Replace Missing or Damaged Teeth
Dental implant surgery is a revolutionary technique that has been developed over the last 40 or so years and offers an effective way to replace missing teeth. The procedure is done in two parts; the first part, wherein a screw-like titanium fixture is placed in the bone that underlies your gum tissue, usually takes less than an hour, is done with local anesthesia and is generally painless. The second part involves the placement of a special ceramic crown and abutment or post.
Implants help decrease the need to shave down the adjacent teeth, as is necessary for conventional fixed bridgework. Several dental implants can be installed to support a bridge. They can also be placed under dentures to secure them. Our experienced dental professionals can help you determine if implants are right for you and will make sure you understand what’s involved.
Want to learn more about the process? Keep reading for important dental implant information, procedures, history and cost.
The Titanium Revolution
In the early 1960s, a Swedish scientist named Per-Ingvar Branemark made a discovery that led to a major breakthrough in dental implant surgery: that implants made of the metal titanium become so firmly attached to the bone that they support permanent dental restorations. Branemark soon helped develop the first commercial system of titanium implants. A wide variety of dental implants are now available; most are made of titanium alloy and employ much the same technology. Lately, some dentists are using Zirconium implants but this has yet to achieve the popularity of the titanium implant.
Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implants require very meticulous placement. Here’s what you can expect from the two-stage surgical process:
Your first visit is usually diagnostic. We’ll take a detailed medical history and conduct a regional examination of your head, neck, and mouth. We will also take a cone beam CT scan (a 3D x-ray that includes the surgical area) and may also take impressions of your jaws.
If, after careful evaluation, you are a candidate for dental implants, we’ll schedule your implant surgery. Our periodontist will begin by making an incision through your gum in the area where your implants are to be inserted. Throughout the procedure, you’ll be placed under local anesthesia; general anesthesia is usually unnecessary but can be arranged if you prefer it.
Next, our periodontist will place the implant in the underlying bone by screwing it slowly into place until its top is about level with the bone surface, then placing a temporary protective cap over it and suturing your gum tissue back in place. The implants must remain this way for anywhere from two to six months although three months is average. You may experience some soreness over the next few days, but bleeding and severe pain are rare.
Seven to fourteen days after the operation, your gums will have healed enough to remove your stitches. We can then fashion temporary dentures or construct a temporary bridge. We can often use so-called “immediate load” techniques to place temporary crowns directly onto the implants the day they are placed. This is particularly advantageous for front teeth.
We’ll take one or more X-rays or Cone Beam scans throughout the coming months to make sure the bone is hardening around your implants.
Once we’re satisfied that integration has occurred, we’ll begin the second stage of the procedure. First, we’ll make a small incision through the gum to expose each implanted anchor. Then we’ll remove your temporary covers and insert abutments in their place. We’ll fabricate custom-made porcelain restorations to each abutment and send you home with beautiful, long-lasting and fully functional new teeth.
The Cost of Dental Implants
Implant dentistry is one of the most expensive procedures in restorative dentistry, and it can cost several times more than traditional restorations. Why? Because the process requires surgery, as well as the precise fabrication and installation of implants and prosthetic devices.
Nonetheless, many patients find that implants are well worth the expense. Though policies vary, dental insurance may also cover some of the cost of dental implants; our front office staff will work with you to maximize the benefits you receive under your current plan.