Implant Info

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A dental implant is essentially an artificial tooth root that is surgically placed into the jawbone. One or more missing teeth can be replaced by attaching a crown, a fixed bridge, or a full set of dentures on top of the implants. The implant material is typically pure titanium, it is biocompatible with surrounding tissues and jawbone. The bone cells attach themselves to the implant in a process called osseointegration. After an initial healing period (3-6 months), during which time the implant(s) is left undisturbed under the gum, it is uncovered and connected to a small post which serves as the foundation for the tooth or teeth the implant will be supporting.

Candidates For Implants

Most patients who are healthy with no restrictions for undergoing minor dental surgical procedures and who also have good oral hygiene are good candidates for dental implants. Your dentist will assess the potential implant site to determine whether there is sufficient bone volume and gum thickness to allow placement of an implant.

We begin treatment by providing a clinical exam involving a visual inspection of the area, gentle palpation, and possible probing of the potential implant site.

In straightforward cases, simple dental x-rays are usually sufficient to examine the bone. In more complex cases, specialized implant x-rays, known as tomograms or CBCT’s, are usually required.

Useful Information

Implants Function Just Like Teeth

Just like teeth, implants are not made to come out. Implants are not the same as natural teeth but they function and feel very much like natural teeth. For patients who have lived with removable appliances, the implant will feel much more secure.

Smoking and Implants Do Not Mix

Smoking affects the healing of bone and soft tissue by reducing the nutrients and minerals in the tissues as well as reducing the blood supply. This means that smoking is one of the biggest risk factors in failure of dental implants. Recent studies estimate that the chances of failure increase by two to three fold in a smoker. Gum and bone like a warm, moist environment and smoking produces a hot, dry environment.

Wearing Dental Appliances Following Surgery

In most cases, existing dentures and other temporary appliances can be worn immediately after implant surgery. There are exceptions, but our goal is to minimize any aesthetic concerns during the healing phase.

After the Surgery

In most situations, a healing period of between 3 to 6 months is required before teeth can be attached to the implants. A temporary appliance can usually be made to provide function and aesthetics during this period.

After the initial implant placement, regular follow-up visits are required to ensure healing is progressing as desired.

After the teeth are attached to the implants, regular check-ups are needed every 6 to 12 months depending on patient hygiene and care. At these check-up appointments, the implants are inspected and examined to ensure the supporting gum and bone remains healthy.  X-rays are taken yearly to examine the bone structure around the implant.

Implants Can Be Rejected

Some implants fail because the bone has not integrated sufficiently with the implant surface. Hence, implants are not “rejected” like an organ transplant; they simply fail to bond with the bone. This may occur if the bone is very soft at the time the implant is placed or if the implant is initially unstable.

Other reasons include inadvertent loading of the implant via a removable denture or by the action of chewing hard food over the implant site during the early stages of healing. Infection may also cause an implant to fail.

Most modern implant systems report success rates of 85-95% over a 5 to 15 years period.

Treatment for Failed Implants

In most situations, an implant can be replaced if it fails to bond with the bone, provided adequate bone and gum tissue is present. Failures do occur, but not often.

Procedures for Implant Placement

In most cases, implants can be placed using local anesthesia or mild sedation. In more complex cases, we may recommend the surgical phase be performed while under general anesthesia in a specialist’s office or in a hospital environment.

Home Care for Dental Implants

For the implant to function well and to remain healthy, proper oral hygiene must be performed at home on a daily basis. Special cleaning aids (brushes, and floss) are widely available. We will provide instructions on the proper use of these cleaning aids.

It is important to note NO metal scrapers should ever come in contact with the implants because any metal object can scratch the surface of the implants.