When you lose a tooth or several teeth, whether it’s a new situation or something you have lived with for years, chances are you have never become fully accustomed to losing such a vital part of yourself. Dental implants can be your doorway to effectively replace what you have lost so that you can renew your self-confidence and regain peace of mind. These implants are truly changing people’s lives. We are honored to work with so many patients in the Greater Manchester area, working hard to suit their individual needs, and helping them restore that confidence.
Why dental implants?
Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation to support replacement teeth which look, feel and function just like natural teeth. The patient who has prematurely lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that their replacement teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can once again smile with confidence.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are small titanium posts which look like little screws. They act like artificial tooth roots and once surgically inserted into the jawbone, will support replacement teeth in many different forms (e.g.: individual crowns, multiple tooth bridges, “overdentures”, full arch sets of teeth).
Once surgically placed into the jawbone, the bone will intimately bond with the titanium on the surface of the implant. Small attachments called abutments are then connected to the top portion of the implants. These connect and support the replacement teeth. Implants also help preserve facial contours, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
The Surgical Procedure
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Dr. Hochberg and Dr. Abel commonly place dental implants in a single stage, as opposed to the traditional two stage, two surgery implant approach. These implants therefore do not require a second surgical procedure to uncover. A minimum of six weeks of healing time is necessary before permanent teeth can be placed on the implants. The time necessary before permanent teeth can be placed on dental implants depends on how tight the implants are in the bone at the time they are placed.
In some, but not all situations, dental implants can be placed at the same time as a tooth extraction – further minimizing the number of surgical procedures a patient must go through. In select cases a tooth, or several teeth, can be extracted and dental implants can be placed with crowns or dentures attached on the same day. This requires close coordination with your referring dentist. This procedure, known as immediate loading or immediate provisionalization greatly simplifies the surgical process.
When the entire upper or lower jaw has a set of teeth attached to the implants the same day they are placed, this is known as the “All-On-4” or “Teeth-in-a-Day ” technique. Again, this requires close coordination with your referring dentist before, during and after your implant surgery.
Who actually performs the implant placement?
Implants are a team effort between an Oral Surgeon and a Restorative Dentist. While Dr. Hochberg and Dr. Abel perform the actual implant surgery, as well as any tooth extractions and bone grafting necessary; your restorative dentist fabricates the permanent replacement teeth. Your dentist will also make any temporary teeth needed during the implant process.
What types of prostheses are available?
A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing tooth – each prosthetic tooth attaches to its own implant. A partial prosthesis (fixed bridge) can replace two or more teeth and requires at least two implants, sometimes more. A complete dental prosthesis (full arch prosthesis) replaces all the teeth in either your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants necessary for this latter option varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended by your dentist and surgeon. A removable prosthesis (“overdenture”) attaches to special connectors placed in the top portions of the implants, whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent, screwed or cemented in place and can only be removed by your dentist.
Dr. Hochberg and Dr. Abel perform most of their implant surgeries in a hospital-style operating suite, thus optimizing the level of sterility. Rarely, hospital implant surgery will be performed for patients who have special medical or anesthetic needs.
Why would you select dental implants over more traditional forms of tooth replacement?
There are several reasons: Removable partial dentures must be inserted every morning and removed every night. This may be inconvenient, not to mention dentures can slip, can be uncomfortable and can cause unnecessary embarrassment. Fixed partial dentures, or bridges, can provide stable sets of replacement teeth, but this comes with a price. The patient must accept that at least two, and sometimes more, teeth adjacent to the lost tooth space must be cut down, or prepared so that the bridges have something to connect to. Dental implants eliminate the need to cut down perfectly good teeth!
Are you a candidate for implants?
If you are considering implants, first your mouth must be clinically examined thoroughly by our doctors and your medical and dental history will be reviewed. Then, a radiographic evaluation must be performed and correlated with clinical findings. This will determine whether you have enough bony height, width and length to place, stabilize and maintain dental implants. If it is found you do not have enough bone for dental implants, our doctors will discuss ways of improving your individual situation, such as bone grafting, so that you too will be able to benefit from dental implants in the future.
Do implants need special care?
Once the implants are in place, they will serve you well for many years if you take care of them and keep your mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with both your regular dentist and your surgical specialists. You’ll be expected to follow-up at least yearly with your regular dentist to ensure there are no detrimental bony changes occurring around your implants.