Dental implants can replace a single missing tooth or several teeth. The implant is made from biocompatible titanium. Dental implants are the most realistic and tooth-like method of replacing missing teeth. An implant dentist can replace a single tooth, or many teeth. Millions of people world-wide have successfully had dental implants placed. The success rate in excess of 95% – an incredible success rate for any medical procedure.
A tooth implant is a small titanium fixture that functions as a replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. Ultimately the implant can act as an anchor for a dental prosthesis.
The dental prosthesis can include:
- Crown – replacing one missing tooth
- Bridge – replacing several missing teeth
- Overdenture – implants used to retain dentures
Dental implants are made of the most biocompatible metal known to man – chemically pure titanium. Three months after placement of the dental implant, adequate bone will have grown on to the surface of the implant so it is strong enough to withstand the daily forces of normal function. (This process is known as osseointegration.)
Implants can be placed so that they function totally independent of the remaining teeth. People will often lose a tooth due to a accident, medical reason or a traumatic incident. When traditional bridgework is used to replace a missing tooth, the surrounding teeth would need to be reshaped. This shaping process can expose these surrounding teeth to nerve damage. With a dental implant, it can be placed without damaging the surrounding sound teeth.
There is always a surgical phase and a restorative phase. The time span between these stages may vary, depending on each individual case. In some cases, the implant can have a ‘tooth’ placed immediately. At other times, a healing period of about three months is necessary.
Dental implant stages:
- Surgical phase
- Restorative phase
The implant surgery will be done in a comfortable and compassionate way at Sedation and Implant Dentistry Irvine, under local anaesthetic using strict sterile operating techniques. To place an implant, small incisions are made into your gum to expose the underlying jaw bone. Using special techniques and instruments, the implant is then inserted into the underlying jaw bone. The surgical site is then closed around a healing abutment and the dental implant is allowed to heal ‘osseointegrate’ (bony integration) for a period of three months.
If the tooth you are having replaced with a dental implant is in the aesthetic zone, you will be provided with an temporary denture. This will be placed immediately following the extraction of the tooth and insertion of the dental implant. This temporary denture is to keep you looking good in the three months while waiting for the implant to complete osseointegration.
At Sedation and Implant Dentistry Las Vegas, we believe that the appropriate standard of care for complete tooth loss (edentulousness) in the lower jaw is the provision of implant retained overdentures. Implant Retained Dentures are biologically conservative. Implants that are placed to retain dentures can function with total independence of the remaining teeth.
There is a male component attached to the implant with a female component housed within the denture. A minimum of two implants are required in the lower jaw, and often four to six implants in the upper jaw, to ensure the success of overdentures.
People with complete dentures often suffer traumatic ulcers from constantly moving dentures, as well as pain from exposed nerves due to bone loss. There may be also a need for relines, as well as having to cope with sticky, messy denture adhesives, not to mention the inability to taste or grasp food properly. With implants, stable dentures become a possibility.
The degree of integration of the implant to the bone will be examined after three months. Dr. Gonzales will perform a simple ‘torque test’. This short exam is completely painless and does not require any local anaesthetic. Provided osseointegration has been successful, our staff will take an impression of the dental implant. The impression is sent to our lab technician who will then construct the final crown. Dr. Gonzales will work with you so that the color and contour of the final crown will be as natural as possible.
It usually takes three weeks for the dental technician to construct the crown. At your follow up appointment, the crown is placed in your mouth and attached to the underlying implant. This procedure is often performed without local anaesthetic.
Maintaining optimal dental hygiene around your dental implant is a life-time commitment and will ensure the chances that your implant will remain successful.
Dental implants restore lost teeth so that it looks, feels, fits and functions like a natural tooth when implanted by an experienced implant dentist.
Dental implants can last a lifetime when properly placed and cared for over time.
You don’t need to worry about removing dentures or teeth falling out when you talk or eat.
Your face will not appear sunken and sad.
Dental implants help preserve and stimulates natural bone growth.
You don’t have to remove them like dentures.
Implants function and feel like natural teeth.
You can bite naturally, and eat virtually anything you want with dental implants.
Cavities can’t form in an implant.
Implants are fixed in place and fuse naturally with your jawbone, meaning your replacement teeth won’t move or shift.
Dental implants help prevent healthy, adjacent teeth from shifting.
Implants have a long-term successful outcome to repair and replace missing teeth.
Implants can be placed in a single visit.
Bone grown onto the surface of the implant within a few months.
Patients can have the procedure completed while they sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will it take me to have a dental implant placed?
The actual placement of the dental implant is not a lengthy procedure – definitely shorter than having a crown preparation or root canal procedure performed. The surgical time may take anywhere from 30 minutes to place one implant in a highly accessible location – up to an hour for more difficult cases. The complete implant procedure most commonly takes 4 months to complete but can take in excess of 12 months, especially if additional procedures such as bone grafting are required.
Does it hurt?
This is a difficult question as pain is obviously subjective. As with any surgical procedure, there will be some discomfort. However, it is true to say that most patients are extremely surprised with how little discomfort they have in the hours following the procedure and the following day. Most people report that they return to work pain free the following day. Some of our patients have even had the surgical stage completed in the morning and returned to a full working day. Most people are surprised at how easy the entire implant procedure is. The consensus is that the placement of the implant is far less of an issue than the extraction of the natural tooth. As part of our standard practice, you will be adequately medicated with analgesics to ease any discomfort that may occur.
Am I suitable for dental implants?
The current prerequisite for dental implants is that you have to have ceased growing. In girls this can be as young as 15-16 years of age with boys often 17-18 years of age. There is no particular upper age limit to the placement of dental implants. Good health is often the determining factor rather than age. Provided that there is adequate bone and healthy gums that are free of gum disease, then dental implants may be right for you. There are some chronic diseases that may complicate the placement of dental implants. A complete and thorough dental examination, as well as a medical examination and history, is imperative prior to the placement of dental implants.
What if the dental implant procedure doesn’t work?
There are some cases where either for systemic or local reasons, a dental implant may fail to integrate with the jaw bone. In this case the implant will be removed. The site will be cleaned out and allowed to heal for three months. Often another attempt can be undertaken in the following months to achieve osseointegration.
How much do dental implants cost?
It is difficult to accurately quote the costs of dental implants without a customized treatment plan. Costs are dependent on several factors such as the number of implants that need to be placed, the number of teeth being replaced and whether grafting procedures are required or not. There are surgical variables and prosthetic variables to the total costs. To obtain a specific fee estimate, a thorough and customized diagnostic examination is necessary. This can be provided after the initial examination.
One of our most popular procedures is the Hybrid 4 / All-On-4 where people get both upper and lower implants in one office visit. It’s healthy, safe, sturdy and looks like your teeth.
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