Dental implants are a conservative treatment option and offer many benefits over traditional dental restorations. Implants help preserve your remaining teeth and decrease bone loss that commonly occurs after dental extractions. Dental implants provide support for your replacement tooth or teeth without relying on natural teeth. There’s no need for your dentist to grind down adjacent teeth to cement a bridge. The dental implant fully supports a new crown where your tooth is missing. There’s no need to damage adjacent teeth or to rely on the strength of adjacent teeth to carry the burden of a bridge.
If you’re healthy enough to have a tooth removed, you’re likely healthy enough to undergo dental implant placement. To determine if you’re a candidate for a dental implant, we will review your medical history and evaluate the health of your teeth and gums. At times, we’ll compliment the X-rays provided by your dentist with additional X-rays or 3-dimensional scanning. Though the thought of someone placing a screw into your jaw may sound scary, dental implants surgery is much easier for patients than having a tooth extracted. The vast majority of our patients undergoing a single dental implant placement can return to work the day following surgery.
For all of your oral surgery needs, please come to Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park Oral Surgery. We perform wisdom teeth removal, general tooth extractions, dental implant surgery, and many other reconstructive surgeries. We service all of Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Lake and Montecito counties and look forward to caring for you at one of our state of the art oral surgery facilities. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to call our offices. Thank you.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root. It is a titanium anchor that is placed into the jaw bone and forms a permanent platform upon which your dentist can place your new tooth, bridge, partial or full denture. Implants are used to replace missing teeth and offer an alternative to removable devices like “flippers,” full or partial dentures. They are comfortable, natural-looking, and require only typical oral hygiene care. For over twenty years, dental implants have been the standard care for the treatment of missing teeth.
What Does a Dental Implant Look like?
The dental implant is composed of 3 parts. 1) The implant—this is a titanium screw that the oral & maxillofacial surgeon places into the jaw bone. This forms the “root” of your new teeth. 2) The Abutment—this “cap” is placed on top of the implant. There are 2 types of abutments. The healing abutment will be placed at the time of your surgery and will remain in place until your implant is integrated into your bone. The final abutment will be placed after the implant is fused into the jaw and will anchor the permanent restoration (tooth, bridge, or denture) to the implant. 3) The Dental Restoration—this is the visible tooth in the mouth. This can be a single tooth, bridge of teeth, or a complete denture.
Am I a Candidate for a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are the solution of choice for most people, even those patients with the following concerns:
- Children—Although young children can NOT have a dental implant while they are still growing, dental implants can be used to replace broken, extracted or congenitally missing teeth once full jaw bone maturation occurs (usually around 18 years of age for girls and slightly later for boys). We are sensitive to the cosmetic concerns that children and teens have and are happy to see children as soon as a problem is identified; early diagnosis and surgical planning will help these young patients get timely restorations as soon as physically possible.
- Existing Medical Conditions—If you can have routine dental treatment, you can generally have an implant placed. However, there are certain medications and conditions that require special attention. Our surgeons are very attentive to the implications of these situations on dental implant use. A thorough discussion of your specific concerns/conditions will occur during your initial consultation.
- Smokers—Although smoking slightly lowers the success rates of implants, it does not eliminate to possibility of getting them. Our physicians will review these lifestyle concerns with you to make sure that you have the greatest chance at successful dental implant use.
- Gum Disease, Bone Loss, or Problem Teeth—Bone loss and periodontal disease are very common among implant patients. With proper oral care, almost all implants placed in patients who have gum disease have been successful. Inadequate bone is a common occurrence in patients who have had long-term missing teeth. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons utilize specialized treatments such as bone grafting to safely and securely place the implant in the bone.
Dental Implants Are a Team Effort
Dental implants require advanced planning and coordination between your primary dentist and your oral & maxillofacial surgeon. At your initial consultation, all of your restoration options will be reviewed. Together, you, your dentist, and your surgeon will develop a personalized plan for your dental implants. Many patients need only basic x-rays prior to implant placement, while others require 3-D x-rays, models, and surgical guides. After your implant is placed, you will need to wait 6-16 weeks for it to fully fuse with your jaw bone. In many cases, your dentist can fashion a temporary restoration for this time period. You will have several visits with the oral surgeon during this waiting period to insure that proper healing occurs. After the implant fully integrates, either your surgeon or your referring dentist will place your final abutment. The restorative dentist will place the permanent restoration. Our implant team stays in close contact with you and your dentist to make sure everyone understands what needs to be done to insure a successful outcome.
If you have questions or concerns, or wish to speak with one of our oral/maxillofacial specialists, then please contact our staff at Santa Rosa Oral Surgery, or set up an appointment by clicking here.