What are dental implants?
A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown. If you compare natural teeth to implant-supported replacement teeth, you’ll see they have the same basic parts. Both have a crown (the visible part used to chew food). Both have a root that holds the tooth securely under the gum and is anchored into the jaw. The difference is that the implant is made of titanium – the same time-tested material used by surgeons for artificial joints. When you lose a tooth, you lose both the root and the crown. To replace the tooth, the surgeon first replaces the root with a small dental implant.
Time is allowed for bone to heal and grow around the dental implant. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. A support post (abutment) is then placed on the implant and a new replacement tooth (crown) is placed on top of the abutment. In many cases a temporary replacement tooth can be attached to the implant immediately after it is placed. If all of your teeth are missing, a variety of treatment options are available to support the replacement teeth.
Surgical Advances in Dental Implants
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Dr. Vigliante, Dr. Bowler and Dr. Sonesson are able to place single stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require a minimum of six weeks of healing time before artificial teeth are placed. There are even situations where the implant can be placed at the same time as the tooth extraction – further minimizing your number of surgical procedures.
Dental implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. Drs. Vigliante, Bowler and Sonesson perform the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting if necessary. The restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.
Timelines to Implant Placement
Standard Dental Implant Placement
Dental Implant Placement
The surgical appointment is about 45 minutes in duration. A surgical guide may need to be fabricated to guide implant placement depending on the implant location. If a bone graft is not needed prior to implant placement, a dental implant can be placed right away in the toothless area. In some cases, depending on your anatomy, a bone graft may need to be performed along with dental implant placement. (Human donor bone is used unless other options have been discussed.). The dental implant placement can be performed with local anesthesia alone or a combination of local anesthesia and IV Sedation.
Post Surgical Period
You can expect the surgical area to be sore for about 1 week; however, most people return to work and most activities the following day. We recommend refraining from strenuous physical activity and swimming for 1 week. At surgery, you will receive detailed post operative care instructions in writing. You should start gently rinsing with the antimicrobial mouth rinse approx. 1 day after surgery unless otherwise stated.
Post Surgical Appointments
1 week, 6 weeks, 12 weeks later
Your specialist (Drs. Vigliante, Bowler or Sonesson) will examine your healing, discuss your progress, answer any questions, and schedule your dental implant placement appointment. The dental implant needs approximately 3 months to mature and become attached to your jaw bone.
3 months after Dental Implant Placement
Your Specialist will check the implant for healing and prepare it for the final restoration. We will notify your dentist of your surgical release, and arrange for your appointment.
Final Crown Fabrication
Depending on your case, 2 appointments with your dentist are usually required for crown fabrication. We will coordinate your first dental implant appointment at the time of your surgical release. Your second dental implant appointment will be made by your dentist since he or she will know when your final crown and abutment will be ready. The first appointment is an impression of your implant and the second is to place the abutment and final crown. We encourage you to talk to your dentist regarding fees for the restorative phase prior to beginning surgery.