Dental Implants

Why an Implant?

Dental implants are effective, natural looking, natural feeling replacements for missing teeth. Implants can be used to replace a single missing tooth, or many missing teeth, or can be part of a treatment plan to replace conventional dentures and partials or convert them to implant secured dentures. If you are currently missing teeth, or are unhappy with the fit or stability of a denture or partial denture, implants may be a good option for you.

Who does the implant surgery?

Dr. Randolph and Dr. Jackson are part of a team, working closely with your restorative dentist in planning and delivering your implant care. The process starts with an initial evaluation and x-rays. Many times the required x-rays can be done at our office; however some situations require the use of what is known as a cone beam CT scan, which is performed offsite. The x-ray information, together with the clinical examination will allow the doctor to evaluate the location of the missing teeth. The location of the roots of neighboring teeth, the amount of bone available for the implant and possible anatomical limitations such as the maxillary sinus or the mandibular nerve are also noted. Your health history will be reviewed, and potential problems such as poorly controlled diabetes, hypertension and smoking will be evaluated.

Tell me about the procedure

Dental Implants Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of dental implants, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to dental implants are discussed.

Dental Implants Presentation

Once the treatment plan has been approved by you, and your restorative dentist, the implant surgery can be scheduled. For most simple indications, for example one or two implants, the procedures can be done comfortably under local anesthesia only. More complicated cases may be done with I.V. sedation. The placement of a single implant usually takes 30 minutes to an hour.

For posterior teeth (bicuspids and molars) the implant is usually placed so that part of it protrudes through the gum, eliminating the need for a second surgery to uncover the implant later. For anterior teeth, and in situations where bone grafting is done in conjunction with placement of the implant, it is slightly more likely that the implant will be placed below the gum level. In these circumstances, a second procedure is required to uncover the implant at the time of restoration.

The implant is placed by making a small incision through the gum to expose a small area of the jaw bone. Precise surgical instruments are used to prepare the bone to receive the implant, which is a titanium cylinder, approximately the same size and shape as a tooth root. The surface of the implant is rough when looked at on a microscopic level; this allows areas for bones cells to attach physically to the implant-a process called osseointegration. Once the implant has been placed, the incision is closed with several stitches, which are removed a week afterward.

Approximately 3 months after placement of the implant, the restorative process begins. Usually with posterior teeth, the doctor will place an abutment and send you to your dentist that day for impressions to make your crown. In other circumstances, when the implant was submerged and needs to be uncovered, additional time is needed to shape the gum around the implant with a gingival healing abutment. This process usually adds 1-3 weeks, after which the patient can have impressions made and the restoration completed.

What are the results?

Many patients have benefitted from dental implants. Most are very pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of the procedure and the relative lack of post surgery discomfort. With proper planning and placement of implants, and good home care, implants can provide many years of improved oral health and function.

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. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that the teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.