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Surgical/Implant Dentistry

When aging, discomfort or decay begin to affect your smile and level of comfort, it may be time to consider restorative dental services. Over the course of a lifetime, a tooth undergoes wear, decay, disease and/or trauma, which can compromise the look of your smile, cause an inability to chew comfortably and create alterations in speech.

Using the latest dental technologies, Drs. Waters and Davidson can form a plan to revamp your dental health with the addition of porcelain crowns and bridges, implants and partial dentures. At Waters Davidson Family Dentistry, we replace missing teeth with a highly predictable success rate that’s higher than 95%.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are the most natural solution for the replacement of missing tooth roots. The implants will be carefully and precisely placed into the jawbone in the place of a missing tooth. After placement, there is a three-to-six month healing period. During this time, the bone surrounding the implant will grow toward the implant surface. Once this “joining” occurs, the implant can support the final restoration of crown, bridge, or partial denture.

With dental implants there is no need to alter adjacent, unaffected teeth to help support a bridge replacement. An implant is a conservative treatment option with regard to the adjacent teeth. Additionally, dental implants look and feel like natural teeth, which results in an improved appearance and the preservation of the supporting jawbone. Without this bone, which supports your facial contours, there is a potential for premature aging (loss of lip and cheek support, increased wrinkles, collapsed facial profile, etc.).

Many dentists choose implants to replace missing teeth with single crowns, as well as to help stabilize and retain unstable or uncomfortable dentures that move around more than desired. By using different types of attachments, implants can connect to dentures for a more “fixed” solution. This can help dramatically improve chewing function and boost self-confidence with the knowledge that dentures are stable.

Dental implants can assist with:

  • Shifting teeth from non-ideal positions in order to eliminate TMJ disorders, headaches, etc.
  • Loss of bone at the missing tooth site, improving a collapsed profile
  • Increased self-confidence/improved psychological effects

As a forward-thinking dental practice, our patients have access to diagnostic procedures designed to be more thorough and accurate than ever before. These treatments are often faster, less invasive and more comfortable than what you may be used to, meaning you’ll spend less time in the dental chair to achieve the results you desire.

Restorative options with dental implants include:

  • Single Tooth Crown Replacement
  • Multiple Teeth Crown Replacements
  • Multiple Teeth Bridge Replacements
  • Implant-Retained Partial Dentures
  • Implant-Retained Complete Dentures

The Dental Implant Process

For the majority of patients with a missing tooth or teeth, the entire process of getting a new tooth will take between 4-6 months. The process begins by taking a 3-D Cone Beam CT scan, performed in our office. The scan takes several images of the area and stitches those images together using computer software to produce a three-dimensional image of your mouth. Using the 3-D image, we digitally plan the placement of an implant before performing the actual procedure.

If space between teeth is limited or the available bone is narrow in size, a surgical guide can be made, allowing us to place the implant within a tenth of a millimeter from the digital planning. Guided implant placement results in higher placement accuracy, safer and faster placement, and less post-operative discomfort.

The dentist will place the implant with the patient under local anesthesia, and patients can return to a normal routine quickly. There is little pain or discomfort associated with an implant placement compared to other dental procedures. With Tylenol or ibuprofen use, mild discomfort usually subsides within a day or two.

Following placement of the implant, a bonding period occurs over the next 3-6 months. During this time, the implant “incorporates” into the surrounding bone. A temporary denture or “flipper” can fill the missing tooth space, as well as a clear “Essix” retainer with a tooth bonded into it to replace the missing tooth. In select cases, a temporary crown can also attach to the implant to appear like a natural tooth during the healing period.

After successful integration of the implant, the dentist will take an impression for the final restoration. Good oral home care and hygiene habits are a critical element of successful dental implant services. Other requirements include proper bone volume and density to support an implant, a healthy and strong immune system, and an uncomplicated medical history.

When you’re ready to learn more about dental implants, please contact our office to set up an implant consultation appointment.

Extractions

Wear and tear on teeth over time can occasionally result in a tooth that cannot be saved by normal restorative procedures such as fillings, crowns or root canal treatments. When a tooth can no longer be successfully restored, it may need to be removed or extracted. Prior to the extraction of a tooth, the surrounding area is numbed with a topical anesthetic followed by an injectable local anesthetic, making the procedure much less painful than typically expected.

Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that transplants bone tissue to repair bones and joints damaged by trauma. The graft comes from a tissue bank, and the procedure is performed at the time of an extraction. There are four types of bone graft materials that can be used to help preserve the original supporting bone of a tooth:

Autografts, which are obtained from the patient’s own body, typically the hip, chin or jaw. Since an autograft requires a second surgical site from where the materials are obtained, autografts are typically reserved for large areas of grafting where major deficiencies are present, such as cleft lip/palate, traumatic injuries, etc.

Allografts are obtained from a human donor and then sterilized and processed. Allografts are the most common grafting material used when extracting a tooth or augmenting an existing site where a tooth has been missing.

 

Xenografts are grafts from a non-human species, such as a cow or pig. Xenografts are similar to allografts except they generally take longer to integrate into and produce useable bone. Because they take longer to integrate, they also break down less quickly and are useful in areas where an implant may be placed at a later point in time.

 

Alloplasts are synthetic, bone-like materials used for grafting procedures. Examples include calcium phosphate or hydroxyapatite, and they work by stimulating the body to produce natural bone at the desired site. That said, alloplasts are generally considered less effective than autografts and allografts.

 

Crown Lengthening

Teeth covered by excess gum tissue can benefit from a crown-lengthening procedure. The reshaping exposes the natural tooth and eliminates “gumminess,” creating a broader smile. Crown lengthening is also performed on teeth with existing restorations, such as fillings or crowns, where the location of the restoration margin is too close to the gum tissue and/or bone, which results in gum tissue inflammation or periodontal pocket formation. By removing bone and/or gum tissue in areas of deep restorative margins, the result is healthier gum tissue and a more cleansable tooth.

Sinus Lift

Also called sinus augmentation, a sinus lift adds bone in the area of the molars and premolars. The placement lies between the jaw and the maxillary sinuses on either side of the nose and is used when there’s not enough height in the upper jaw or the sinuses lie too close to the jaw for the placement of implants.