Services

Dental Implants

Dr. Wright and Dr. Redd believe in the team approach to dental implants, they will work closely with your restorative dentist in developing a treatment plan around your specific needs.

Why You Should Consider Dental Implants

In the United States, it is estimated that almost 50 million people have missing adult teeth. Many others have replaced missing teeth with crowns, bridges, or dentures. Increasingly, another treatment option for missing teeth—the dental implant—is offering exceptional, esthetically pleasing results.

Implants offer a permanent solution for almost anyone with missing teeth.

An implant is a small titanium rod, surgically placed into the jawbone, that is usually textured to enable bone attachment. The implant functions as a natural tooth root. Once the implant has successfully merged with the bone, a crown(s) or a denture is placed over it in a later procedure.

You may be a potential implant candidate if you:

  • Have gaps or spaces between your teeth
  • Have teeth that have been missing throughout your life
  • Are missing one or more teeth
  • Are unhappy with the condition of your teeth
  • Are a denture wearer who experiences discomfort or inconvenience due to your dentures
  • Wear removable dentures and have a tendency to gag
  • Are embarrassed by the appearance of your teeth when you smile
  • Have difficulty eating
  • Experience pain caused by your teeth
  • Overcook your food to make it easier to chew
  • Have teeth that appear to be loose
  • Feel that missing teeth have affected your appearance, food choices, self confidence, comfort, or oral health

Increasingly, people from all walks of life are taking advantage of the benefits offered by dental implants.

Types of Dental Implants

The Structure of Your Mouth

The bones in your mouth stabilize your teeth. The maxilla, or upper jawbone, and the mandible, or lower jawbone, can shrink when teeth have been lost or removed. When bone shrinks and there is not enough support, surrounding teeth can become loose and dentures have a difficult time staying in place. Implants are providing an excellent solution to these problems because they offer stability and support.

Single-tooth Implants

As more and more patients accept treatment for dental implants, single- tooth placements have increased dramatically and are increasingly the standard type of implant placement. In this procedure, an implant replaces a single tooth. Today, crowns can be developed that almost perfectly match your natural tooth.

With implants, dentists no longer have to perform numerous procedures to try to save a single tooth while risking other teeth. A single-tooth implant is the perfect solution to this problem.

Implant-retained Dentures

Patients with dentures often report discomfort because their dentures are not stable and irritate the gums. Because dentures rest on top of the gums and bones of the jaw, they wear down bone over time. Implants offer significantly increased stability because they are placed in and become attached to your bone. Dentures that are held, or retained, by implants are called implant-retained dentures. Because they are placed on implants, not on bone, dentures placed in this manner do not wear down bone.

Implant-retained dentures eliminate the need for suffering with ill-fitting dentures. Advances in dentistry have made this life-enhancing treatment possible. Implants are of significant value to those individuals who currently wear dentures and may be experiencing chronic problems.

Creating Supportive Bone

Today, there are many bone-grafting materials that can be used to add bone to your mouth if necessary. Once enough bone has been created, you can proceed with implant treatment.

Many problems associated with dentures such as poor fit, movement, and pain are a result of bone loss. The problem is that the dentures were designed to replace the missing teeth, but the missing teeth have caused the bone to shrink. Because of the effect the missing teeth had on the bone, the dentures have a hard time staying in place. This cycle is the cause of immense frustration for many denture wearers.

Dental Implants Offer Stability

Finding ways to prevent bone shrinkage has been a topic of research in dentistry for years. The dental implant has offered the best solution to the problem of retaining teeth in an area with less bone. The dental implant is so effective because it functions like a natural tooth root. Additionally, implants are permanent, you do not take them out each day. They are cared for much like your natural teeth and you still visit your hygienist for routine preventive care.

The General Implant Process

Evaluation

Your dentist identifies you for implant treatment and refers you to an implant surgeon who will perform a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan and perform the surgical portions of treatment.

Initial Surgery

An implant is placed into the jawbone. After a period of healing, the bone will attach to the implant which will function like the natural tooth root.

2nd Surgical Procedure

An abutment is placed on the implant so that a crown or an overdenture can be placed over it. An abutment is a small post that is attached to the implant and extends over the gumline.

Restoration

When the abutment has been placed and the surrounding gum has healed, a crown is placed on top which is the final replacement for the missing tooth.

Extraction and Bone Grafting

A socket is the name for the area in the bone in which a tooth is rooted. When injury or very advanced periodontal disease has caused severe deterioration to teeth and bones it may be necessary to reconstruct an entire tooth socket.

A tooth or teeth may have already been lost or may be so damaged that they need to be removed. Socket grafting is a procedure designed to rebuild the bone in order to allow tooth replacement by implant or bridge restoration. The bone surrounding a tooth socket is a special type which will deteriorate very quickly after a tooth is removed.

If a socket remains empty after a tooth is lost or extracted the accelerated bone loss in the area can also negatively impact any adjacent teeth. Therefore it is very important for health and esthetics to rebuild the socket as soon as possible after tooth loss or extraction.

The Procedure

Socket grafting will begin with the removal of a tooth if it has not already been lost. Any remaining root particles will be removed to leave a clean empty socket. Material will then be placed into that socket to fill it and build it into a firm foundation for reconstruction. We use various types of grafting materials. Most grafts cause your own bone to create new bone. Dr. Wright and Dr. Redd are well experienced at choosing the most suitable for each case.

