Dental implants 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. The implants are tiny titanium posts which are placed into the jaw bone where teeth are missing. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. In addition, dental implants can help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration which occurs when teeth are missing.
Dental implants are changing the way people live! With them, people are rediscovering the comfort and confidence to eat, speak, laugh and enjoy life.
Evaluation for Dental Implants
If, like many others, you feel implant dentistry is the choice for you, we ask that you undergo a dental/radiographic examination and health history. During these consultation visits, your specific needs and considerations will be addressed by either Dr. Tatum and Dr. Hayes, or by an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon referred by our practice. Your questions and concerns are important to us and our team will work with you very closely to help make your procedure a success.
Surgical Advances in Dental Implants
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Drs. Tatum and Hayes are able to place single stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require a minimum of six weeks of healing time before artificial teeth are placed. There are even situations where the implant can be placed at the same time as the tooth extraction – further minimizing your number of surgical procedures.
Dental implant placement is a team effort between a periodontist and a restorative dentist. Drs. Tatum or Hayes performs the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting if necessary. The restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.
Dental Implant Procedure
Dental implants are metal anchors, which act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jaw bone. Small posts are then attached to the implant, which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, dental implants are placed within your jaw bone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums, gradually bonding with the jaw bone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. At the same time, your restorative dentist designs the final bridgework or denture, which will ultimately improve both function and aesthetics.
After the dental implant has bonded to the jaw bone, the second phase begins. The surgeon will uncover the implants and attach a small healing collar. Drs. Tatum or Hayes can then start making your new teeth. An impression must be taken. Then posts or attachments can be connected to the implants. The replacement teeth 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.