What are dental implants?
A dental implant is basically a substitute or replacement for a missing tooth's root. It provides a stable foundation to anchor a crown or retention device. What is better about using dental implants compared to other tooth replacement options? The implant slows bone resorption, looks, feels and functions more as natural teeth. It does not require any treatment to the neighboring teeth. Implants increase stability, increase the ability to bite and chew, and can help hold in partials and dentures. Does all the treatment get done here? No, we use specialists that have many years experience, to place the implant. We are involved with the treatment planning, fabrication and attachment of the final restoration(s) to the implant. What are the steps in having an implant placed and restored? It can vary depending on what the final treatment plan is. Usually the patient is seen by us to discuss the feasibility of implants. Then the specialist is consulted to determine if the area to receive the implant(s) is acceptable in some cases. The patient then will return to our office for the fabrication of a guide that will help position the implants in the best location, in consideration of the final restorative treatment. The implants are then placed. Once the specialist gives the OK for the restorations to be done, the final treatment is completed. Will I be without teeth very long? Depending on where the implants are placed, many times a temporary appliance is not needed. In highly esthetic areas a temporary would be necessary. This could be worn about 1-2 weeks after the implants are placed. There are very firm guidelines for the immediate care of implants, to insure their success.
The final restorations, in some cases, can be placed as early as 6 weeks after placement of the implant. How long will it last? The long term studies look good. But, it is unrealistic to think any restoration will last forever. To date the failure rate of the implant itself is very low.
We feel very comfortable offering this service to our patients who want to replace missing teeth with something as close to the feel of natural teeth as possible.