Dental implants are changing people’s lives. They provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth and can offer a welcome alternative to ill-fitting dentures or bridgework. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that the teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved.
Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing. When teeth are lost, the bone starts to melt away in this area. Over time severe bone loss can occur resulting in both functional and aesthetic problems. Dental implants can help to preserve bone that otherwise would have been lost.
With “traditional” restorations such as a bridge, the enamel on the adjacent teeth is cut off and these teeth are cut down to make enough of room for a cap. Over time the adjacent teeth may be compromised with leaking margins and recurrent decay and these teeth can be lost. So if you are replacing one tooth with a three-unit bridge, two perfectly good teeth can be put at risk. In essence, by doing a bridge instead of a dental implant, you are making a one-tooth problem a three-tooth problem.
The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts, gently inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing, to act as artificial roots. Upon placement, the bone bonds with the titanium creating a strong foundation for natural looking and functioning teeth.
Dental implants can be utilized to replace any number of missing teeth depending upon your needs. All dental implant surgery occurs in stages and involves several procedures. Because healing requires time for the bone to grow around the implant, the process may take many months. You can learn more about the dental implant system we use on BioHorizons® webpage.
What to expect?
Dental implants are small titanium posts that are placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing or require removal. Implants will either be placed at the time of tooth removal or following a short healing period. In some cases a temporary tooth, or teeth, may also be placed on the implant(s) that same day.
A number of factors are involved in choosing the most appropriate time to place and restore your dental implant. We encourage you to ask us or your general dentist about these options. In the end, the most successful and predictable approach will be used to help meet your dental implant needs.
In most cases, the dental implant requires a short healing period following surgical placement (usually 4-8 weeks) to bond securely with the bone (a process called osseointegration). Once integrated, we will select and deliver the appropriate components required for your dentist to restore the implant with a new crown/cap. Your dentist will then take a simple impression and have the lab fabricate a crown to be cemented at your next visit. You can then begin to chew, brush, and floss about this implant just as if it were your natural tooth.
Please contact us regarding a dental implant evaluation so that we may customize a treatment plan that will optimize your specific functional and cosmetic needs.
Your maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. 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. Since dental implants need bone to hold them in place, it is impossible to place them in this very thin bone.
Dr. Hagan may recommend a sinus graft or sinus lift graft if:
You are missing more than one tooth in the back of your jaw
You are missing a significant amount of bone in the back of your jaw
You are missing teeth due to a birth defect or condition
You are missing most of the maxillary teeth, but require support for dental implants
What to expect?
In sinus lift surgery, Dr. Hagan will enter the sinus from where the upper teeth used to be and insert donor bone into the floor of the sinus. 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.
A sinus augmentation is generally performed at Dr. Hagan’s office under local anesthesia. Some patients, however, may request oral or intravenous sedative medication as well.
If you receive oral or IV sedation, you will recover under careful supervision in our office until you are ready to be taken home. You will need to arrange for an escort to drive you to and from our office on the day of the operation. Upon discharge you will receive postoperative instructions, (link to Forms & Policies page) a prescription for pain medication, antibiotics if necessary and a follow-up appointment.
All of these options, as well as the surgical risks, will be discussed with you at the time of your preoperative consultation.
Dr. Hagan is formally trained in a hospital setting in IV sedation, airway management and intubation techniques. This also includes complete training in Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and Pediatric Advanced Life Support. Crystal Coast Oral & Facial Surgery follows all guidelines and protocols set forth by the state medical and dental regulatory body and our office is regularly inspected.
We strive to make your surgical experience as pleasant and stress-free as possible while maintaining the highest levels of safety.
Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies or is reabsorbed. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. Dr. Hagan may suggest a bone graft to prepare a more solid base for your dental implant.
Minor Bone Grafting
The most common bone grafting procedure is done to preserve the height and width of bone when a tooth is extracted in preparation for implant placement. It is very important when removing a tooth in an area of future implant placement to remove it with great care and to maintain most of the bone surrounding the tooth. The extraction should be performed by a surgeon experienced not just in removing teeth, but also in removing teeth with preservation of the surrounding bone. In addition to extraction with bone preservation, it is important to graft the socket with bone to provide a scaffold for bone growth within the socket.
Major Bone Grafting
Bone grafting is used prepare dental implant sites that have deficient volume due to previous extractions, gum recession, or injuries. The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or your own bone is used to augment the deficient site. Sinus bone grafts are also performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw. In addition, special membranes may be utilized that dissolve under the gum and protect the bone graft and encourage bone regeneration. This is called guided bone regeneration or guided tissue regeneration. These procedures are typically performed in the office with moderate sedation.
Major bone grafting is performed to repair large defects of the jaws. These defects may arise from a number of conditions but usually involve significant loss of jaw function. These defects are repaired using the patient’s own bone. This bone is harvested from a number of different sites depending on the size of the defect. These procedures are routinely performed in an operating room and require a hospital stay.