What are Dental Implants?

The ability for a replacement tooth to look, feel, and function like a natural tooth belongs to dental implants alone. Other tooth replacement methods, such as bridges and full and partial dentures, provide satisfactory results, but only dental implants replace an entire tooth, from the implant screw that mimics tooth roots to the final crown that is seen above your gumline.

The implant screw is made of titanium which has the capacity to fuse with your jawbone through a process called osseointegration. Once we have expertly placed the implant, it begins fusing with bone and tissue, forming a solid attachment. We place the final restoration when the healing period of a few months is complete.

In addition to looking like natural teeth, dental implants function like natural teeth, from the artificial root to that of the crown. A secure implant helps to keep neighboring teeth stabilized and in place.

One of the biggest advantages of getting dental implants is the way in which the titanium post becomes part of your jawbone and prevents it from deteriorating, a common result of tooth loss. Implants allow you to chew which provides movement that bulks up the

jaw, keeping it healthy.

Placing Your Dental Implant

We use advanced technology to take impressions that guide us as we precisely place the implant and then carefully craft the final crown. This allows us to oversee each part of the treatment and ensure you’re receiving superior care throughout the entire dental procedure.

First, we place the implant (a small titanium screw) in your jawbone. We use computer-guided implant surgery which ensures the highest level of dentistry: extreme accuracy and optimal, long-term results.

Next, we wait for the bone and tissue around the implant to heal.

Upon completion of the healing period, we secure an abutment to the implant which will connect to the final restoration. Finally, we place the final crown, bridge, or denture.

Just give us a call if you would like to set up a consult!

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After a tooth is extracted, if the walls of the socket are very thick, they will usually fill naturally with bone in two to three months. However, when the walls of your socket are very thin (such as in your upper and lower front teeth), this type of healing will not be as predictable.

In these situations, a bone graft is often placed at the time of tooth extraction to help your body fill in the empty socket with bone. This step will maintain the width and volume of bone you will need for implant placement several months later.

There may also be inadequate bone for implant placement if your tooth was removed many years ago and your bony ridge is extremely thin. In this case, a bone graft can be placed next to the thin bone and allowed to heal for up to six months. After the graft has fused to your pre-existing bone, the ridge will be re-entered and the implant placed.

Bone grafting is usually a relatively comfortable office procedure. Many different bone-grafting materials are available, including your own bone.

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What are Wisdom Teeth?

Third molars are commonly referred to as wisdom teeth. They are usually the last teeth to develop and are located in the back of your mouth, behind your second molars.

Their development is usually completed between the middle teenage years and early twenties, a time traditionally associated with the onset of maturity and the attainment of wisdom.

Why Should I Extract My Wisdom Teeth?

If you do not have enough room in your mouth for your third molars to fully erupt, a number of problems can happen. Impacted wisdom teeth should be removed before their root structure is fully developed. In some patients it is as early as 12 or 13, and in others it may not be until the early twenties. Problems tend to occur with increasing frequency after the age of 30. Some of the possible problems related to not removing your wisdom teeth include:

  • Infection - The most frequent clinical problem we see is pericoronitis, (a localized gum infection). Without enough room for total eruption, the gum tissue around the wisdom tooth can become irritated and infected, resulting in recurrent pain, swelling, and problems with chewing and/or swallowing.

  • Cyst Formation - Non-infectious diseases may also arise in association with an impacted wisdom tooth. Cysts are fluid-filled “balloons” inside the jaw bone that develop as a result of impacted teeth and slowly expand destroying adjacent jaw bone and occasionally teeth. They can be very difficult to treat if your wisdom teeth are not removed in your teenage years. Although rare, tumors can be associated with the delayed removal of wisdom teeth.

  • Possible Crowding - Impacted wisdom teeth may contribute to crowding of your teeth. This is most noticeable with the front teeth, primarily the lower front teeth and is most commonly seen after a patient has had braces. There are a number of factors that cause teeth to crowd after braces or in early adulthood. Retained, impacted wisdom teeth may be a contributing factor. Unless you have an active problem when you see the oral surgeon, the reason for removal is primarily to prevent long-term damage to your teeth, gums and jaw bone.

  • Damage to Adjacent Teeth - If there is inadequate room to clean around the wisdom tooth, the tooth directly in front, the second molar, can be adversely affected resulting in gum disease, bone loss around the tooth, and/or decay.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Although most people develop and grow 32 permanent adult teeth, many times their jaws are too small to accommodate the four wisdom teeth. When inadequate space prevents the teeth from erupting they are called impacted wisdom teeth. This indicates their inability to erupt into the proper position for chewing and cleaning.

We will need to see you for a consultation to determine if you will benefit from wisdom tooth removal. A special x-ray of your mouth and jaws (panorex) will be taken to determine if your wisdom teeth are impacted, if there is room for them to erupt, and how difficult it will be to have them removed. Here are the types of impaction:

  • Soft Tissue Impaction - There is not enough room to allow the gum tissue to retract for adequate cleaning of the tooth.

  • Partial Bony Impaction - There is enough space to allow the wisdom tooth to partially erupt. However, the tooth cannot function properly in the chewing process, and creates cleaning problems, among others.

  • Complete Bony Impaction - There is NO space for the tooth to erupt. It remains embedded in the jaw bone or if even partially visible requires complex surgical techniques for removal. The impacted wisdom tooth may also be in an unusual position and difficult to remove. This situation can also arise when the shape or size of the jaw bone and other facial structures make removal of this tooth significantly more complex.

What will I feel like after my wisdom teeth are removed?

On the first day after wisdom teeth removal surgery, you may experience some minor bleeding and pain. You should cover your pillowcase with something so that you don’t get any blood on it. Each individual’s reaction to surgery varies, and the sensation of pain can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. A variable amount of swelling can be expected following the surgery. This swelling usually peaks on the second day and should begin resolving on the third day. You can limit the amount of swelling you will have by using ice for the entire first day. The more ice you use the first day, the less swelling you are likely to have on the second day.

Please remember to put ice on the first day even if it is somewhat uncomfortable to have the cold next to your skin. On the third day, you will notice that your jaw muscles are stiff, and it is difficult to open your mouth normally. You can apply moist heat to your face on the second and third day allowing your muscles to relax more and open wider.

Most of the time you will want to limit your activities for a few days. We ask that you follow your post-operative instructions closely. Doing so will make you as comfortable as possible during the first few days following your procedure. Please allow time for your body to begin healing before resuming an active social, academic, or athletic schedule. Most patients feel like they are over the hump and on their way to recovery in 3 to 5 days. 

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