Dental Implants

What is an Implant?

Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. In addition, implants can help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.

There are many reasons to correct the problem of missing natural teeth:

  • A cosmetic concern; a gap between your teeth that is obvious when you speak or smile.
  • When your speech is affect due to these missing teeth.
  • Missing a molar might not be noticeable when you talk or smile, but its absence can affect your daily chewing.
  • After a tooth is removed, the remaining teeth are subject to extra pressure as your bit changes.  This extra pressure can cause discomfort to the jaw joints and lead to TMD, tempomandibular disorder.
  •   When a tooth isn’t replaced, the surrounding teeth can shift.  This can cause plaque and tartar in hard to reach places; leading to tooth decay or periodontal disease.
  • Further bone loss will occur in the region of the missing natural tooth.

Dental implants are changing the way people live!  With them, people are rediscovering the comfort and confidence to eat, speak, laugh and enjoy life.

Bone Grafting

Our natural teeth are supported by their roots in the jawbone.  When a natural tooth is lost, the extracted root creates an open space.  That surrounding bone is no longer stimulated by a root, leading the remaining bone in the area to collapse and reabsorbs.  If there is too much bone loss, it is very difficult to place an implant due to lack support in the jawbone.  Therefore, the preventative measure to preserve the natural contours of that area is with a bone grafting procedure.  This maintains the surrounding bone level for future tooth replacement.  The procedure entails placing a specialized bone material in the region and sealing with a layer of collagen material to promote better healing.

Over a period of time, with multiple missing teeth leading to reabsorbing jawbone, it often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. In these situations, many patients are not candidates for placement of dental implants.

With bone grafting, we now have the opportunity to not only replace bone where it is missing, but also the ability to promote new bone growth in that location! This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants with proper support, it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and esthetic appearance; helping improve your everyday life.

Restorative Implant Options

Single Tooth Implant

A single tooth implant replaces the root of a missing tooth.  It serves as a freestanding unit that doesn’t involve the treatment to the adjacent teeth.  The implant can improve the appearance of a “gap”, stabilize your bite and help prevent problems with the jaw.

Implant-Supported Bridge

Dental implants can be used to support a bridge when several teeth are missing.  The bridge replaces those missing natural teeth.  When being supported by implants, it does not require the support from adjacent teeth; guaranteeing a very strong and fortified fixed bridge.

Implant Supported Denture

If you are missing all of your natural teeth, an implant-supported complete denture is a better good option.  Having the dental implants integrated with the jawbone, allows strong stability and comfort with your dentures; allowing you to chew and bite your meals naturally.

Sinus Lift

What is a Sinus Lift?

The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. These sinuses are empty, air-filled spaces. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone.

The key to a successful and long-lasting dental implant is the quality and quantity of jawbone to which the implant will be attached. If bone loss has occurred due to injury or periodontal disease, a sinus augmentation can raise the sinus floor and allow for new bone formation. A sinus lift is one of the most common bone grafting procedures for patients with bone loss in the upper jaw. The procedure seeks to grow bone in the floor of the maxillary sinus above the bony ridge of the gum line that anchors the teeth in the upper jaw. By strengthening and growing bone in this location, dental implants can be placed and secured in the new bone growth.

Am I a Candidate for a Sinus Lift Procedure?

A sinus lift may be necessary if you:

  • are missing more than one tooth in the back of your jaw.
  • are missing a significant amount of bone in the back of your jaw.
  • are missing teeth due to a birth defect or condition.
  • are missing most of the maxillary teeth, but require support for dental implants.

How is this Oral Surgery Accomplished?

In the most common sinus augmentation procedure, a small incision is made on the premolar or molar region to expose the jawbone. A small opening is cut into the bone, and the membrane lining the sinus is pushed upward. The underlying space is filled with bone grafting material, either from your own body or from a cadaver. Sometimes, synthetic materials that can imitate bone formation are used. After the bone is implanted, the incision is stitched up and the healing process begins. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient’s jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone.

If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, the sinus augmentation will have to be performed first, then the graft will have to mature for several months, depending upon the type of graft material used. Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.
The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option besides wearing loose dentures.

A sinus augmentation is generally performed at our office, under local anesthesia. However, some patients also may request oral or intravenous sedative medication as well.