Dental implants are the most ideal permanent replacement for missing teeth. Implants feel and function like natural teeth, allowing you the freedom to eat anything while enjoying a perfectly natural looking smile. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Jenkins, to learn about how implants could improve your smile.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are small titanium screws, which are surgically placed into your bone to act as a replacement for the missing tooth root. Due to the makeup of the titanium implant, your bone will essentially bond with the implant, creating a strong anchor for artificial teeth. A small post, called the “abutment”, is then attached to the implant. The abutment protrudes through the gums. A crown can then be attached to the abutment, to complete the process of giving you a natural looking tooth.
Who performs the implant procedure?
The replacement of a missing tooth or teeth with an implant is a team approach, involving the oral surgeon and the restorative dentist or prosthodontist. The first step is the placement of the implant. As an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Dr. Jenkins has extensive training, expertise, and skill in the placement of an implant, and the replacement of the bone, and soft tissue around the implant. After Dr. Jenkins has placed the implant, the restorative dentist will make and place the crown on the implant. You may already have a restorative dentist or prosthodontist, but if you do not, we will be happy to assist you in selecting one.
What is the surgical procedure?
The placement of an implant can involve one or two surgical procedures (one-stage, or two-stage). Most patients require a two-stage procedure. First, Dr. Jenkins places the implant in the correct position within your jawbone. For the first four to six months after surgery, the implants are beneath the gums while the bone heals and bonds to the implant. During this time you will be able to wear temporary dentures or other temporary tooth replacement options. Next, Dr. Jenkins will uncover the implant and attach a small post, called an “abutment”, which will protrude through the gums. The restorative dentist will then attach the crown to the implant, and you will be able to use the implant as you would a natural tooth.
Does it always take so many steps?
Some patients may be candidates to combine the steps of implant placement and restoration. In some cases Dr. Jenkins is able to place the implant the same day as the tooth is extracted. Additionally, in a “tooth-in-a-day” scenario, Dr. Jenkins, with the help of your restorative dentist, will remove the teeth, place the implant, and temporarily restore the teeth, all in one appointment. Dr. Jenkins Specializes in this area, and will be able to inform you of the risks and benefits of each treatment regimen, in order to provide you with the ideal treatment plan.
What kind of anesthesia is required?
Dental implants can be placed under local anesthesia, IV sedation, or general anesthesia. Although the procedure is relatively painless, the majority of patients choose to be put to sleep for a more comfortable procedure. Since Dr. Jenkins is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, he has extensive training in anesthesia. If you choose to, he can put you to sleep in his office and you can wake up comfortably and pain free with the implant in place.
What are my options to replace my teeth with implants?
The replacements for teeth that attach to the implant are called “prosthesis”. Since implants do such a great job of providing a solid base with which to replace teeth, there are multiple “prosthetic” options. The most simple prosthesis is a single prosthesis, or “crown”, which is attached to a single implant and used to replace one missing tooth. A partial prosthesis, also called a “fixed bridge” or “fixed partial denture” can replace two or more teeth and requires two or more implants. If you are missing all of the teeth in either the top jaw or the bottom jaw, then you can get a complete dental prosthesis, a “fixed bridge” or “complete fixed denture”. The complete dental prosthesis requires at least 4 implants. It is not removable by the patient, and is only removable by the dentist. If fewer implants are desired, some patients may opt for a removable prosthesis, or “over denture”, which attaches to two to four implants via a ball and socket, or bar and clip attachment. Dr. Jenkins and your restorative dentist will be able to counsel you on the best prosthesis to accomplish your goals.
Why choose an implant over a bridge or denture?
The advantages of an implant surpass those of a bridge, partial denture, or complete denture. If there is no implant or natural tooth in the bone to stimulate the bone, you will begin to have bone loss in the area, giving you an aged look, and decreasing the esthetics of your smile. After a tooth is lost, only an implant will keep the bone around it from deteriorating. Additionally, conventional bridges require that the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth be ground down in order to place the bridge. Partial, and complete dentures must be removed, cleaned, and often are mobile and uncomfortable in your mouth, which can limit your diet, and your confidence in your smile. Dental implants look, act, and feel like real teeth, enabling you to have the confidence you need to smile, and eat what you want.
Am I a candidate for implants?
Most patients with missing teeth are candidates for implants, however some may require preparatory surgeries, such as bone or soft tissue grafting, in order to better accommodate an implant. Schedule a consult with Dr. Jenkins to see if implants are right for you. With his extensive specialty training in implants, he will be able to determine the ideal treatment plan in order to have you confident in your smile again.