What Are Dental Implants?
A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown. If you compare natural teeth to implant-supported replacement teeth, you’ll see they have the same basic parts. Both have a crown (the visible part used to chew food). Both have a root that holds the tooth securely under the gum and is anchored into the jaw. The difference is that the implant is made of titanium – the same time-tested material used by surgeons for artificial joints. When you lose a tooth, you lose both the root and the crown. To replace the tooth, the surgeon first replaces the root with a small dental implant.
Time is allowed for bone to heal and grow around the dental implant. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. A support post (abutment) is then placed on the implant and a new replacement tooth (crown) is placed on top of the abutment. In many cases a temporary replacement tooth can be attached to the implant immediately after it is placed. If all of your teeth are missing, a variety of treatment options are available to support the replacement teeth.
Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can 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 the jaw bone where teeth are missing. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. In addition, dental implants can help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration which occurs when teeth are missing.
Dental implants are changing the way people live! With them, people are rediscovering the comfort and confidence to eat, speak, laugh and enjoy life.
Replace Your Missing Teeth With Dental Implants
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. Sani, Dr. Bui, Dr. Lim, Dr. Patel, Dr. Carter or Dr. Thondokulam 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.
Dental Implant Procedure
Dental implants are metal anchors, which act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jaw bone. Small posts are then attached to the implant, which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within your jaw bone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums, gradually bonding with the jaw bone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. At the same time, your restorative dentist designs the final bridgework or denture, which will ultimately improve both function and aesthetics.
After the implant has bonded to the jaw bone, the second phase begins. The surgeon will uncover the implants and attach a small healing collar. Drs. Sani, Bui, Lim, Patel, Carter or Thondokulam can then start making your new teeth. An impression must be taken. Then posts or attachments can be connected to the implants. The replacement teeth are then made over the posts or attachments. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months. Most patients do not experience any disruption in their daily life.
“Don’t be afraid to Smile.”
For years I’d felt like a part of my body was missing — because my teeth were. My dentist told me that dental implants would make me feel and look a lot better. OK, I said. Now, I’m thrilled. I can smile, eat anything, and enjoy a good laugh with my friends.
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Dr. Sani, Dr. Bui, Dr. Lim, Dr. Patel, Dr. Carter or Dr. Thondokulam is able to place single stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require a minimum of six weeks of healing time before artificial teeth are placed. 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 is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. Dr. Sani, Dr. Bui, Dr. Lim, Dr. Patel, Dr. Carter or Dr. Thondokulam performs the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting if necessary. The restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.