Dental Implants

What are dental implants?


A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown. 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 which is made of titanium.  The titanium implant bonds to your jaw bone over the course of the healing period. 

Dental implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a  restorative dentist.  Our doctors perform the initial tooth extractions, bone grafting, if  necessary, and the actual implant surgery.  Your restorative dentist fits and fabricates the final permanent prosthesis.  Your dentist will also fabricate any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process. 

Dental Implant Illustration
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. In some cases a temporary replacement tooth can be attached to the implant immediately after it is placed. If all of your teeth are missing, a variety of treatment options are available to support the replacement teeth.

When are dental implants placed?

Implants are typically placed several months after the extraction.  Sometimes an implant may be placed immediately after the extraction of a tooth.  If your tooth has been missing for some time, the adjacent support bone is likely to decrease and become thinner.  This occurs because the root of the natural tooth has to be present in order to stimulate the bone.  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.

The procedure to place a dental implant takes about 30 to 60 minutes.  Prior to surgery, you may opt to have the procedure performed using intravenous sedation or nitrous oxide along with the local anesthesia.  When you are comfortable, the surgeon makes a small incision in the gum tissue to reveal the bone, then creates space using special instruments, and gently inserts the titanium implant.  The top of the implant is often visible through the gum tissue. 

Surgical Advances in Dental Implants

Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, our doctors are 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 implant can be placed at the same time as the tooth extraction,   minimizing the number of your surgical procedures.

“Don’t be afraid to Smile.”

For years I’d felt like a part of my body was missing — because my teeth were. My dentist told me that dental implants would make me feel and look a lot better. OK, I said. Now, I’m thrilled. I can smile, eat anything, and enjoy a good laugh with my friends.