Understanding Dental Implants

Drs. Fava and Levine have placed thousands of dental implants. And there’s tons of information online. But based on some of the calls we get, we realize many patients don’t fully understand the basic concept of dental implants. While we stress that each patient’s dental implant experience is unique, and it’s sometimes hard to succinctly describe the process, the overall basics of dental implants may include:

Initial Evaluation

At your consultation, we’ll need to determine next steps, including ascertaining the health of your jaw bone, how many implants are needed and other factors to make sure you’re a candidate for dental implants.

Comprehensive Examination

We’ll want to understand your entire medical history and medications. Computer tomography 3-D scans (CT)  help us understand your individual needs such as sinuses and nerves that need to be avoided.

Extraction and Preparation

If any teeth need extracting, we will often do so the same day implants are placed. If we’ve determined that the jaw strength needs to be augmented, as one example, we may do a procedure called a bone graft, which builds up the jaw to make sure there’s enough bone for the implant post to properly integrate with your jaw.

Replacement Tooth Roots

In the absence of a natural tooth roots, we use titanium Straumann SLActive ® zirconia screw-like posts to integrate into your lower or upper jawbone. These become the replacement tooth roots that serve like anchors to hold the implants in place securely and safely. Titanium is the metal of choice. It’s more biocompatible than other metals and offers superior strength. An “abutment” is then screwed into the implant base.

Crowning Glory

The crown connects to the abutment and serves as the restored “tooth” portion of the implant that people see. The crown looks and functions like a natural tooth. Nobody would be able to tell the difference other than perhaps a dental expert. In some instances, your teeth can be totally restored in just one day. We’ve been doing SameDay Smile ™, for instance, since 1994.

Long-Term Success

As you heal, the process of “osseointegration” takes place. It’s the functional connection between the implant base and living bone tissue in your jaw. This natural process ensures you have a strong, long-lasting foundation for your implant.

Dental implants are great solutions for individuals who have one or more missing teeth and want to have a better aesthetic and functional solution than bridges and dentures offer. Please note: While the above is the general flow of implant treatment, Drs. Fava and Levine can often combine steps to make your treatment much shorter, getting you to your goal of dental health sooner. We can explain all of this in more detail when you come see us. Call us at 215-677-8686 today!