Overview of Implant Placement
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 tissue 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. If all of your teeth are missing, a variety of treatment options are available to support the replacement teeth.
The Surgical Procedure
The procedure to place an implant takes approximately 60 minutes. The number of appointments and time required, vary from patient to patient.
Dr. Zalsman places the majority of dental implants under local anesthetic, however, IV sedation is an option if preferred. These treatment options will be discussed with you at the time of your consultation appointment.
When you are comfortable, Dr. Zalsman will make a small incision in the tissue to reveal the bone and gently insert the titanium implant. The top of this implant is sometimes visible through the tissue.
2. Tooth Loss
3. Healed Bone
4. Implant Placed
6. Implant Restored
The Healing Phase
Now the healing begins. The length of time varies from person to person, depending upon the quality and quantity of bone. Dr. Zalsman will advise you on follow-up care and timing. After the initial phase of healing, Dr. Zalsman will place a healing cap onto the implant during a brief follow-up visit. This allows the tissue to mature and provides access to the implant.
How long your mouth needs to heal is determined by a variety of factors. Follow-up care (one to four appointments) is required to ensure that your mouth is healing well and to determine when you are ready for the restorative phase of your treatment.
It may be beneficial to perform a soft tissue graft to obtain stronger, more easily cleaned and natural appearing tissue in the area around the implant. This process involves moving a small amount of gum tissue from one part of your mouth to the area around the implant. Most often, it is a brief and simple procedure.
Whether replacing one tooth, or all of your teeth, your dentist will complete the restoration by fitting the replacement tooth (crown) to the dental implant.
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.
When Are Dental Implants Placed?
In certain circumstances, implants may be placed immediately after extraction of a tooth. Other times, a healing period is required before placing the implant. When infection or other problems with the bone are present, immediate implant placement is not the best treatment.
If your tooth has been missing for some time, the adjacent support bone is likely to grow thinner and shrink. As much as one third of your jaw’s thickness can be lost in the year following tooth extraction. If you are missing enough bone, you may benefit from having additional bone grafted into the area. This ensures the implant will be adequately supported when it is placed in the jaw.
How Many Implants Do I Need?
Most frequently, one implant per missing tooth is placed. Because many of the larger teeth in the back of your jaws have two or three roots, the most common approach is to replace missing back teeth with larger implants. Dr. Zalsman will select the implant that is the best fit for each individual patient based on bone, space and area of the mouth being restored.