Dental implants 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 and can smile with confidence, knowing that their teeth appear natural and that their facial contours will be preserved. In simple terms, we are replacing your natural root with another one made of titanium. The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. In addition, implants can help preserve facial structure and preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
Procedure: Dental implants are titanium anchors that act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jawbone. Small temporary posts (called healing abutments) are then attached to the implant which protrudes through the gums. Usually it takes 3-4 months after the implant is placed before the next phase is started. For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves just one surgical procedure. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first four to six months following surgery, the implants are left to become integrated with the jawbone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. If aesthetics are not important at the location of the implant, we generally do not have a temporary restoration to go over the site. At the same time, our office designs the final bridgework or denture, which will ultimately improve both function and aesthetics. After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. This part involves actually placing the abutment (post that holds the crown in place) and the crown over the implant. Our office will begin by taking an impression of the implant and the adjacent teeth similar to having a crown impression taken. Usually there is no need for anesthesia because there is no pain associated with this phase. Following the impression, we will see you back in the office about three weeks later to deliver the custom abutment and crown. This appointment usually lasts about an hour. The entire procedure usually takes four to seven months. Most patients do not experience any disruption in their daily life. Our techniques that we are utilizing have simplified the process so that many times we can give someone the implant, abutment and temporary crown at the time of implant placement. This decision of immediate placement of the temporary crown is not taken lightly and the pros and cons are discussed with you prior to the surgical procedure.