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Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth which look, feel and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved they can smile with confidence.
If you are considering getting dental implants in the Grass Valley, CA area, please call our office to arrange a consultation. During a consultation visit Dr. Leighty can explain the risks and benefits of dental implants, and any alternative treatments to you.
What are Dental Implants?
The implants themselves are small threaded titanium posts, which are inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root replacements. They are surgically placed into the jawbone. The bone binds to the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts are then attached to the implant, which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for the new porcelain tooth crown.
Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
The Surgical Procedure
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures – Phases 1 and 2. Phase 1 is the larger surgery when the implants are placed into your jaw. For the next four months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums as they heal. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. At that time, your dentist is fabricating new replacement teeth.
After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, it is time for Phase 2. Dr. Leighty will carefully uncover the implants and attach small posts, which will serve as anchors for the new crown. These short posts protrude through the gums for several weeks until the new crowns are cemented in place. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life during the healing process. Many most patients say that they felt less discomfort with the implant surgery than with their original extraction.
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Dr. Leighty will determine the best brand of implants to use for your mouth. In certain cases, the implant might be placed at the same time the tooth is extracted (immediate implant). In other select situations, we may be able to combine phase 1 and 2 together in one surgery (single stage implants). These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them but do require a certain amount of healing time before placing the crowns on them.
Who actually performs the implant placement?
Implants are a team effort between an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and a General Dentist or Prosthodontist. While Dr. Leighty performs the actual implant surgery, tooth extractions and bone grafting if necessary, the general restorative dentist (your dentist) designs and makes the permanent replacement teeth. Your dentist will also make any necessary temporary prosthesis you need.
What types of prostheses (replacement teeth) are available?
A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing tooth – each prosthetic tooth attaches to its own implant. A partial prosthesis (fixed bridge) can replace two or more teeth and may require two or three implants. A complete dental prosthesis (fixed bridge) replaces all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended. A removable prosthesis (overdenture) attaches to a bar/clip or a ball/socket attachments, whereas a fixed one is permanent and removable only by the dentist.
Dr. Leighty performs most implant surgeries in the office with IV anesthesia. Inpatient or outpatient hospital implant surgery is for patients who have special medical or anesthetic needs or for those who need extensive bone grafting hip or legs.
Why dental implants?
Simply said, implants are the most lifelike (physiologically speaking) tooth replacement available in dentistry today. Once you learn about dental implants, you finally realize there is a way to improve your quality of life. When you lose several teeth – whether it’s a new situation or something you have lived with for years – chances are you have never become fully accustomed to losing such a vital part of yourself.
Dental implants can be your doorway to renewed self-confidence and peace of mind.
A Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, developed this concept for oral rehabilitation more than thirty-five years ago. With his pioneering research, Dr. Branemark opened the door to a lifetime of renewed comfort and self-confidence for millions of individuals facing the frustration and embarrassment of tooth loss.
Why would you select dental implants over more traditional types of restorations?
There are several reasons: Why sacrifice the structure of adjacent teeth to bridge a space? In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient, not to mention that dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and possibly embarrassing.
Are you a candidate for implants?
If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history reviewed. If you mouth is not ideal for implants, ways of improving outcome, such as bone grafting, may be recommended. People who smoke, or patients with diabetes or a compromised immune system have more difficulty healing, and their success rates are lower than average. Again, the purpose of the consultation visit is for Dr. Leighty to explain risks, benefits, and any alternative treatments to you. Therefore you should have an opportunity to sort out all those issues before committing to any particular treatment plan.
What type of anesthesia is used?
The majority of Phase 1 dental implants and bone grafting can be performed in the office under IV anesthesia and local anesthetic. Phase 2 usually can be done with local anesthetic only.Do Implants need special care?
Once the implants are in place, they will serve you well for many years if you take care of them and keep your mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dental specialists.