Dental Implants

Dental Implant Presentation

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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Dental implants are changing the way people live! They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth, which 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 facial contours will be preserved. Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone loss that occurs when teeth are missing.

History

Implants are a proven way to replace missing teeth. The first implants were placed in Sweden in 1965 and since that time hundreds of scientific studies have shown them to be a highly reliable way of replacing teeth. Implants are generally made of titanium; a biocompatible metal, which has been used for decades to replace hips and knees, and repair fractured bones. Implants are shaped like small screws and function like the roots of teeth to support crowns. They can be used to replace single or multiple teeth. They can be used to anchor dentures or bridges.

The Treatment Sequence

The surgeon and the general dentist formulate the treatment plan.

The number of implants required depends on the amount of bone present in the jawbones and the type of restoration (i.e. single crown, bridge, or denture) that the implants will support. As a general rule each tooth missing requires one implant to replace it. In cases where all of the teeth are missing the minimum number of implants to replace the lower teeth is five. Six implants are required to replace all the upper teeth.

The Surgical Procedure

Usually one procedure is required to place the implant and the abutment (occasionally, a second procedure called an uncovering is required; Dr Hardy will discuss the need for this procedure at your consultation). The implant procedure involves placing the implant into the jaw. This procedure takes ~ hour per implant and may take longer if other adjunctive procedures such as bone grafting are necessary. The surgery is done in the office and can be done under IV sedation to make it a relaxing and comfortable experience. Occasionally, due to bone loss the jaw where the implant will be placed needs to be built up. This is called a bone graft and it restores the jawbone to its normal size and shape. In some cases, a crown may be placed on the implant the same day. Alternatively, a healing period of 2 4 months is required for the implants to fuse to the bone.

Uncovering / Abutment Placement

After a healing period or at the time of implant placement, a piece (called an abutment) which supports the crown is placed by Dr. Hardy or your dentist. This usually takes ~10 minutes in our office using local anesthesia and involves removing a small amount of tissue covering the implant. The abutment is screwed onto the implant. A healing period of one to four weeks is required before your dentist can begin making your crown or bridge.

The Recovery Period

For most patients there is minimal discomfort and swelling. Ibuprofen (Advil) is usually all that is necessary for pain relief. Most patients return to work within one to two days following surgery. A soft diet may be necessary for one to two weeks if many implants are placed. It is important that patients avoid chewing directly over the newly placed implants.

Instructions for Post Operative Care Following Dental Implants

It is essential for the early healing process that the following instructions are observed:

RINSES: Beginning the day after your surgery, rinse the mouth using the rinse prescribed to you. This is important for both healing and hygiene purposes. These rinses should be repeated after eating. It is important to rinse every time after eating. Continue brushing your teeth as usual.

DIET: A liquid diet may be necessary during the first three to seven days to avoid inadvertent food particles contaminating the wound. Your doctor will tell you when you may resume a normal diet. A list of dietary suggestions will be given to you after your surgery.

SMOKING: Avoid smoking for at least 72 hours following surgery, as this affects the healing process.

OLD DENTURES: May not be worn until refitting adjustments (relining) have been made. Insertion of dentures too early may jeopardize a successful healing process.

REST: It is always important to get plenty of rest with any surgery or illness.

DISCOMFORT: The amount and duration of pain one should expect generally is mild and short. If you are having more pain than can be controlled with an over-the-counter medication or your prescription medication, you should call the office immediately.

SWELLING: Swelling or bruising often occurs in varying degrees from patient to patient. Use ice packs at 30-minute intervals throughout the first 24 to 48 hours immediately following your procedure. To be most effective, the application of cold compresses should begin as soon as possible. Using the ice before you notice any swelling increases its effectiveness and minimizes the severity. DONT WAITuse the ice even if no swelling is noticeable.

BLEEDING: After your implants were placed, a gauze compress was placed on the wound and you were asked to keep your jaws closed firmly for 30 minutes. This is to help stop bleeding, and this compress may be changed when saturated and discontinued approximately four hours after surgery. Some oozing will continue and is to be expected. This is normal and is no cause for alarm. If these measures do not succeed, call our office.

ANESTHESIA: If you received an intravenous anesthesia, you may expect some soreness, swelling or discoloration at or around the injection site. This is of no consequence and gradually disappears. Also, do not drive or return to work for at least 24 hours.

ACTIVITY: Limit strenuous activities such as jogging and swimming for approximately two to three days following your procedure.

EMERGENCY CALLS: If you have a postoperative problem or question, call our office phone number, 802- 655-5090. If you have an after hours call of an emergency nature, call our office number and the answering service will contact Dr. Hardy.

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