Animated video of surgical dental implant placement
Implants are designed as a substitute for the root of a missing tooth. The crown that is attached to the implant looks and functions like a natural tooth.
What Are Implants?
Dental implants are tiny titanium anchors, which are surgically placed into the jawbone. Small posts called “abutments” are then attached to the implant, and protrude through the gums. Abutments provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
Implants can help preserve facial structure by preventing bone deterioration which occurs when teeth are missing. Single implants are easier clean than some other restorations, and feel and function more like natural teeth.
Implants can also provide extra stability for dentures. Implant-retained dentures fit more snugly and comfortably than regular dentures. For more about implant-retained dentures click here.
In some cases it may be appropriate to use implants to support a bridge. For example if a patient is missing three teeth in a row, implants may be placed at either end of the gap. Then a bridge can be placed on the supporting implants. Implant-supported bridges are not removable.
Am I a Candidate for Implants?
Implants are a great treatment option, but they are not for everyone. If you think implants are the right choice for you then we will do a preliminary consultation, which includes taking a CT scan of your jaw. The CT scan shows the bone density and height, and exact location of the nerves. We will also go over your health history thoroughly to determine if there are any specific concerns that may be a factor in a successful implant placement.
While Dr. Maxfield does place many implants, there are some cases that we will refer to a specialist. Your questions and concerns are important to us, so even if we refer you to a specialist, we will do everything we can to make sure your questions are answered!
For most patients, dental implants involve three appointments: two surgical procedures and a separate visit to place the final crown.
First, implants are placed into the jawbone. For four to five months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums, gradually integrating with the jawbone.
After the implant has integrated with the bone, the second phase begins. Dr. Maxfield will use a laser to uncover the implant and attach a small healing cap. We will take impressions of the exposed top of the implant and send them to the lab.
It will take the lab two weeks to make the crown. At that point Dr. Maxfield will remove the healing cap and attach the abutment and crown to the implant.
Hygiene for Implants
Implants do not decay like natural teeth can, but it is possible to develop gum disease around an implant. So it is important to continue caring for implants the same way you would care for natural teeth: brush twice a day and floss nightly!