Do I need Dental Implants?
If you lose one or more teeth due to periodontal disease, or another cause, there is hope. Dental implants are changing the way people live! They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes.
The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts protrude through the gums and are then attached to the implant. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth. Dental implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
During your initial visit, Dr. Akimoto, Dr. Lwo or Dr. Zhu will conduct a full exam and address your specific needs and considerations. Your questions and concerns are important to us, and our team will work with you very closely to help make your procedure a success.
We will also discuss fees and insurance at this time. There are many types of insurance plans, and coverage for implants is varied. We will be happy to assist you in understanding your insurance benefits.
The Surgical Procedure
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first three to six months following the surgery, dental implants beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet at this time. At the same time, your restorative dentist designs the final bridgework or denture that will ultimately improve both function and aesthetics.
After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Drs. Akimoto, Lwo or Zhu will uncover the implants and attach a small healing collar. After two weeks your general dentist will be able to start making your new teeth. An impression must be taken. Then posts or attachments can be connected to the implants. The teeth replacements are then made over the posts or attachments. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months. Most patients do not experience any disruption in their daily life.
What Types of Prosthesis 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 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 (over denture) attaches to a bar or ball in socket attachments, whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by a professional.
Drs. Akimoto, Lwo and Zhu have received extensive training in Dental Implantology. Through continuing education, Drs. Akimoto, Lwo and Zhu are abreast of the most current information on implant dentistry.