If you lose one or more teeth due to periodontal disease or another cause, there is hope. Dental implants are changing the way people live. Implants allow for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth.
A patient with implants regains the ability to eat virtually anything. Dental implants look genuine and they preserve natural facial contours. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth. The implants themselves are tiny 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. Small posts that protrude through the gums are attached to the implant. These same posts provide stable anchors for the replacement teeth. Dental implants also help prevent bone deterioration – which can occur when teeth are missing – and preserve facial structure.
If you decide implant dentistry is the right choice for you, the next step is to provide us with your health history. We’ll conduct a thorough dental/radiographic examination. During these consultation visits, Drs. Nam or Lew will address your specific needs and considerations. Your questions and concerns are important to us and our team will work with you very closely to help make your procedure a success.
We’ll also discuss fees and insurance at this time. There are many types of insurance plans, and coverage for implants is varied. We will be happy to assist you in obtaining any benefits to which you may be entitled.
The Surgical Procedure
For most patients, the placement of dental implants is a two-step procedure.
In the first step, implants are placed within the bone. Healing time following surgery varies from person to person and is based on a variety of factors, such as quantity and quality of the bone. The majority of patients are quite comfortable immediately following surgical placement of implants.
For the first three to four months following the implant placement surgery the titanium surface is slowly developing a bond with the bone. You should be able to wear a temporary prosthesis and eat a soft diet at this time.
After the implant has bonded to the bone, the second, very simple surgical step is performed. The implants are uncovered and a small healing cap is placed. At this point, we are then able to make impressions and initiate the fabrication of the final prosthesis that will restore function and ideal esthetics.
In some situations, the temporary crown can be placed the same day following implant placement, thus eliminating the need for a second surgical step. Along with the surgeon, we will determine which option is best for the implant and meets your personal needs.
What Types of Prosthesis are Available?
A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing tooth – each prosthetic tooth attaches 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 varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended. A removable prosthesis (over denture) attaches to a bar or ball in socket attachments, whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by a professional.