Dental Implants

Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.

What Are Dental Implants?

The implants themselves are tiny titanium structures 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 for artificial teeth. Small abutments that protrude through the soft tissue are then attached to the implant. These provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.

Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.

The Surgical Procedure

For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. and one restorative procedure with your primary care dentist. First, implants are placed within the bone at the space of the missing tooth. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are  gradually bonding with the jawbone. 

After the implant has bonded to the bone, the second phase begins. Dr. Le will uncover the implants and attach small posts that protrude through the soft tissue and will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. When the artificial teeth are placed, these implants will not be seen. While Dr. Le performs the actual implant surgery and bone grafting as necessary, the restorative dentist (your dentist) designs and fits the permanent prosthesis or crown. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis necessary during the healing process.

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 the dentist.

Dr. Le performs most implant surgery in her office. Inpatient hospital implant surgery is 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?

Once you learn about dental implants, you finally realize there is a way to improve you life. When you lose several 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 your doorway to renewed 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 Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types Of Restorations?

There are several reasons: Why sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge a space? In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient, not to mention that ill-fitting dentures can be uncomfortable and rather embarrassing.

Are You A Candidate For Implants?

If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history reviewed. If you mouth is not ideal for implants, ways of improving outcome, such as bone grafting, may be recommended.

What Type Of Anesthesia Is Used?

The majority of dental implants and bone graft can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, with or without IV sedation.

Do Implants Need Special Care?

Once the implants are in place, they will serve you well for many years if you take care of them and keep your mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dental specialists.