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Dental Implants

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Dental implants are changing the way people look and live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth which look, feel and function like natural teeth. The dental implant mimics the form of the missing roots of your natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved they can smile with confidence.

To plan your case properly, Dr. Bohannan will perform a complete review of your medical history, your medications, any allergies and perform a complete physical examination of your dental condition. Radiographs may be taken if the ones previously supplied by your dentist are inadequate for a accurate diagnosis and treatment planning. In some cases, Dr. Bohannan may recommend conebeam radiography (a very limited CAT scan of the jaws) which reveals in detail the three dimensional presentation of your jaw architecture. The pre-operative work up usually includes getting impressions of your teeth to create models to help plan your surgery. Dr. Bohannan and his staff will explain the implant work-up to you at your consulation appointment. The work-up portion of your treatment plan is an essential step to ensure a good outcome.

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What are Dental Implants?

The implants themselves are tiny medical grade titanium posts, which are placed into the jawbone where the tooth or teeth are missing. They are surgically placed into the jawbone using a variety of different methods. The bone bonds (called osseointegration) with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts are then attached to the implant called abutments, which protrude through the gums. When all of this is successful, your implant will a solid foundation to anchor your final restoration and restore both your smile as well as your function. san mateo dental implants small implant picture  As a bonus, dental implants help to preserve the facial contours as they help prevent the normal loss of jaw bone over time that happens when a tooth or teeth are lost. Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.

The Surgical Procedure

For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves three procedures. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first three to six months 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 begins. Dr. Bohannan will uncover the implants and attach healing collar(s). These healing collars will create a natural appearing contour of the gum tissue that helps with hygiene and esthetics. This process takes about 3-6 weeks of healing. In some patients, this process is performed at the time of implant placement. Dr. Bohannan will discuss that option with you.

Next either Dr. Bohannan or your restorative dentist will begin the process of placing a standard abutment (a device that attaches to the implant that mimics a tooth that has been prepared for a crown), or an impression for a custom made abutment. This abutment which will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. These posts protrude through the gums. When the artificial teeth are placed these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure implant placement, healing collar placement, abutment placement or creation and the placement of the final restoration usually takes five to eight months. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.

In patients who need extractions and/or bone grafts to prepare the bony foundation for future implants, will have to expect a longer treatment plan. Removal of a tooth and placement of an immediate implant is possible is some cases. Dr. Bohannan will discuss that option with you if you are a candidate for an immediate implant. For most people, an extraction will be necessary prior to placing an implant. Normally, a tooth or teeth are extracted and a bone graft is placed into the socket site to preserve the socket's bone width and height. If a graft is not done, it is likely the site after an extraction will resorb and possibly cause a defect in the bone that could require more surgery to repair. Contour loss the bone following extractions without grafts, can lead to less than esthetic appearing results, difficult hygiene, compromised implant support, and can lead to premature loss of the implant. As such, to ensure the best foundation for the implants, small socket grafts are preformed and the procedure is called "alveolar ridge preservation." This typically has to heal about 4 months prior to placing an implant. The you begin the normal implant placement procedure.

In patients who need more advanced bone grafting techniques like sinus lifts, ridge augmentation, distraction osteogenesis, and other procedures, this can add 5-12 months to your treatment plan prior to placing implants. Dr. Bohannan can discuss your specific needs at your consulation appointment.

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