Dental implants have been providing patients replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth for over 50 years. It is one of the most significant advancement in dentistry and oral surgery. Patients not only are given back the ability to eat virtually anything, but they are given back the confidence to know that their teeth appear natural and their facial contours are preserved.
What are Dental Implants?
The implants themselves are titanium posts that are placed where teeth are missing. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth (crowns.) The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts (abutment) 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.
Dental Implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and your restorative dentist. While Dr. Sedaros performs the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting if necessary, the restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthetic teeth. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthetic teeth needed during the implant process.
Typical Process to Obtain a Dental Implant
Evaluation and Planning
All implant patients are seen at Sedaros Oral Facial Surgery for a consultation. During this initial visit, Dr. Sedaros will gather a detailed medical and dental history. This will be followed by a thorough oral examination to determine candidacy for dental implant surgery.
Using all of your x-rays (panoramic radiograph, etc.), Dr. Sedaros will determine the need for a state-of-the-art 3D image using the in-house cone-beam CT scan for implant planning.
If there is a question of bone availability for implant placement, Dr. Sedaros will discuss bone graft options to prepare the area for implant placement.
Dental impressions are often needed in order to evaluate the way teeth bite together (occlusion). These models also allow us to make a surgical splint which helps guide the placement of the implants into their perfect position.
Once all of the information is gathered and evaluated, Dr. Sedaros will discuss and coordinate the details of your treatment with your restorative dentist to optimize your results.
Dental Implant Surgery
The majority of dental implants and bone grafting can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, with or without general anesthesia. Dr. Sedaros performs in-office implant surgery in a hospital-style operating suite, thus optimizing the level of sterility. Inpatient hospital implant surgery is available for patients who have special medical or anesthetic needs or for those who need extensive bone grafting from the jaw, hip or tibia.
Dr. Sedaros has placed 1,000s of dental implants using the latest techniques and technology available and the proven highest grade materials. In many cases, the implant can be placed at the same time as a tooth extraction – further minimizing the number of surgical procedures and shortening the duration of implant therapy.
Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.
Dental Implant Frequently Asked Questions
Why select dental implants over more traditional types of restoration?
There are many reasons: With dental implants, you do not have to sacrifice surrounding healthy teeth (as you do with a bridge) to obtain the aesthetic and function of natural teeth. A denture or a partial denture must be removed at night and can be inconvenient, not to mention that dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and rather embarrassing.
Can I have an implant if I have been missing teeth for a long time?
Yes, in most cases. Patients often have missing teeth for varying periods of time ranging from weeks to years. Clinical examination combined with radiographic imaging, including 3-D imaging, will allow Dr. Sedaros to determine the availability of bone for proper implant placement. If there is an inadequate amount of bone, Dr. Sedaros can increase the amount of bone by bone grafting.
Is dental implant surgery painful?
Implant surgery can be performed without any pain whatsoever. Local anesthesia is often enough, however, Dr. Sedaros can offer intravenous sedation if that makes you feel more comfortable. Patients note minimal post-operative discomfort.
How long is the procedure/recovery?
The length of the procedure depends on the number of implants.
The majority of patients can resume reasonable activities the day after surgery. Learn more about recovering from dental implants.
How long does it take to get my teeth?
Once the implant has integrated into the bone in your jaw which can take up to 3-6 months depending on location, the teeth can be made to place on top of the implants. Although there are cases where the implant can be loaded immediately, this is a temporary scenario and should be done only in very carefully selected cases.
Will implants feel exactly like natural teeth?
Initially, there will be a difference in “feel” between the implant when compared to neighboring teeth. However, the new teeth will “blend in” with the natural teeth and eventually you will not recognize any difference at all.
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.