Dental implants are the closest thing dentistry can provide to mimic natural teeth. Implants can be used to replace a single missing tooth, several missing teeth, or to provide stability for an implant-supported denture. Implants feel like your own natural teeth in that they are sturdy and secure allowing you to chew with confidence and without discomfort.
A dental implant is comprised of two main parts: the implant itself, which replaces the tooth root, and the restoration, which is the portion of tooth visible above the gum line.
Implants: An Alternative to Dentures and Bridges
While implants, bridges, and dentures all replace missing teeth, they do so in very different ways. Dentures are retained by a suction effect between the denture and the gum tissue. Powders and pastes can be used to strengthen the grip. Since the denture rests directly on the soft tissue and bone, over time, the bone will remodel underneath, compromising retention and resulting in a poorer fit. Bone loss can be quite dramatic in those who have worn dentures for many years. Implants, conversely, are securely integrated into bone and provide support for an overlying denture or single crown.
Bridges are still a common, useful, and viable option to replace missing teeth. They are secure and non-removable. The primary advantage of implants over bridges is that bridges rely on the adjacent teeth for support. A small amount of healthy tooth structure is removed to make room for the bridge attachment. This can compromise the health of the remaining teeth if proper hygiene is not followed. In contrast, implants do not involve adjacent teeth at all; they merely replace the missing tooth.
Dental Implants at Lake Mary Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry
The placement of a dental implant at our Lake Mary dental office takes about an hour. For most implant-placement surgeries, local anesthesia is all that is required—just like any other simple restorative procedure. Most patients report no pain associated with the surgical placement of the implants, and those who do only require an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen for the discomfort.
After your implant is placed, it will need to become secure within your jawbone, a process called osseointegration. If you have dense bone and healthy tissue, this process takes approximately three months. With grafting, porous bone, or when dealing with the sinus, the healing period may extend to six months or more. When the implant has secured itself to the bone, you will return to our office so Dr. Bonn can complete your treatment by adding a restoration to the implant.
Preparatory Implant Procedures
- Sinus Lift Augmentation: Often the sinuses will enlarge following loss of the upper back teeth. This can preclude placement of dental implants in the upper back areas of the mouth, since the sinus is an air-filled space and dental implants need to be surrounded by solid bone. A sinus lift augmentation/graft is a surgical procedure that restores the sinus cavity to its original size, and replaces the bone that has been lost as a result of the enlarged sinus. This new bone graft typically takes six to eight months to heal before the dental implants can be placed into the grafted bone.
- Autogenous Bone Grafting: Occasionally, the ideal areas for dental implants do not have sufficient bone quantity to support the implants. In these cases, it is often necessary to “borrow” bone from another area of your mouth and graft it into the deficient area. Often, the area of choice is from the chin or in the back of the jaw where your wisdom teeth used to be.
- Implant Site Development: When a tooth needs to be removed due to infection, it is not uncommon to have lost bone around the infected tooth. In these cases, various types of bone grafting can be done at the same time the tooth is removed to facilitate the placement of a dental implant at a later date.
When it comes to implants, experience counts!
In implant planning and treatment, it is imperative to maintain the existing bone structure, which necessitates the removal of the tooth with as little trauma as possible. Dr. Bonn utilizes specialized microsurgical tools to assist with this type of non-traumatic removal. He has taken more than 60 hours of surgical training specific to the placement of implants. In addition, he has more than 50 hours of surgical training in bone grafting and soft-tissue grafting imperative in building a good implant foundation.
With implants from Dr. Bonn, you can have an open discussion about your treatment and your various options so you can make the best decision for your own health. Contact our Lake Mary dental office for your complimentary implant consultation with Dr. Bonn!