants integrating to bone was discovered by a Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark.  This discovery was made over 35 years ago. Implants have now been in clinical use for many years, restoring millions of indivivduals to healthy function and esthetics.

Implants have the following benefits:

  1. Increased strength and retention of artifical, or prosthetic teeth
  2. Maintenance and preservation of jawbone structure
  3. Helps supports facial soft tissues and contour
  4. Prevents shifting of teeth adjacent to and opposing missing teeth
  5. Improves stability and retention of dentures

The Surgical Procedure

Implant surgery involves a small incision in the gum.  This allows the surgeon to access the underlying bone structure.  A bone preparation, called an osteotomy, is prepared to dimensions that are customized to the size of the implant being planned.  In many cases, if bone augmentation is necessary, it can be performed at the same time.  A cover screw is placed on the implant.  In some cases, particularly if bone augmentation is required, the implant is maintained below the gumline for 2-4 months to provide it with additional protection; in this instance, a minor procedure is performed to expose the implant, with attachment of a longer cover scsrew, in preparation for tooth restoration. In other cases, a second exposure procedure is not necessary.

Routine implant surgery can often be performed under local anesthesia, with adjunctive conscious sedation techniques, such as nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) or oral sedation used in combination.  Intravenous deep sedation and general anesthesia are always available for patients who prefer to be asleep during their procedures.

Recovery from implant surgery is generally relatively minor.  There is usually a small amount of swelling in the gums and/or cheek areas, that begins to resolve approximately 3 days following surgery.  Stitches are used that self-disolve within 10-14 days. Temporary dentures, orthodontic retainers, or Essix retainers can generally be adjusted and worn throughout the healing process.  It is essential to maintain a soft, non-chewing diet for 2 weeks following implant surgery.  The implants are left to integrate, or bond, to the jawbone for a period of 2-4 months prior to tooth restoration.  In some cases, a temporary crown or bridge may be attached to the implant(s)  on the same of surgery, or within a few days of the surgical appointment.  Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life following implant surgery.

What is the “Best Approach” for My Case?

While in recent years there is greater advocacy for “immediate implant placement” and “single stage surgery”, there is increasing research evidence that long-term survival of dental implants is enhanced by ensuring a good volume of supporting bone and gum tissue to maintain implant health.  Dr. Freilich will anallyze your case in great detail, discuss your treatment options with you, and provide you with an explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of the various surgical possibilites that we can offer you.

The surgical placement and restoratioin of dental implants demands extensive training and knowledge to provide you with your best possible outcocme.  Dental Implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. While Dr. Freilich performs the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting if necessary, your dentist fits and makes the permanent prosthesis (tooth replacement). Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.

What Types Of Prostheses (Tooth Replacements) Are Available?

The type of prosthesis that is best for your case depends on several factors:

  1. The number of missing teeth that need to be replaced
  2. Bite force, or the strengh of your bite
  3. The length of time you have been missing teeth
  4. Whether you are a candidate for bone graft surgery, if required
  5. Esthetic requirements of your treatment

If you are missing a single tooth, a dental crown is attached to your implant.  If you are missing several teeth, multiple implants can be used to either support inidivual tooth crowns, or to support fixed bridges.  Patients who are missing all of their teeth in one or both of their jaws have the option of having implants placed to retain or support removable dentures, fixed bridgework, or a hybrid prosthesis that is not removable by the patient, but can be removed by the dentist as necessary.

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.

Having trouble? Please make sure you have version 7 of the Flash browser plugin in order to correctly view this presentation. This software is available as a free download.

Why Dental Implants over Tooth Bridges?

To replace a single missing tooth with a dental bridge, a dentist must prepare or shave a minimum of two teeth on either side of the empty space to support a cemented bridge.  Over time, dental bridges are prone to decaying in the tooth structure underneath the bridge, and many of the retaining teeth eventually require root canal treatment.  Eventually, tooth bridges require removal, and the supporting teeth can no longer be restored, requiring their extraction.  At that point, a single missing tooth problem becomes a situation where three missing teeth need to be replaced.

Are You A Candidate For Implants?

At your implant consultation, your surgeon will thoroughly review your medical history with you, and perform a detailed clinical and x-ray examination of your mouth, structure of your jawbone and the condition of your natural teeth. Depending on the length of time your teeth have been missing, and the cause of your tooth loss, you will be informed as to whether bone replacement (“bone grafting”) will optimize your chance for long-term success of your treatment, and what the various options are for replacing missing bone.  We treat many young patients who are missing teeth due to congenital absence (cleft lip and palate, oligodontia, ectodermal dysplasia), trauma, or pathologic lesions such as cysts and tumors.  In growing children, implant surgery must always be delayed until the growth of the child is complete.  Dr. Freilich can determine when growth is finished by performing a detailed radiographic analysis.

Some medical conditions and medications may increase your risk of implant surgery not being successful.  If this is the case,  your surgeon will discuss this with you, as well as any alternative treatment options that are available.  It is our responsibility to ensure that our recommendations are in your best interest.

Do Implants Need Special Care?

Dental implants require the same care as natural teeth. Your regular dentist will discsus techniques for cleaning your prosthetic teeth at home once your treatment has been complede.  Your implants will require professional cleaning by a qualified dentist and/or hygienist 1-2 times per year. The bite on the implant should be re-evaluated annually, as adjustments may be required to modify heavy bite forces. Implants should be evaluated radiographically (x-rays) periodically to ensure that they are maintaining their bone support.