Dental Implants

Dental Implants

Dental Implants for a Healthy Beautiful Smile
Do you have a missing tooth?
Are you not happy with your dentures?

Dental implants revolutionized dentistry and changed lives. Dental implants can help you chew easily and re-create your smile. An implant is a titanium screw that can hold a crown to replace a missing tooth. It looks and feels and acts like a natural tooth.

Improve your Quality of Life with Dental Implants
Why is it important to replace your tooth?

Nutrition is essential to your health and well being. The ability to chew and break the food down into smaller pieces is essential to digestion. Missing teeth can impair the initial step of digestion. Having full set of teeth allows you to evenly distribute the biting force that you need. Replacing the missing teeth with dental implant gives you the ability to chew and digest properly.

The front teeth are essential for an esthetic and youthful smile. Smiling induces endorphins that keep you happy and energetic. The teeth also support the position of the lips and loss of support can create an aged look. Restoring a smile with dental implants can restore a beautiful smile.

Dental implants have proven longevity. The long term success rate range between 95-98 % in various studies. Dentures and bridges required repair and replacement every 5-10 years. In comparison, dental implants can last a lifetime when properly maintained.  

What are the alternatives?
Before dental implants bridges (fixed partial denture), dentures or partial dentures were used to replace teeth. A bridge involves cutting structures of the two adjacent missing spaces in order to place the abutment or anchoring crowns. If there is a problem with the bridge, all the supporting teeth may need to get new restorations. Multiple teeth may need to be cut for Partial dentures. The wires that wrap around the remaining teeth can weaken and loosen the teeth. Full dentures don’t create the same chewing forces and are difficult to manipulate. Dental implants don’t require removal of any adjacent tooth structure and is fixed (attached) to the bone just like a tooth so it doesn’t require any manipulation while chewing. Dental Implant look and feel natural and most importantly improves patient comfort. 

Overview of Implant Placement

Implant placement
Implant placement can be completed in the office. The implant can be placed after the extraction site healing is completed or at the same time as the extraction. The surgical time depends on the number of implants and the complexity of your case. An osteotomy (hole in the bone) is created with sterile instruments to fit the implant precisely using various drills. After the implant placement stitches are placed in the gum. 

After the implant placement the healing begins. The bone heals around the implant and integrates to the implant. This is called osteointegration. Healing time depends on the quality of bone and differs from person to person. In select cases, a temporary crown can be placed immediately. After the healing is complete a simple surgery is done to place an abutment (post) that sticks out your gum. This allows the gum to form a mold in preparation for your crown. If the gum tissue is thin and has difficulty healing, a gum graft is needed to help support the implant. 

After gum healing is complete, you are ready for your crown impression. The impression is sent to a lab where your crown is fabricated. When the crown is seated on your implant, your journey is complete.      

What can I use to replace my missing tooth while the implant is healing?
There are many options to replace the gap while the implant is healing. This is critical for front teeth or multiple missing teeth. A temporary removable tray called an essex can be utilized. The essex looks like an invisilign or night guard tray and it holds a tooth in place. A temporary removable stay plate looks like a retainer that holds a tooth. If you want something that is fixed or cannot be removed, temporary implants can be placed to anchor the teeth. In select cases, a temporary crown can be placed on the same day as the implant placement. They are commonly called “Immediate load Implants”. 

What do I have to do to keep my Implants healthy?
Just like natural teeth, implants need regular maintenance. Please brush and floss your implants just like your teeth. Although they cannot get cavities, they can develop gum disease. Hygiene and maintenance is the key to long term success of dental implants. 
Dr. Um and Dr. Song are oral and maxillofacial surgeons who specialize in placement of dental implants. For more information about dental implants, please call Song Oral Surgery at (415)668-8600.
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