To provide you with a better understanding of dental implants, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to dental implants are discussed.
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The educational material provided in this section gives you important information about your how dental implants replace missing natural teeth, your treatment options, the treatment process and the restorative phase of your tooth replacement.
The Dental Implant multimedia information session available below provides audio and visual information that is also available in text form below. Â Please be sure to review either or both forms of education about dental implants before your consultation with Dr. Bailey at our Fredericksburg, VA office.
Smile, Eat and Enjoy...
Usually, when you lose a tooth, it is best for your oral health to have it replaced. Missing teeth can affect your "bite" as well as your ability to speak and chew. Their loss can increase the burden on your remaining teeth and can cause muscle pain in your jaws and headaches. And of course, losing a tooth can affect your appearance.
The good news is that, most of the time, replacing a missing tooth is not an emergency. You have time to consider what replacement option is best for you and to make an informed decision. The following information reviews your general treatment options.
If you are missing one or more teeth and choose to have it or them replaced, several treatment options are available.
If you are considering dental implants, your mouth will be examined thoroughly and your dental and medical history will be reviewed to ensure that dental implants are appropriate for you. Dental x-rays and, frequently, panoramic (or complete) x-rays of your jaws will be taken to evaluate your jawbone and to determine if it will accommodate implants. Occasionally, more detailed information is required and can be provided by special x-rays. They will help determine if additional tests or procedures are needed to place your implants properly.
The best way to describe a dental implant is to compare it to a real tooth. A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown. The part of the tooth that you see and eat with is called the crown. Beneath the crown is the root, which anchors the tooth through the gum tissue to the jawbone. When you lose a tooth, you lose both the root and the crown. To replace a tooth, we first have to replace the root. Essentially, a dental implant is a new root. This titanium root is fitted into a socket that we create in your jaw, replacing the lost root of your natural tooth.
Dental implants come in various shapes and sizes and have different types of surfaces. The actual implant selection will depend on a variety of factors related to your specific treatment needs and the most appropriate one(s) will be used. Once an implant has been placed in the jaw, the bone around the implant will need to heal for two to six months, depending upon how hard the bone is. When this initial phase of healing is completed, a support post called an abutment will be placed into the implant itself and then a new crown will be placed on top. If all of your teeth are missing, a variety of treatment options are available to support the replacement teeth.
Usually, the office procedure to place a dental implant takes about an hour for one implant and no more than two or three hours for multiple implants. The placement process consists of the following steps:
For a brief narrated overview of the dental implant process, please click the image below. It will launch our flash educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about dental implants.
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After the implant is placed, the area will need to heal for as little as six weeks or as long as six months. How long your mouth will need to heal will be determined by a variety of factors. Follow-up care (one to four appointments) is usually needed to ensure that your mouth is healing well and to determine when you are ready for the restorative phase of your treatment.
The dental work required to complete your treatment is complex. It is, however, considered more comfortable and more pleasant than conventional dental care. Frequently, most of the work can be done without using even local anesthesia.
Your restorative treatment is provided by your general dentist. Â It begins with specialized impressions that allow us to produce a replica of your mouth and implants. "Bite" records will also be made so that we see the relationship of your upper and lower jaws. With this information, the abutments (support posts) that attach your replacement teeth to your implants can be chosen or made. Various types of abutments exist. Frequently, we can use "off the shelf" abutments. Other times, custom abutments must be made of gold or a tooth-colored ceramic material. As you can imagine, these custom-made abutments add to the cost and treatment time involved. Which abutment to use is a decision that often cannot be made until after healing is complete and impressions have been made.
The number of appointments and the amount of time required for each appointment is different for each patient. No two cases are exactly the same and regardless of the number of teeth replaced, the work must be completed with great precision and attention to detail. If you are having only a few teeth replaced, as few as three short appointments may be required. Between appointments, time is needed to complete the necessary lab work to make your replacement teeth.
If your final restoration is a removable denture, you will need to come to as many as five office appointments (although it may be fewer) over the following several months. During these appointments, a series of impressions, bites and adjustments will be needed to make your new teeth as well as the custom support bars, snaps, magnets, or clips that will secure your teeth to the implants. During this period every effort will be made to make certain you have comfortable temporary replacement teeth.
In general, once your implants are placed, you can expect your treatment to be completed anywhere from two to 12 months. For these reasons, it is difficult to predict exactly how much the restorative phase of your treatment will cost, although you should receive a reasonable estimate of costs. It also is difficult to give you a specific timeframe for completion of your treatment until after the implants are ready for restoration. Â Before you proceed with any phase of implant supported tooth replacement, talk with your general dentist as well as Dr. Bailey to better understand your comprehensive treatment plan.