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Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Dental Implants

How did we get implants?

Many decades ago the curious property of titanium was discovered. Bone forming cells(osteoblasts) were found to actually bond to the implants surface by laying down bone onto the implant. since then this information has been exploited and special implants have been made that maximize bone contact and are able to withstand biting forces. When allowed to remain undisturbed for several months the implant becomes "integrated" or literally will become a part of your jaw.  

What are implants?

Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures.  Implants provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances.

Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth (usually titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by an Oral & Maxillofacial surgeon. Crowns  specially designed to fit over these devices ultimately provide a tooth that functions almost identically to a natural tooth. The teeth attached to implants are very natural looking and often enhance or restore a patient’s smile!

Dental implants are very strong, stable, and durable and will last many years, but on occasion, they will have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear. They are not susceptible to dental caries(cavities) but can have gum disease problems if patients do not exercise good hygiene practices. 

Reasons for dental implants:

  • Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
  • Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space.
  • Restore a patient’s confident smile.
  • Restore chewing, speech, and digestion.
  • Restore or enhance facial tissues.
  • Support a bridge or denture, making them more secure and comfortable.

What does getting dental implants involve?

The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months.

X-rays and sometimes impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant.  Implants can be placed under Local anesthesia(numbing medication)only, Local anesthesia with Nitrous Oxide(numbing medication with laughing gas) or with Intravenous sedation(being put to sleep).No matter which anesthesia is chosen the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself onto the bone for up to six months.  Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the “post” that will hold the artificial tooth in place. For various reasons the post may not be added at the time the implant is placed to aid in healing of the implant. 

After several weeks of healing the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor.  Because several fittings may be required, this step may take one to two months to complete.  After a healing period, the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort to the patient.

You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed.  Good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new implant.

Dr. Gray places the complete line of Straumann and Nobel Implants.