Dental implants are a high-tech alternative to conventional bridges and dentures. Dental implants can act and look like natural teeth. And, because they maintain bone mass, dental implants can help prevent additional tooth loss as well as the sunken facial appearance associated with missing teeth.
A dental implant restoration consists of a bio-compatible titanium screw and post topped by a dental crown, bridge or dentures. Dr. Nguyen surgically positions it into the jawbone where it replaces a natural tooth root. In a few months, the dental implant securely attaches to the bone (called “osseointegration”), allowing it to withstand biting and chewing forces just like a healthy, natural tooth. Dental implants are an important part of her practice as it allows patients with missing teeth to receive a beautiful, fully-functional smile again.
The most common indications for dental implant therapy are:
- Replacement of one or more missing teeth.
- Support of a non-removable “bridge” to replace multiple teeth.
- Support of removable full or partial dentures
- Patients who successfully pass a screening and evaluation can be considered as candidates for implant dentistry.
The primary limiting factor inherent in implant dentistry is the amount of bone available to receive and support the dental implant. If it’s determined that a patient does not have enough bone to support a dental implant restoration, bone grafting procedures may be considered. Heavy smoking and some medical conditions may preclude the use of implant dentistry.
What Happens At The First Dental Implant Appointment?
To determine the appropriate site for the dental implant placement, Dr. Nguyen uses a 3D skeletal digital imaging machine to create a digital impression of your bone structure. 3D skeletal digital imaging allows accurate placement for necessary pre-planning of the dental implant procedure. Impressions are taken of the mouth and then used by the dental laboratory to create a customized dental implant restoration.
What Happens At The Second Dental Implant Appointment?
At the second surgical appointment, Dr. Nguyen makes an incision to expose the bone at the dental implant site. She then prepares the site to receive the dental implant. Once the dental implant is secured, the gum tissue is sutured back over the dental implant.
The dental implant is left undisturbed for three to six months to allow it to osseointegrate with the bone. If the dental implant is in a visible area of the mouth, the patient may choose to wear a temporary prosthesis (dental crown) during the healing period. Dentures may be relined with soft liners to allow patients to comfortably wear them during the healing process.
What Happens At Subsequent Implant Dentistry Appointments?
Once the dental implants have been completely integrated with the bone, a post is attached to each dental implant. Dr. Nguyen then uses her cosmetic dental expertise to create the permanent tooth replacement.