Dental implants are enhancing the way people live. They provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function just like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth can regain the ability to eat virtually anything, confident that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be maintained. Patients with dental implants will smile with confidence.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are very small titanium posts surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as substitutes for root of a natural tooth. The bone forms a bond with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts that protrude through the gums are then attached to the implant. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
Dental implants also help preserve facial structure and prevent bone deterioration that will occur when teeth are missing.
In most cases, the placement of dental implants will involve two surgical procedures. First, the implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually forming a bond with the jawbone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. At the same time, your dentist will be forming new replacement teeth.
After the implant has sufficiently bonded with the jawbone, the second phase begins. Dr. Akin will uncover the implants and attach a small post that protrudes through the gums and will act as an anchor for the artificial teeth. When the teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure generally takes six to eight months. Most patients experience very minimal disruption of their daily life.
Using the most recent dental implant technology, Dr. Akin is, in some cases, able to place single stage implants. This implant does not require a second procedure to uncover them, but does require a minimum of six weeks healing time before the artificial teeth can be placed. There are even some situations where the implant can be placed at the same time as a tooth extraction minimizing even further, the number of surgical procedures required.
Dental Implants are a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (Dr. Akin) and your general dentist. While Dr. Akin performs the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and any necessary bone grafting, the restorative dentist (your dentist) will fit and make the permanent prosthesis. 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 is attached 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 needed will vary depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is best suited for your individual situation. A removable prosthesis (over denture) attaches to a bar or ball in socket attachments, whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent and is removable only by a dentist.
Dr. Akin performs in-office implant surgery in a hospital-style operating suite, optimizing the level of sterility. Inpatient hospital implant surgery is also available for patients who have special medical or anesthetic needs, or for those who need extensive bone grafting from the jaw, hip or tibia.
Why Dental Implants?
When you lose 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 an excellent solution to improve your everyday life.
Dental implants can renew your 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 Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types Of Restorations?
There are several reasons. Implants remove the need to reduce the structure of surrounding healthy teeth to bridge a space. In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night can be inconvenient, not to mention that dentures that slip are be uncomfortable and can be embarrassing.
Are Implants for You?
If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history will be reviewed. If your mouth is not ideal for implants, other ways of improving outcome, such as bone grafting, can be recommended.
What Type Of Anesthesia Will Be Used?
The majority of dental implants and bone graft procedures can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, with or without general anesthesia.
Will My Implants Need Special Care?
Once the implants are in place, they will serve you well for many years to come if you take proper care of them and keep all areas of your mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dentist.