WHY DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Dental implants can look and feel like natural teeth.
Implants are stable, comfortable, attractive and a permanent solution to replacing teeth without drilling/cutting of your healthy adjacent teeth. Implants provide a strong foundation for the crown (no wiggling of the tooth like with a removable flipper/denture) and can maintain jaw bone. They can replace single teeth, multiple teeth (like with an implant bridge), as an attachment to anchor removable dentures, or can be used to replace all of your teeth in a non-removable fashion. Implants feel most like your natural teeth and can last a lifetime.
WHO CAN GET DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Anyone who is missing a tooth or has a failing tooth can be a good candidate for implants. Age is not a limiting factor to implant treatment. However, smoking, diabetes, immunodeficiency, and radiation therapy to the jaw bone, have been shown to lower the success rate of implant placement. A 3D digital scan of your jaw will be taken to evaluate whether the bone is sufficient to accommodate implants. During your consultation, Dr. Pashkowsky will review your medical history and your 3D scan with you to determine if you are a candidate for dental implants.
When are dental implants placed?
Ideally, we want to place an implant within the first 3 months of tooth loss. Often we can place an implant simultaneously with tooth removal. If your tooth has been missing for some time, the adjacent supporting bone is likely to grow thinner and shrink, making it more difficult to place your implant in the ideal location. This occurs because the root of the natural tooth has to be present to maintain bone. Without implant placement, 25% of bone loss occurs in the first year following tooth extraction. If you neglect to place an implant, bone loss continues over time and you may require comprehensive bone grafting to accommodate an implant in the future. It is better and more predictable to have your implant placed before significant bone loss occurs.
How many implants do I need?
Typically one implant per missing tooth is placed. If there are several teeth missing, it may be possible to place fewer implants than the number of teeth are needed which can provide cost savings for you. If you are missing all of your top or bottom teeth, there are also implant options for you here.
The procedure to place a dental implant takes 30 to 60 minutes and can be performed with local anesthesia (numbing medicine) or under IV sedation. We use state-of-the-art technology to deliver the best implant care possible.
Implants can be placed in areas where the bone has already healed from the extraction or in some cases, the implant can be placed at the same visit that the tooth is removed. This is referred to as an immediate implant.
During the implant procedure, Dr. Pashkowsky makes a small incision in the gum tissue to expose a small area of bone, creates space using special instruments, and gently inserts the titanium implant. A healing cap (abutment) is placed on top of the implant. This cap is often visible above the gum immediately after the procedure. Alternatively, in some instances it is better in the early stages of healing to have the implant covered entirely by the gum tissue. The type of healing cap placed will be determined at the time of your procedure and appropriate home care will be reviewed with you before you leave.
Healing after Dental Implant Surgery
The length of time needing for healing varies, depending upon the patient and procedure rendered. In some cases, it may be possible to have a temporary crown placed immediately after the implant surgery. Typically, this is considered for a front tooth or in instances when the implants are replacing all of the teeth in the jaw like with an All-on-Four or All-on-Six implant procedure.
For most single tooth implants, an initial phase of healing needs to occur for the implant to stabilize in the bone before the final crown is made. After initial healing, Dr. Pashkowsky will evaluate the implant stability and place a taller healing cap (abutment) if it was not already placed at your initial surgery. Dr. Pashkowsky will determine everything has healed well and will let your dentist know you are ready to have your final crown made.
It may be beneficial to perform a soft tissue graft to obtain stronger, more cleansible, and natural appearing gum tissue in the area around the implant. This process involves moving a small amount of gum tissue from one part of your mouth to the area around the implant. It is a quick and comfortable procedure.
Whether it’s one tooth or all of your teeth that are being replaced, your dentist will complete the restoration by fitting the replacement tooth (crown) to the dental implant.