Dental implants are metal anchors placed in the jaw bone underneath the gum tissue to support artificial teeth where natural teeth are missing. Unlike other types of tooth replacement, such as removable dentures or fixed bridges that are cemented to remaining teeth, dental implants are actually placed into the jaw bone under the gum tissue.
These implants are usually made from titanium, which is readily accepted by the body,
and artificial teeth that look like natural teeth are then attached to the implants. Accepted by the
American Dental Association, dental implants have been used for many years, and hundreds of thousands have been placed. Due to a phenomenon known as “osteointegration”, meaning that bone actually attaches itself to the implant, these anchors provide a strong foundation that allows people with missing teeth to chew efficiently and comfortably.
Who Needs Implants?
Anyone who is missing teeth and can benefit from increased chewing efficiency, and improved appearance or speech, is a candidate for dental implants.
Implants can be the solution when it has become difficult or impossible to wear a removable denture. Portions of the jaw that are missing due to an accident, disease, or birth defect can often be reconstructed using implants.
You are a candidate for dental implants if:
You have enough jaw bone, and dense enough bone, to secure the implants.
You do not have a disease or condition that interferes with proper healing after implant surgery (e.g. uncontrolled diabetes, or radiation/chemotherapy for treating cancer)
A discussion with Dr. Flugrad and restorative dentist (the dentist who will make your new teeth) will determine if you are a candidate for dental implants.
Implant Surgery: The placement of endosteal dental implants requires two different surgical procedures. In stage 1 surgery the implants are placed in the bone. In stage 2 surgery, which takes place after osteointegration is complete and the submerged implants are solidly anchored in bone, the fixtures are uncovered and special posts called “abutments” are attached to the implants. These abutments project above the gumline into the mouth, and the final artificial teeth will be fitted onto them.
When the gum tissues have completely healed after Stage 2 surgery, you are ready to visit your restorative dentist and begin fabrication of your new artificial teeth. Your dentist will make impressions of your mouth, and bite registrations that record the way your jaws fit together, and then the impressions are used to make models of your jaws and any remaining teeth. Your artificial teeth will be made based on these models.
Your artificial teeth (called “restorations or a prosthesis”) will be either removable, fixed or a combination of both.
Risks and Complications:
Dental implants surgery has a high rate of success, but as with any surgical procedure, certain side effects or complications are possible. You should understand these before you consent to implant surgery.
Swelling is a normal reaction to any surgical procedure and the amount of swelling depends on how extensive the surgery was. Normal swelling should peak within about 48 hours, and then gradually subside.
Bruising occasionally develops in areas close to the surgical site. Any discoloration from bruising should disappear within a few days.
Moderate pain is common for 24-48 hours following surgery, and pain medication is required.
Trismus, or stiffness of the jaw muscle, may be caused by swelling following surgery. As the swelling decrease, trismus should disappear.
Infection is very rare following implant surgery, but occasionally an infection can occur. If fever, persistent swelling/pain or pus develops following surgery, contact our office.
There is always a potential that an implant may fail. This can be caused by a number of factors; among them are rejections by the body or inadequate maintenance by the patient following surgery.
Injuries can potentially occur to adjacent teeth and roots, filling or bridgework.
Loss or alteration of nerve sensation, resulting in numbness or a tingling sensation in the lower lip, tongue, cheek, chin, gums or teeth is rare but can occur if implants are placed in the lower jaw and a nearby nerve is irritated. Usually this is temporary, although in very rare cases it can permanent. Every precaution is taken by Dr. Flugrad to avoid these nerves.
Sinus complications, such as drainage or pain (sinusitis), occasionally occur if implants are placed in the upper jaw and the sinuses become involved. This may or may not require further treatment, but any sinus symptoms should be reported to Dr. Flugrad.
Bleeding can be expected following any type of surgery, but it should be easily controlled and consist of occasional oozing during the first 24-48 hours.
TMJ (Jaw Joint) pain or abnormal function is rare following surgery, but this can occur. If it does, further treatment may be necessary.
Bone loss is rare, but may occur around the implant if proper hygiene is not maintained or if excessive stress is placed on the implant.
Jaw Fracture – In very rare cases the manipulations required for placement of the implants in the lower jaw can fracture the jawbone, particularly if the jaw is thin. X-rays will reveal the location of the fracture, and Dr. Flugrad can treat the problem.
Payment for Services:
If you have health insurance, make sure you read your medical and dental insurance policies or check with your insurance representative to determine if your plan will cover dental implants procedures before you begin treatment.
We can send a pre determination to your insurance carrier prior to treatment to verify if they will cover any portion of the surgery.
A deposit of