All About Dental Implants
Dental Implants has changed dentistry, our patients no longer fear the dentist, but are excited for their long term prognosis, because they know that it includes healthy, functional teeth. The traditional thought among most dentists has been that every person will have three sets of teeth in their life, their initial primary teeth, followed by their permanent teeth, and finally their dentures. With implants, we can restore singular missing teeth with a dental crown, and multiple missing teeth with either a dental bridge or denture device. Dr. Falk and Dr. Krieger are happy to meet with you, evaluate your needs, and design a treatment plan that is customized to you.
Our team at Canyon Oral & Facial Surgery has a treatment plan that will fit with your dental needs, your medical needs, and your finances. We want to restore your smile, and give you the healthy teeth that you deserve.
History of Dental ImplantsHistorically speaking, there is evidence of people attempting to replace missing teeth with a variety of materials for thousands of years. Scientists have seen implanted shell, bamboo, wood and metals in skeletal remains. The idea of replacing teeth has been a long quest.
At the turn of the century, doctors began trials of dental implants with various metals. Several metals were attempted and rejected due to lack of fusing, or being rejected by the body. In the 1950s, these failed attempts finally saw success, when implanted titanium in the ears of rabbits was discovered to have fused, and could not be removed. As studies began on humans, doctors were impressed to discover that titanium was key to the success of implantation. It wouldn’t be until 1965 that the first dental implant was placed in a human subject, and then it would take decades longer to review the long term prognosis.
All of this hard work has led us to today, a successful dental restoration technique that restores your missing teeth, and can even retain dentures permanently in your mouth.
What are dental implants?People are sometimes confused by what an implant is. There is a process involved with dental implants, and the term implant itself only refers to one portion of the process. After a patient loses a tooth, whether due to an injury, decay, or chronic periodontitis, there is no longer a root, or base where the tooth once was. We need to replace that base, or foundation, with something that is firmly in place and can withstand the motion and pressure of chewing. Dental implants are that firm base. We take a titanium metal rod and place it in the empty socket, directly into the bone. Titanium is the ideal metal to use for several reasons, it is lightweight, strong, durable, and biocompatible. This biocompatibility is the key to the implant process. Decades of analysis and trial told us that titanium will not be rejected by the human body, and in fact your body will heal around it, incorporating it into the bone and tissue, creating a strong fusion, due to a process known as osseointegration. With a base secured, we can then attach an abutment and prosthetic device.
What is osseointegration?Osseointegration is a medical term referring to taking into the bone, or integrating with the bone. This process allows skeletal repair all over the body. Doctors have been placing titanium in the skeletal frame to repair knees, shoulders, hips, and more. The bone fuses with the metal, making it a part of the frame for a strong hold. In dentistry, we use osseointegration to fuse metal to your jawbone, creating the solid base that is needed to restore a tooth when the natural tooth was lost. The lifespan of this type of restoration can extend to twenty years, and many patients have found it to last them throughout their life. Dr. Falk and Dr. Krieger will walk you through the process including the preparatory steps, such as a bone graft, in preparing for your tooth implant procedure.
Bone GraftsA bone graft procedure is often necessary proceeding your implant placement. This is due to bone loss following the loss of a tooth. When a tooth is lost, our bone has an immediate and dramatic reaction of sorption. Our bone is comprised of living that demand constant stimulation to stay healthy. Our jaw bone receives this stimulation from the pressure and motion of chewing. When a tooth is lost, this necessary stimulation also ceases, and the bone responds with sorption. We can reverse this process, and bulk up the bone by performing a simple bone graft procedure.
Dr. Falk or Dr. Krieger can perform a bone graft procedure in our office, at Canyon Oral & Facial Surgery, quickly, and painlessly, with the assistance of a local anesthetic. Bone grafts take bone material, from one of four sources, which we then place and close up to induce healing and growth. The four sources used for bone grafts include:
Dental Implant SurgeryA majority of the implant placement process is done before the surgery. From planning, to preparatory work, by the time we get to surgery day, the work is almost done. The surgical procedure of placing your dental implant will take approximately one hour in the chair. We begin with numbing the patient thoroughly with a local anesthetic. Though placement sounds uncomfortable, most patients find surgery to be only minimally uncomfortable.
