For many patients, dental implants are the best option for replacing missing teeth. Winchester Dental is proud to offer the most modern implant techniques and technology for your comfort and convenience.
Why do patients need dental implants?
We frequently recommend implants when a patient is missing a tooth, or when we must extract a permanent tooth. When you are missing a tooth, you generally have four options:
- Choose not to replace the tooth
- Choose a partial appliance, such as a denture
- Choose a bridge
- Choose an implant
An implant is almost always the best choice, because it’s the closest thing to a natural tooth that we can provide. It remains fixed in your mouth, and you brush it, floss it, and use it to chew just as you would with your natural tooth.
One advantage of an implant is that when we place it in your mouth, we do not have to touch the teeth beside it; it is independent. This is one disadvantage of a bridge; it requires drilling on adjacent teeth for a proper connection.
Are there different kinds of dental implants?
Implants are primarily made of titanium or zirconium. At Winchester Dental, we only offer surgical-grade titanium implants.
Winchester Dental offers immediate implant placement. Can all implants be placed immediately?
The timing of implant placement depends on the patient’s health circumstances. We do immediate implant placement whenever we can because it saves our patients office visits, but this is always a clinical decision.
How does the implant process work when the implant is placed immediately?
- During the first appointment, we do a 3D scan or CBCT scan, and we use the scan to plan out the implant placement three-dimensionally.
- In a few weeks, the patient comes back, and we extract the tooth and preserve as much jaw bone as possible through an atraumatic extraction. Then we place the implant into the existing tooth socket with the help of the PRF process (which promotes healing) and bone grafting. This usually takes 40-90 minutes. At the end of the appointment, we determine how much initial stabilization we have achieved with the implant, and that tells us how long a healing period to allow. The healing period provides time for integration of the bone and the implant before we perform any other procedure.
- The last part of the process is the restoration (crown). Sometimes we can place a restoration within two to six months, but every case is different. A healthy diet and good oral hygiene helps promote the necessary healing. If the patient has a medical condition that will possibly delay or interfere with healing, we may recommend dietary supplements.
How does the implant process work when the implant cannot be placed immediately?
When we cannot place an implant immediately, we extract the tooth and perform the grafting process, then prepare the site for the future implant without placing it. We then allow an additional period of eight weeks for the graft to heal before we place the implant.
Do teenagers ever need dental implants?
Yes, if a teenager experiences trauma or is missing teeth congenitally, we will place implants to fill in the missing teeth. We can place them in the back or the front of the mouth. However, we can only place an implant after a patient stops growing. Taking an x-ray of the wrist or hand helps us to determine whether a teenage patient has finished growing.
How long do dental implants last?
This varies depending on a patient’s bite, home care, and overall health. Certain conditions, such as smoking or osteoporosis, can hamper implant stability. These types of conditions don’t necessarily exclude a patient from implants, but during the planning process, we always consider their effect on the overall long-term success of implant placements. In the best-case scenario, patients can expect their implants to last for as long as natural teeth would last.
Are there any special precautions once the implant and crown processes are finished?
After the implants and crowns are in place and a patient is chewing with them, if we determine that he or she is also clenching or grinding, we make a night guard to minimize the bite force overnight. If the patient has a history of gum disease, we perform the Perio Protect® treatment to help minimize the bad bacteria around the implants.
We also recommend that implant patients use water flossers to maintain healthy gums around their implants.
What is the process for patients who require dental implants for multiple teeth at once?
When a patient requires implants for multiple teeth at once, the process is different. On the day of the procedure, we work with a team that may include dentists, oral surgeons, periodontists and an outside lab—anywhere from four to seven providers. The patient goes to sleep and we remove up to six teeth, then place a temporary, non-removable denture. This allows the patient to leave with teeth in place, and only a dentist can remove this denture.
The patient then takes four to six months of healing time with the temporary denture in place. After the healing period, an outside lab makes a permanent denture, and we place it in the patient’s mouth.
In these cases, the patient never goes a day without teeth. This option is becoming more common and predictable; we perform this procedure when we cannot save a patient’s natural teeth and the patient opts not to wear removable dentures.
How do the dentists at Winchester Dental make the implant process as comfortable as it can be?
In our office, we use nitrous oxide or other oral sedation. We ensure the patient’s mouth is completely numb, and we have pillows and blankets available to make our patients more comfortable. Afterward, we instruct patients to go home and rest; they should not work or do housework for the rest of the day. Of course, we always send patients home with specific post-operative instructions.