The use of dental implants can transform your life. Expertly crafted and implanted, they are a pillar for lifelong replacement teeth that in all regards are identical to your real teeth—assuming your natural teeth were perfect.
The actual implants are small posts made of titanium that are surgically implanted directly into the jaw. Bonded together, bone and titanium become one to provide a solid foundation for your replacement teeth. A series of small posts extend through the gums, which allow for a secure attachment for artificial teeth. Dental implants need strong anchors to ensure comfort and stability for life. Implants also serve as preservers for facial structure, helping to minimize bone loss that can happen when patients are missing teeth.
What to Expect from Dental Implant Surgery
It might sound like an overwhelming process, but it’s 100 percent pain-free. Some patients require two surgeries, with the first installing the implants into the jaw. The bone bonds to the implants in roughly 6 months.
When the bonding is complete, the implant is ready for a crown. During a second surgery, the gum is opened to uncover the implant, and the abutment is attached to the implant. Your general dentist will often create and fit the crown on the implant to complete the procedure. However, at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, we are also able to provide and fit your crowns or bridges as well.
Surgical Advances for Dental Implants
Only the latest technology is used at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, which allows for what’s known as “single stage implants.” With single stage dental implants, patients only need surgery once—there’s no second surgery to uncover the implants. However, healing time is still necessary between the first surgery and the placement of the actual crowns. There are some instances where implants can be put into place during a tooth extraction if that is required.
Any dental implant requires a team of dental professionals, including a restorative and oral & maxillofacial surgeon. In our Utah offices, Dr. Partridge or Dr. Maxfield will undertake the surgery, bone grafting (if required) and the tooth extractions (if necessary).
Choosing the Right Dental Implants
Also known as “prosthesis,” there are a number of dental implant types available—the most common is a crown, or single prosthesis. This is popular for replacing a single tooth, and each crown is attached to a dedicated implant.
With a fixed bridge, or partial prosthesis, you can have two or more teeth replaced and may only need two or three implants in total. Finally, a fixed bridge, or complete prosthesis, replaces all teeth in both lower and upper jaw. How many implants you’ll need for a fixed bridge depends on the type of prosthesis (fixed or removable) you require as well as how many teeth are involved.
Dental Implants vs. Traditional Restorations
Can’t decide if implants or a traditional restoration is for you? With traditional restorations, you may sacrifice some of the structure of neighboring “good teeth” in order to create space for a bridge. Plus, working around “partial” or full dentures is a hassle and many patients find dentures embarrassing, uncomfortable and more trouble than they’re worth. Dental implants feel, act and look like your natural teeth—but are often much better looking as an added bonus.
Not everyone is a prime candidate for implants. If you’re interested, a full examination is necessary along with a dental/medical history review. In some cases, bone grafting might be necessary to make you a better candidate. Once a patient and their dentist decides on dental implants, rest assured that general anesthesia through IV sedation will make the actual surgeries painless.
Once dental implants are in place, proper oral hygiene is required—but it’s no different than good oral hygiene for natural teeth. This means regular checkups, good brushing technique, flossing and perhaps a fluoride mouthwash.
What about “Teeth in a Day?”
This option gives patients teeth that are fully functioning dental implants, but in just one procedure. With advanced technology and collaboration between your surgeon and general dentist, patients enjoy the best in safety and the convenience of a single procedure. Plus, the final prosthesis fabrication is done in advance by your dentist, which helps minimize bruising and swelling. It’s common for patients to have Teeth in a Day and get back to their usual activities immediately.
To get the process started, patients must undergo a jawbone CAT scan which creates a 3D image of the jaw. This is then used in a virtual reality software program to map out the future placement of the dental implants, which allows for more accuracy with placement, less time in the chair and a faster experience.
Discover more about Teeth in a Day right now.