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. A patient with a dental implant can smile with confidence.
What is a Dental Implant?
The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts, which are inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jawbone. The bone bonds with 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 artificial replacement teeth.
A dental implant also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
The Dental Implants Surgical Procedure
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. At the same time, your dentist is forming new replacement teeth.
After the dental implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Dr. Chan will uncover the implants and attach small posts, which will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. These posts protrude through the gums. When the artificial teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.
The Key Benefits of Dental Implants
Unlike conventional dentures and bridges, dental implants are designed to look, feel, and function like natural teeth, and can provide a range of benefits for patients of all ages. Below are some of the key benefits of dental implant surgery.
- Improved Appearance. One of the most significant benefits of dental implant surgery is improved appearance. Dental implants are designed to blend in seamlessly with your natural teeth, and can help to restore your smile and boost your self-confidence.
- Improved Speech. Missing teeth can affect your ability to speak clearly, especially if they are located in the front of your mouth. Dental implants can help to restore your ability to speak clearly and confidently, without the fear of slipping or moving dentures.
- Improved Comfort. Dental implants are designed to fit comfortably in your mouth, and can eliminate the discomfort and irritation that is often associated with dentures and bridges. With dental implants, you can eat, speak, and smile with confidence, knowing that your teeth are secure and comfortable.
- Improved Function. Dental implants are designed to function like natural teeth, and can help to improve your ability to eat, speak, and perform daily activities. Unlike dentures and bridges, which can slip or move out of place, dental implants are designed to stay securely in place, allowing you to enjoy your favorite foods and activities without restriction.
- Improved Oral Health. Dental implants can help to improve your oral health by preventing bone loss and preserving the integrity of your remaining teeth. Unlike dentures and bridges, which can put pressure on your remaining teeth and cause them to shift or become loose, dental implants provide a stable foundation for your teeth and help to maintain the natural structure of your jaw.
- Long-Term Durability. With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last for many years, and in some cases, even a lifetime. Unlike dentures and bridges, which may need to be replaced every few years, dental implants are designed to be a long-term solution for missing teeth.
How to Prepare for a Dental Implant Procedure
If you are considering a dental implant procedure, it is important to take steps to prepare for the procedure and maximize your chances of a successful outcome. Below are some of the key steps you can take to prepare for a dental implant procedure:
Choose a Skilled Implant Dentist
The first step in preparing for a dental implant procedure is to choose a skilled and experienced implant dentist who specializes in this type of procedure. Look for a dentist who is higher education in implant dentistry and has a track record of successful outcomes. You may also want to consider getting a second opinion to ensure that you are making an informed decision.Better still, go to a specialist team comprising an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a prosthodontist.
Understand the Procedure
Before undergoing a dental implant procedure, it is important to have a clear understanding of the procedure and what it involves. Your dentist should explain the procedure in detail, including the risks and benefits, and answer any questions you may have.
Get a Comprehensive Evaluation
To ensure that you are a good candidate for a dental implant procedure, you will need to undergo a comprehensive evaluation that includes a physical exam, dental exam, and imaging studies such as X-rays and CT scans. Your dentist may also recommend additional tests or consultations with other specialists as needed.
Address Any Pre-Existing Conditions
If you have any pre-existing medical or dental conditions, it is important to address these before undergoing a dental implant procedure. This may include treating gum disease, getting any necessary dental work done, or managing chronic health conditions such as diabetes or hypertension.
Follow Pre-Operative Instructions
Your dentist will provide you with detailed instructions to follow in the days and weeks leading up to your procedure. This may include dietary restrictions, medication adjustments, and other preparations to ensure that you are in the best possible health for the procedure.
Prepare for the Recovery Process
A dental implant procedure requires a recovery period, during which you may experience pain, swelling, and other side effects. It is important to prepare for this by arranging for time off work or school, lining up support from family and friends, and making any necessary adjustments to your living space to accommodate your recovery needs.
