Bay Area Oral & Facial Surgery
Oral & Facial Surgery
San Francisco CA

Dental Implants


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Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.

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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What Are Dental Implants?

The implants themselves are hollow titanium screws that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. A small post (abutment) that protrudes through the gums is then screwed into the implant. After a suitable healing period, your restorative dentist will make a crown that will either be cemented on top of the abutment or screwed into the implant.

Implants also help preserve facial and jaw structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.

The Surgical Procedure

For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear a temporary partial denture and eat a soft diet during this time.

After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Dr. Tom, Dr. Silva or Dr. Connelly will uncover the implant and attach a small post called an abutment that protrudes through the gums and will act as an anchor for your new tooth. When the crown is placed, the post will not be seen. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.

Surgical Advances

Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Dr. Tom, Dr. Silva, and Dr. Connelly are able to place single stage implants in certain cases. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require healing time before the crowns are placed. There are even situations where the implants can be placed at the same time as a tooth extraction – further minimizing the number of surgical procedures. Advances in dental implant technology have made it possible to precisely measure the amount of available bone you have into which an implant can be placed.

Implants are a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. While Dr. Tom, Dr. Silva or Dr. Connelly perform the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting if necessary, the restorative dentist (your dentist) creates the permanent prosthesis. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.

What Types of Prosthesis Are Available?

Prostheses are either fixed (not removable by the patient) or removable. Examples of fixed prostheses are as follows:

  • A single crown on an implant is used to replace one missing tooth – each prosthetic tooth attaches to its own implant.
  • A fixed bridge created between implants can replace more teeth and may require only two or three implants.
  • A full arch of teeth is fixed to six implants.

Removable prostheses are often made for patient who currently wear full or partial dentures but are having trouble with denture instability and movement.

  • A full denture can be made that snaps onto two or more implants. This is called an implant-retained overdenture. This gives the denture wearer tremendous confidence because the denture will not shift or lift with eating, laughing, or smiling.
  • A partial denture can be stabilized by adding one or two implants. The implants allow the partial to snap in, preventing lifting or rocking.

Dr. Tom, Dr. Silva, and Dr. Connelly perform in-office implant surgery using modern equipment and technique. They work closely with your dentist to come up with the best treatment plan for you.

Why Dental Implants?

Once you learn about dental implants, you finally realize there is a way to improve you life. When you lose several teeth – whether it’s a new situation or something you have lived with for years – chances are you have never become fully accustomed to losing such a vital part of yourself.

Dental implants can be your doorway to renewed self-confidence and peace of mind.

A Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, developed this concept for oral rehabilitation more than 35 years ago. With his pioneering research, Dr. Branemark opened the door to a lifetime of renewed comfort and self-confidence for millions of individuals facing the frustration and embarrassment of tooth loss.

Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types Of Restorations?

There are several reasons: Why sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge a space? In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient, not to mention that dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and rather embarrassing.

Are You A Candidate For Implants?

If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history reviewed. If you mouth is not ideal for implants, ways of improving outcome, such as bone grafting, may be recommended.

What Type Of Anesthesia Is Used?

The majority of dental implants and bone grafts can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, with or without laughing gas or IV sedation.

Do Implants Need Special Care?

Once the implants are in place, they will serve you well for many years if you take care of them and keep your mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dental specialists. Of course implants will never develop cavities but keeping your gums healthy is very important.