1. IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE DIFFERENT IMPLANT MANUFACTURERS?
All implants in use in the United States are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Originally, the only root form system available was the Branemark implant system originated in Sweden. Today, there are almost 500 implant companies in use on a daily basis. All of these companies are FDA approved and must meet very stringent requirements. Our dental team uses few different systems, choosing the best one for each particular case, to help to accomplish particular restorative goal.
2. WHAT ARE IMPLANTS MADE OF?
Implants are made of commercially and medically pure titanium or titanium alloy. This is the same metal that has been successfully used in hip implants for many years. It is inert and is not known to cause any type of rejection phenomenon.
3. HOW COMPLICATED IS THE SURGERY?
Traditional implant surgery is done in two stages. The first stage involves the placement of the implants into the available jawbone. This can be done with local anesthesia or dental sedation. It is complicated only in the sense that the surgery requires great precision. Every attempt is made to insure success. The room is set up similar to an operating room, the equipment thoroughly sterilized and the most modern techniques utilized. Stage two involves the uncovering of the implants after they have integrated. This can be accomplished with minor gum surgery or with a dental laser and is a relatively minor procedure. In both instances, minimal postoperative discomfort is noticed. You will be given the appropriated antibiotics and analgesics just as a precaution. Very definitive postoperative instruction will be given to you at the time of surgery. If you follow the guidelines, everything should proceed without a hitch.
4. CAN IMPLANTS BE REJECTED?
No! They are made of an inert metal which has no history of rejection by the body. They are not a living organ such as the lung or liver and therefore there is no rejection phenomenon. If failure should occur, and this is only a remote possibility, it is mechanical in nature and not due to rejection by the body. By the way, depending on the source you read, implants are anywhere from 85-95 percent successful depending upon certain factors such as implant location, amount and quality of bone etc. These factors will be evaluated before we place your implants.
5. IF I LOSE SEVERAL TEETH, DO THEY EACH HAVE TO BE REPLACED WITH A SEPARATE IMPLANT?
A. No. Although implants simulate the roots of teeth, biomechanical implants can be used to replace one or more teeth. This will depend upon the mechanical requirements of your chosen prosthesis. At your consultation we will discuss the various treatment alternatives and the type and number of implants that are needed in order to fulfill our treatment objectives.
6. WHAT ABOUT INFECTION AND COMPLICATIONS?
During the surgery every attempt is made to maintain a totally sterile field. This tends to minimize any potential for postoperative infection. Once again, we might prescribe the appropriate antibiotics as a precautionary measure. Once the implants have been engaged in your prosthesis, it is imperative for you to maintain scrupulous oral hygiene. Success very often depends on your cooperation and home care efforts.
7. WHAT TYPES OF RESTORATIONS CAN BE PLACED ON IMPLANTS?
The answer to this question depends upon your treatment objectives. This can vary from simple removable prostheses, using the implants for retention, to totally implant supported porcelain fused to metal crowns and bridges. Implant bridges can be either removable or fixed (not removable) depending upon the number of implants. We are now finally able to replace single or multiple missing teeth returning the dentition to a biologically healthy and esthetically pleasing state.
8. WILL I BE ABLE TO CHEW AND FUNCTION NORMALLY?
Yes. Once your implants have integrated, you will be able to function normally without any unusual sensations. Your chewing ability will really depend upon the type of prosthesis you have chosen.
9. HOW LONG IS THE ENTIRE IMPLANT PROCESS?
Dental implants take approximately 3-4 months in the lower jaw and 5-6 months in the upper to integrate. Once integrated, it takes several visits to several months to complete the restoration depending upon the complexity.
10. HOW MUCH BONE DO I NEED TO SUPPORT DENTAL IMPLANTS?
A. Before we do anything, we will take 3D CAT Scan to determine if you have enough bone to support the implants. Implants need to be placed entirely into the bone. Size of implants ranges 3.25-6 mm. Also, at least 1.5 mm of bone needs to surrounds implants. So, for successful treatment, 6.5-9 mm of bone thickness is necessary.
Besides bone width, bone hight needs to be considered. The shortest implants that we use are 10 mm. So, it needs to be at least 10-12 mm of bone to the nearest important vital structure, such as nerve or sinuses.
11. WHAT IF I DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH BONE?
Once tooth is lost, bone starts to resorb right away. In the first 6 month as much as 50 % bone melts away. To minimize bone desorption, once tooth is removed, immediate bone graft is recommended. This is called “site preservation” bone graft. It really helps to slow down the bone detrition.
Once bone is lost, different bone grafting methods can be used to build the bone back, such as guided bone regeneration, block grafting and titanium mesh grafting. This may use your own bone or artificial bone. Biological enhancers can greatly improve and accelerate bone healing.