Once numbed, Dr. Falk or Dr. Krieger then takes a specialized drill that will be used to create the space needed in the bone. The implant is then placed directly in the bone, and the area is sutured closed. The patient is sent home with care instructions that will include using caution to keep the implant stable while healing.
Healing will take several months. The tissue will heal quickly, within days, but this is just the surface healing. Patients find that the recovery is fairly simple, they may require over the counter pain relief for the first day or two following implantation, and we will advise the patient on what to watch for with bleeding and swelling. The biggest part of the healing process is the fusion of the bone and implant. Known as osseointegration, your living bone will grow and heal around the implant, but it will take time before the implant is bonded. Most patients require about three months of healing time for this bond to occur.
Once the bone has integrated the implant, it is now firmly in place and can serve as a strong base for a dental prosthetic. Dr. Falk or Dr. Krieger will have already reviewed your prosthetic options with you in the planning stage, it will include either a dental crown, a dental bridge, or a denture. Bridges and dentures may require multiple implants, depending on your situation, which we will disucss with you before surgery.
Dental Implants vs. Tooth ImplantsThe terminology of dental implants and tooth implants are used interchangeably. The post is the implant, and some dentists may refer to the implant as a tooth implant because they are discussing the restoration of a singular tooth with a dental crown, where the terminology of dental implants may be referred to by dentists when discussing the replacement of multiple teeth, but both terms are in reference to the same process of an implant post.
Securing Dental Prosthetics with ImplantsWe are able to stabilize and secure your dental prosthetic with dental implants. Generally speaking, there are three different types of prosthetic devices that we use to attach to implants, that are available in a variety of materials.
With your dental implant secured, we can then place a crown over the implant to replace a single missing tooth. When a patient loses a tooth, it is important to their oral health to consider replacement. Only a tooth implant can give you the look, feel, and comfort of your natural tooth.
A dental bridge is used to replace a missing tooth. Bridges require neighboring teeth or dental implant posts to anchor the bridge device to. Dr. Falk or Dr. Krieger can use an implant post to serve as one or both necessary anchors, replacing multiple teeth.
Dentures are generally a significant life change for patients. They are not known for providing a comfortable solution, only a necessary one. Securing your denture with implants will significantly increase their comfort. No glue, no suction, no covering the roof of your mouth. We can use between four to six implant posts to permanently secure your denture device in your mouth, allowing you to eat the foods you love, and feel confidant in social situations.
Am I a candidate for a dental implant?The best way to determine if you are a candidate for a dental implant is to meet with Dr. Falk or Dr. Krieger to review your medical and dental history. There are some factors that we take into consideration when planning your replacement options. If you suffer from certain medical conditions, we are happy to meet with you, and determine if your situation is manageable to proceed. Some conditions that may limit your candidacy, including any condition that decreases your ability to heal, such as:
Implant StatisticsDental implants is rapidly becoming the treatment of choice for many of our adult patients following the loss of a singular or multiple teeth. Implants have the highest rate of success of any other dental restoration, with over a 98% rate of success. Currently over three million people worldwide have at least one dental implant and that number is growing at a rapid rate of over 500,000 per year.
Having your implant placed by an oral surgeon only increases your success rate even more. You want to trust your surgical procedures to the dentists who perform oral surgery every day. Our team at Canyon Oral & Facial Surgery can provide you the information, and show you step by step how we can make a significant difference in the health of your mouth by replacing your missing teeth with dental implants. We can truly give you a reason to smile.
For more information, contact our offices at: Centennial Hills: (702) 660-5574, Summerlin: (702) 660-5576