Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth, and allows patients to regain the ability to eat and smile with confidence, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. The implants are tiny titanium posts which are placed into bone where teeth are missing. The bone integrates (bonds) with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. In addition, dental implants can help preserve facial structure and prevent bone deterioration which occurs when teeth are missing.
Evaluation for Dental Implants
If, like many others, you feel implant dentistry is the choice for you, we ask that you undergo a dental/radiographic examination and health history. During these consultation visits, your specific needs and considerations will be addressed by either Dr. Fetner and Dr. O'Neil, or by an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon referred by our practice. Your questions and concerns are important to us and our team will work with you very closely to help make your procedure a success.
Surgical Advances in Dental Implants
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology,, the dentist is, in some cases, able to place single stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require a minimum of 3-4 months of integration healing time before the implant can be restored with an implant crown. There are even situations where the implant can be placed at the same time as the tooth extraction – further minimizing your number of surgical procedures.
Dental implant placement, in other cases, before the dentist can perform the actual implant surgery, the dentist will recommend an initial tooth extraction and bone grafting, if necessary. The bone is then allowed to regenerate by healing over a 3-6 month period of time to preserve the ridge before the implant can be placed. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the healing process. You should be able to wear temporary prosthesis and eat a soft diet during this time.
Dental Implant Procedure
During the implant placement procedure, the implant is surgically placed into the bone. Dental implants are metal anchors, which act as tooth root substitutes. The implant will require 3-6 months of integration (bonding) with bone before the implant can be restored. At the time of implant placement, your dentist will decide on closure of the surgical procedure with a healing cap (requires a second surgical appointment to uncover the implant before restoring) or closure with a gingival former (does NOT require a second surgical appointment to uncover before restoring) as described above. For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedure appointments.
After the dental implant has integrated with the bone, the second phase begins. The surgeon will uncover the implant(s) with a laser and attach a small gingival former (healing collar). Drs. Fetner or O'Neil can then take an impression with an impression post and have a dental lab fabricate an implant crown. After the crown is fabricated, the crown and abutment are attached to the implant The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months, depending on the case. Most patients do not experience any disruption in their daily life.