The routine use of dental implants has revolutionized Prosthodontics and the way missing teeth are replaced. Dental implants have become the standard of care for the replacement of teeth. Dental implants allow a missing tooth or teeth to be restored to optimum function and appearance without invading or damaging any other teeth or tissues. People of all ages have enjoyed the benefits of dental implants.
Benefits of Dental Implants:
- Preserve youthful facial appearance
- Prevents the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing
- Restores natural biting and chewing ability
- Looks, feels, and functions like natural teeth
- Does not compromise adjacent teeth
- Increases comfort, stability, and security (eliminates the need for adhesive)
- Improves digestion
- Hygienic (cleaned like a natural tooth)
What are dental implants?
Dental implants have been used for several decades. A Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, developed this concept for oral rehabilitation more than 35 years ago.
Implants are manufactured "anchors" that look like cylinders or screws. They are artificial replacements for natural tooth roots. Implants can be surgically placed into upper and lower jawbone. They are made of titanium which is well suited to the human body. They attach to the jawbone and gum tissue to become a stable base for one or more custom artificial replacement teeth. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts (also called abutments) that protrude through the gums are then attached to the implant. These posts provide a stable connection for the artificial replacement teeth to the implants.
First, the surgery is preformed to place the dental implant. The surgery can take one to several hours depending on the number of implants placed. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. You will be able to wear your temporary appliance (crown, bridge or denture) and eat a soft diet during this time. Most implants require a second surgery in which a post (also called abutment) is attached to connect the implants to the replacement teeth. Sometimes the implant and post are already attached and are placed at the same time.
After the second surgery (if necessary) and complete healing of the gums which could take several weeks, the final step is begun. During this step, the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the dental implant. Because several fittings may be required, this step can take one to two months to complete.
The majority of dental implants and bone grafts can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, with or without sedation. Usually pain medications and, when necessary, antibiotics are prescribed. Your dental specialist will give you instructions on diet and oral hygiene.
Implants are a team effort between an implant surgeon and a restorative specialist. In most cases Dr. M. Randal Comeaux and Dr. Bryan S. Pearson perform the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions and bone grafting then Dr. Conrad F. Frey III fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. However, in some cases Dr. Frey performs the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions and bone grafting and makes the permanent prosthesis.
The dental specialists at Advanced Dental Designs always utilize state-of-the-art technology. Osstell meters make it possible not only to measure the initial implant stability, but also to monitor the development of osseointegration (implant to bone healing) over time.
The Osstell advantages
- Optimal restoration time
- Early warning of problems
- Continuous quality assurance
Computerized Planning, Designing and Fabrication
The process begins with a thorough work up to demonstrate exactly where your new teeth must be located to provide you with the best esthetic and functional reconstruction. Based on this diagnostic work up, a treatment plan will be developed to include CT scanning and virtual surgery. The newly designed teeth will be placed in your mouth when you get a CT scan, using a specific scanning protocol. Lafayette has a cone-beam scanner (iCAT) which is specific for dentistry and allows you to have a CT scan performed in a timely manner. This iCAT scan uses much less radiation compared to a conventional CT scanner. The temporary teeth will provide important information concerning the location of your bone in relation to the planned tooth position. The CT scan will be processed by our team of specialists to develop the best treatment plan for you. This technology allows for collaboration between both the restorative specialist and the surgeon. This merging of knowledge and experience achieves not only increased safety, but also a more precise implant placement with less postoperative discomfort, swelling and bruising. Sometimes a surgical guide is fabricated from the computerized treatment plan. This guide is very accurate and will produce perfect implant placement by guiding the implant in exactly the same position as determined by the computer planning.
iCat Scan with Planned Implants in Position
Computer Designed Surgical Guide
Dr. Conrad F. Frey III also utilizes state-of-the-art CAD-CAM computer planning to fabricate precision titanium components used in the final teeth replacements. This technology is used to make custom titanium bars for implant dentures and custom titanium and ceramic abutments for implant crowns.
CAD-CAM Design of Titanium Implant Bar Provided by the Laboratory
Titanium Implant Bar Laser Milled with Computer Technology
X-ray of Titanium Implant Bar