What Are Dental Implants?
The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Time is allowed for bone to heal and grow around the dental implant. In many cases a temporary replacement tooth can be attached to the implant immediately after it is placed.
Small posts that protrude through the gums are then attached to the implant. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
The Surgical Procedure
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first 6 to 12 weeks following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. At the same time, your dentist is forming new replacement teeth. After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begin. Drs. Wolf, Perry and Gray will uncover the implants and attach small posts that protrude through the gums and will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. When the artificial teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. Most patients experience minimal to no disruption in their daily life.
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Drs. Wolf, Perry and Gray are able to place single stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require a minimum of six weeks of healing time before artificial teeth are placed. There are even situations where the implant can be placed at the same time as the tooth extraction – further minimizing your number of surgical procedures.Surgical Advances
Dental implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. Drs. Wolf, Perry or Gray performs the actual implant surgery and if indicated, the initial tooth extraction(s) and bone grafting if necessary. The restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.