There will usually be an extended healing time for the grafted bone to fully integrate with the existing natural bone. It is important to wait until this healing process is truly complete before continuing with the restoration in the area. When the new bone is well fixed then implants or bridgework can restore full oral function. Socket and other types of bone grafting have allowed the placement of implants for patients who would otherwise not be candidates for this type of restoration.

Dr.’s Wright and Redd are able to offer many different options for effective treatment planning in cases of severe tooth loss.

Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and Root Planing is usually the first treatment performed to remove tartar at/or below the gum line in order to combat periodontal disease. A professional periodontal maintenance only removes the soft sticky plaque above the gum line and is insufficient in treating gum disease. “Scaling” refers to the removal of plaque and calculus deposits above the gum line using special instruments called “scalers”. Patients with periodontal disease often have deep gum pockets which requires access under the gum line to remove these same deposits, a process referred to as “Root Planing”. Scaling and root planing is one of the most basic approaches for giving the mouth a fresh start at healing of the gum and bone around the teeth and the cornerstone of non-surgical periodontal therapy. For your comfort, a local anesthetic is typically used to “numb” up the gums to properly perform this procedure.

Following proper scaling and root planing, patients should expect little to no discomfort. A re-examination is then performed after approximately 6 weeks to check the response to treatment. At that time, long term management options are discussed. If non-surgical therapy was effective in eradicating the gum disease, patients then simply need to have periodontal maintenance treatments at 3-4 month intervals to keep their gums healthy.

Osseous Surgery

Osseous Surgery (Pocket Depth Reduction)

Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. When you have periodontal disease, this supporting tissue and bone is destroyed, forming "pockets" around the teeth.

Over time, these pockets become deeper, providing a larger space for bacteria to live. As bacteria develop around the teeth, they can accumulate and advance under the gum tissue. These deep pockets collect even more bacteria, resulting in further bone and tissue loss. Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted.

During this procedure, your periodontist folds back the gum tissue and removes the disease-causing bacteria before securing the tissue into place. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. This allows the gum tissue to better reattach to healthy bone.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

Reducing pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria are important to prevent damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease and to help you maintain a healthy smile. Eliminating bacteria alone may not be sufficient to prevent disease recurrence. Deeper pockets are more difficult for you and your dental care professional to clean, so it's important for you to reduce them. Reduced pockets and a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care increase your chances of keeping your natural teeth – and decrease the chance of serious health problems associated with periodontal disease.

Gum Grafting

Periodontal procedures are available to stop further dental problems and gum recessions, and/or to improve the esthetics of your gum line.

Exposed tooth roots are the result of gum recession. Perhaps you wish to enhance your smile by covering one of more of these roots that make your teeth appear too long. Or, maybe you’re not bothered by the appearance of these areas, but you cringe because the exposed roots are sensitive to hot or cold foods and liquids.

Soft tissue grafts can be used to cover roots or develop gum tissue which is absent due to excessive gingival recession.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

A soft tissue graft can reduce further recession and bone loss. In some cases, it can cover exposed roots to protect them from decay; this may reduce tooth sensitivity and improve esthetics of your smile. A beautiful new smile and improved periodontal health – your keys to smiling, eating, and speaking with comfort and confidence.

Crown Lengthening

Crown Lengthening is a surgical procedure that recontours the gum tissue and often the underlying bone surrounding one or more teeth so that an adequate amount of healthy tooth is exposed. Crown lengthening is often used as part of a treatment plan for a tooth that is to be fitted with a crown. This procedure provides the necessary space between the supporting bone and crown, preventing the new crown from damaging gum tissues and bone.

Cosmetic crown lengthening is done to remove an overgrowth of gum tissue that causes a “gummy” smile. It can improve appearance and may make teeth easier to keep clean.

Frenectomy

A frenectomy is simply the removal of a frenum in the mouth. A frenum is a muscular attachment between two tissues. There are two frena (the plural form of frenum) in the mouth that can sometimes obstruct normal function and are candidates for frenectomies. These frena are called the lingual frenum, which connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth, and the maxillary labial frenum, which connects the inside of your upper lip to your gums just above your upper two front teeth.

Periodontal Maintenance

If you have gum disease and have had scaling and root planing and/or periodontal surgery, the regular cleaning that will be recommended to you after those treatments are called periodontal maintenance therapy.

Initial treatment for periodontal disease usually involves scaling and root planing and sometimes periodontal surgery. Once the disease is brought under control, it is critical that periodontal maintenance therapy be performed on a regular basis by your hygienist.

Performing daily oral hygiene at home is a “must” but it is not enough to keep periodontal disease in check. Periodontal maintenance is more complex than a normal cleaning or “prophy”. Patients who have periodontal disease or a history or periodontal disease need a deeper cleaning because they have pockets, spaces between the teeth and gums, deeper than those found in a person with healthy gums. The procedure removes plaque and calculus from above and below the gum line it may also include site-specific scaling and root planing (if active periodontal disease is discovered) and polishing the teeth. You will need more frequent visits than other patients since the gum pockets and other changes due to periodontal disease make it more difficult for you to clean plaque from your teeth, especially below the gum line. Your dentist may recommend periodontal maintenance therapy every three to four months. As you progress, recommendations in appointment frequency may change.

Studies show that if you follow through with periodontal maintenance therapy you will do better than those who do not. If you do not continue with your maintenance, your periodontal disease will progress and you may need more aggressive periodontal treatment. You may or may not have pain as your periodontal disease gets worse but you will be more likely to lose some or all of your teeth.

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