How Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons Handle Esthetic Implant Cases
At Texas Oral Surgery Group, we understand the far-reaching impact our work has on patients. That’s why we’re committed to providing the best care possible via the latest technology and innovative procedures, including esthetic implants.
An esthetic area is any area that is visible in a patient’s full smile. Given the significant role a healthy smile plays in one’s self-confidence and quality of life, the demand for esthetic dental work continues to increase. Fortunately, so have procedure options.
Unlike earlier days where teeth loss was only treatable using dentures and bridges, today, missing teeth can be treated using dental implants. Not only do today’s implants restore function, but, just as importantly, they also fulfill patients’ esthetic expectations.
What exactly are dental implants?
Dental implants are essentially artificial tooth roots that create a strong foundation for artificial teeth, which are known as crowns. Crowns are custom-made to fit a patient’s mouth and match their natural teeth.
Am I a good candidate for dental implants?
As long as facial growth and development are complete – usually around 16 years of age for girls and 18 for boys – dental implants can be an excellent option for those who were born without a tooth or have lost teeth due to injury or decay. Ideally, implant surgery candidates are non-smokers with good oral health, which includes a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw and healthy gums. However, with over 50 years of combined experience, Drs. Stewart and Michael are able to overcome numerous treatment obstacles. We encourage you to contact us for a second opinion even if you don’t meet the ideal patient profile or have previously been told that you are not a good candidate for implants.
Are there different types of implants?
The currently available dental implants have been time tested and have been in wide usage since the early 1980’s. The biologic basis for implant success has been studied with literally thousands of research papers. The majority of dental implants are made of titanium, however dental implants made of zirconia are now being utilized as well, especially in esthetic areas where the tissue may be thin. Shaped like small screws, these are placed in the jawbone itself. These “new” zirconia implants are a rebirth and redesign of early zirconia implants from the mid 1980’s, made possible by advancements in CADCAM milling. Zirconia implants require specific restorative protocols and materials that may increase the overall cost.
Depending on the health of your jawbone and your specific needs, Drs. Stewart and Michael may suggest some alternative treatment options, including:
- Immediate load dental implants.Also called “same day” implants, immediate load dental implants allow placement of an implant and a temporary tooth during the same appointment. This may be a good option if you have enough natural bone and an implant secure enough to support immediate placement and pressure on the new temporary tooth.
- Mini dental implants (MDIs).Also called small or narrow diameter implants, these toothpick-sized implants are narrower than most commonly used dental implants. They are placed using less-invasive techniques and are used primarily to stabilize a lower denture.
- All-on-4®.All-on-4 is a procedure that replaces an entire arch of teeth by inserting four (or more) dental implants into the top, bottom, or both jaws. Specifically placed so that each are able to support multiple teeth in the arch, these four implants provide support of the prosthesis which allows a thin, non-removable implant supported bridge to be secured into place. Patients are allowed to begin eating a soft diet while the gum tissues heal and the implants bond with the natural bone. After about six months, the permanent implant bridge is placed and the patient is able to chew as if with natural teeth.
What steps are involved?
Just like any other esthetic dental procedure, dental implants require the development of an individualized treatment plan. All implant surgeries at Texas Oral Surgery Group employ a coordinated treatment approach that includes the patient, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, and restorative dentist.
Our goal is to ensure all parties have a clear understanding of what needs to happen to meet the patient’s expectations. To help with this effort, we have an Implant Coordinator who is responsible for ensuring each step of the planning, treatment, and follow-up are discussed with the patient and referring doctor.
Patients begin the process by meeting with members of the implant team to review treatment options. The work up for dental implant surgery requires meticulous planning and execution. Since coordination among all parties is required, it can take several weeks to properly prepare and plan for dental implant surgery. We at Texas Oral Surgery Group have many years of experience and thousands of cases of satisfied patients, we feel confident that we can assist you in your dental implant needs, even if you have previously been told that you “were not a candidate”. Let us help you to regain your oral health.
Where do I go from here?
Regardless of the method used, dental implant surgery is a subject that requires a thoughtful approach. Please contact any of our locations (Denton, Plano, Decatur, Gainesville ) to schedule a consultation. Drs. Stewart and Michael will assess your oral health and make a recommendation about the type of implants that are most appropriate for you.
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