After Care Tips for Dental Implant Surgery
A dental implant procedure is a complex and delicate process that requires careful post-operative care to ensure a successful outcome. After the procedure, it is important to follow your dentist's instructions closely and take steps to promote healing and reduce the risk of complications.
Manage Pain and Discomfort
A dental implant procedure can cause significant pain and discomfort, especially in the first few days after the procedure. Your dentist will prescribe pain medication to help manage your symptoms, and it is important to take this medication as directed. You may also find relief from cold compresses, heat therapy, and other non-medical pain management techniques.
Follow a Soft Food Diet
After a dental implant procedure, you will need to follow a soft food diet for several weeks to allow the implant to heal. This may include foods such as mashed potatoes, yogurt, smoothies, and soups. Avoid hard or crunchy foods, as well as foods that require a lot of chewing.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
It is important to maintain good oral hygiene after a dental implant procedure to reduce the risk of infection and promote healing. Brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and rinse your mouth with saltwater or a prescribed mouthwash as directed by your dentist.
Attend Follow-Up Appointments
Your dentist will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and ensure that you are healing properly. It is important to attend these appointments and follow any recommendations or instructions provided by your dentist.
Avoid Strenuous Activities
After a dental implant procedure, you will need to avoid strenuous activities such as exercise and heavy lifting for several weeks. This will help to prevent complications such as bleeding or swelling.
Swelling is a common side effect of a dental implant procedure, and can be managed with ice packs, elevation, and other techniques. Your dentist may also recommend medications or other treatments to help reduce swelling.
Post-operative care is a critical component of a successful outcome after a dental implant procedure. By managing pain and discomfort, following a soft food diet, practicing good oral hygiene, attending follow-up appointments, avoiding strenuous activities, and managing swelling, you can promote healing and reduce the risk of complications.
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Dr. Chan is 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 implants can be placed at the same time as a tooth extraction - further minimizing the number of surgical procedures. Advances in dental implant technology have made it possible, in select cases, to extract teeth and place implants with crowns at one visit. This procedure, called “immediate loading,” greatly simplifies the surgical process.
Who actually performs the dental implants placement?
Implants are a team effort between an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and a Restorative Dentist. While Dr. Chan performs the actual implant surgery, and 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.
What types of prostheses 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 only 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 (over denture) attaches to a bar or ball in socket attachments, whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by the dentist.
Dr. Chan performs in-office dental implant surgery in a hospital-style operating suite, thus optimizing the level of sterility. Inpatient hospital implant surgery is for patients who have special medical or anesthetic needs or for those who need extensive bone grafting from the jaw, hip or tibia.
Why dental implants?
Once you learn about dental implants, you finally realize there is a way to improve your 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.
A dental implant 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 surrounding good 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 rather embarrassing.
Are you a dental implant candidate?
If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history reviewed. If your mouth is not ideal for a dental implant, ways of improving outcome, such as bone grafting, may be recommended.
What type of anesthesia is used?
Does a dental implant 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.
“The computer-guided implant surgery is done in an arthroscopic fashion without requiring any flap reflection.”
TEETH-IN-AN-HOUR™ is a revolutionary concept providing patients with fully functioning teeth on dental implants in one single procedure that lasts about an hour. This technology was recently developed by Nobel Biocare, and allows for collaboration between both the restorative doctor and the surgeon. This merging of knowledge and experience achieves not only increased safety, but also a more precise implant placement. In addition, the fabrication of a final prosthesis is completed prior to the surgery. The computer-guided implant surgery is done in an arthroscopic fashion without requiring any flap reflection. This benefits the patient being that there is less post operative discomfort, less swelling and less bruising. Often, patients can resume their normal activities the next day.
The process starts when a CAT scan is taken of the patient's jawbone. This CAT scan allows for the generation of a 3-D model of the jawbone, which can then be used in virtual reality software to plan the implant placement without the presence of the patient. The results are more accurate implant placement, and less chair time for the patient at the surgery office.