Citadel Oral & Facial Surgery

Dental Implants

Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth which look, feel and function like natural teeth. If you have lost teeth you can regain the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that your teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.

What are Dental Implants?

The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts, which are inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. Once surgically placed, the bone bonds with the titanium (a process called ‘integration’), creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts are then attached to the implant, which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for the artificial replacement teeth.

Implants also help preserve facial structure by preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.

The Surgical Procedures

For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures or ‘stages’. First, implants are placed into your jawbone. For the first two to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. Each patient and circumstance is different, which is why this healing time is variable. You should be able to wear a device with a temporary teeth or dentures and eat a soft diet during this time.

After the implant has bonded, or ‘integrated’, to the jawbone, the second stage surgery occurs. Your Citadel surgeon will uncover the implants and attach small posts, which will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. This is a very minor procedure that will result in posts that protrude through the gums. When the final artificial teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure usually takes four to eight months, but may vary according to the circumstances. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.

Who actually performs the implant procedures?

Implants are a team effort between an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and a Restorative Dentist, which may be your own general dentist or a specialist. While our surgeons perform the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions and bone grafting if necessary, the restorative dentist plans, makes and fits the permanent prosthesis (the artificial teeth or denture). Your dentist will also make any temporary prostheses 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 multiple teeth and may require only two or three implants.

A complete dental prosthesis (fixed bridge) replaces all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended.

A removable prosthesis (overdenture) attaches to a bar or ball in socket attachments, whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by the dentist.

Surgical and Technological Advances

Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Citadel surgeons are sometimes able to place single stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do typically require a minimum of eight to twelve weeks of healing time before the final artificial teeth are placed. There are even situations where the implants can be placed at the same time as a tooth is removed. These are called immediate implants, and their obvious advantage is further minimizing the number of surgical procedures and the total treatment time significantly.

Advances in dental implant technology have even made it possible, in select cases, to extract teeth, place the implants, and attach the artificial teeth all at one visit. This procedure, called ‘immediate placement and loading,’ greatly simplifies the dental implant process. Another exciting advance is something called guided surgery. This technique incorporates the latest computer software and x-ray technology to first plan and perform the implant surgery in a very precise way on the computer. Then custom guides are made by the computer to be used during the actual dental implant surgery. The surgery time is greatly reduced, and the accuracy is greatly increased.

Citadel’s surgeons pride themselves in staying abreast of the latest proven techniques in dental implant surgery by maintaining a high level of continuing education courses.

Why dental implants?

Once you learn about dental implants, you finally realize there is a way to improve you life. When you lose 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 renewed self-confidence and peace of mind.

A Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, developed this concept for oral rehabilitation more than thirty-five years ago. With his pioneering research, Dr. Branemark opened the door to a lifetime of renewed comfort and self-confidence for millions of individuals facing the frustration and embarrassment of tooth loss.

Dental Implant FAQ
Why would you select dental implants over more traditional types of restorations?

There are several reasons. Removing a denture or a 'partial' at night may be inconvenient, not to mention that dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and rather embarrassing. Next, why sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge a space? Preparing the adjacent teeth for a bridge can result in requiring root canals and possibly even loss of these teeth. Furthermore, when teeth or implants are not present, the jaw bone in that area will gradually shrink away, which can seriously complicate or in some cases even prevent the ability to have any treatment in the future. Lastly, with this bone loss that occurs the support for the facial tissues diminishes and can result in collapse of these tissues with an unnatural aged appearance.

Are you a candidate for implants?

If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history reviewed. If your mouth is not ideal for implants, ways of improving the outcome, such as bone grafting, may be recommended.

What type of anaesthesia is used?

The majority of dental implants and bone grafting can be performed in the office under local anaesthesia. Sometimes I.V. sedation may be your preference, and occasionally for larger cases you may even choose or your surgeon may recommend general anaesthesia.

Is anything special needed when the tooth to be replaced is extracted?

Yes. You need to make sure any time you have a tooth removed and there is even the slightest chance of a future implant that you inform your surgeon. Very gentle and particular techniques and instruments need to be used in order to preserve all possible bone surrounding the tooth in order to maximize your odds of successful future implant therapy. Also, you may wish to consider 'socket grafting', which is a technique that preserves the available bone structure for future implants. This can be particularly important for the more visible front teeth, or if there may be a significant delay between tooth extraction and implant placement.

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 as described by your restorative dentist and keeping regular appointments with your dental specialists.

Please review our section on post-operative instructions.