Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth to periodontal disease, an injury or some other reason. Under proper conditions, such as placement by a periodontist and diligent patient maintenance, implants can last a lifetime.
Long-term studies continue to show improving success rates for implants.
Expert in Dental Implants
Dr. Sebastian has been extensively trained in dental implants and has been placing implants for over 20 years. He has completed advanced training in dental implants, including the Nobel Biocare, Zimmer, Biomet (3i) and Astra Tech Dental Implant Surgical Courses, and is both a Fellow and a Diplomate of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI). He continues to stay current in the most advanced care and treatment options.
Dr. Sebastian highly values patient education. One of his main priorities is to ensure you completely understand what dental implants are and all of your treatment options before proceeding. You can be assured all of your questions and concerns will be answered.
Replacing a Missing Tooth
A natural tooth is anchored into the jawbone by its tooth root. Tooth roots attach firmly to the jawbone and keep your teeth stable when chewing solid foods.
natural tooth root |
Traditionally, if you were missing a tooth or if one needed to be extracted, the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth would be cut down and the whole thing replaced with a three-crown “bridge”.
Dental implants are the modern alternative. Instead of cutting down two perfectly healthy teeth, the practitioner inserts a dental post (dental implant) into the jawbone to replace your missing tooth root. This post becomes solidly fixed into your jaw (like a natural tooth root). Your general dentist then places a crown onto this artificial tooth root that looks, feels, and functions like your natural teeth.
Quite simply, dental implants are the most natural replacement for missing teeth.
The left photo shows a front tooth that broke off. The center x-ray and right photo show the broken tooth replaced with a dental implant and crown.
The top row: The left x-ray shows a root canal tooth that had a root fracture that lost bone due to the resulting infection. The tooth was extracted, a bone graft (socket preservation bone graft) was placed. The center photo and right x-ray were taken 4 months later showing dense bone fill.
The bottom row shows the implant placed and restored with a crown.
Using Implants to Hold In Dentures (Implant-Supported Overdentures)
Dentures have to be taken out and soaked at night. During the day, they can also look unnatural and rub painfully. Dentures and partials make it difficult or impossible to eat certain foods.
Dental implants can now be used to anchor partial and full dentures. This prevents the slipping, irritation, and pain associated with “floating” partials and dentures. It also prevents the tedious removal of dentures for overnight soaking and cleaning. Dental implants also eliminate the need for dental adhesives. This allows you to enjoy eating the foods you previously avoided . With dental implants, your partials or dentures are firmly anchored to the jawbone, causing them to feel much more like natural teeth.
This is what the ball and socket attachment looks like that is screwed to the implant.
This woman wore dentures for decades and could no longer tolerate how loose her lower denture was. 2 lower dental implants were placed July 2, 1991. The patient's family dentist placed ball and socket attachments on the implants and made her a lower overdenture (a denture that snaps on to the attachments). Inside each denture "housing" is a rubber gasket "O" ring that needs replaced annually. The implant-supported lower overdenture with ball and socket attachments has been in place 16 years. She has not had any dental work in those 16 years other than "O" ring gasket replacement, which is done in office in about 10 minutes. She came in to see Dr. Sebastian in 2007 with a loose abutment that only needed re-tightened with a special screwdriver. X-ray is pre-op from 1991. Remaining photos were taken in September 2007, 16 years later. This is the original denture.
The above photos are of an existing upper denture that this woman wore for several years. She had several upper dentures made by various dentists, but none fit that well to her. Her chief complaints were that the denture made her gag sometimes, was hard to wear, and had a tendency to fall out.
2 dental implants were placed and Locator attachments placed on the implants. Note the lower profile (not as high) compared to the ball and socket on the above older case. The Locator attachments allowed her family dentist to make a new upper denture that was far more retentive, and reduced how far back the new denture went, eliminating a gagging feeling (for an upper denture to stay in without implant support, the back of the denture needs to extend back to the soft palate to create a suction seal). She said this was by far the best fitting denture she had, and was extremely pleased. The rubber gaskets will need replaced annually, usually done by your family dentist in office in about 10 minutes.
Dr. Sebastian works in concert with your family dentist so that the implants will be placed where your dentists needs them to then make you an implant supported removable denture or partial denture. The Locator attachments from Zest Anchors, Inc. are Dr. Sebastian’s preferred overdenture attachment.
2 dental implants were placed in the lower arch and Locator attachments were placed on the implants. The Locator attachments allowed her family dentist to make a new lower denture that was far more retentive. This patient was very happy, she said this was by far the best fitting denture she ever had, and she was extremely pleased. The rubber gaskets will need replaced annually, usually done by your family dentist in office in about 10 minutes.
Replacing Missing Teeth with Implant Supported Fixed Bridgework
Traditionally, missing teeth would have been replaced with a removable partial or full denture. Implants are now a viable, and in most cases, a superior option for tooth replacement.
The patient originally had a traditional bridge from the back molar to a bicuspid. The bridge failed when the front tooth “gave out”. The above x-ray and photo shows a plastic temporary glued in place. The patient and her dentist decided that a new, larger traditional bridge was not the best option and a decision was made to replace the 3 missing teeth with 3 implants and implant-supported crowns.
The above shows the 3 implants Dr. Sebastian placed.
Above shows 4 months later, when the implants were checked to be sure they were integrated (fused) to the bone and solid with no movement and were totally pain free. They were now ready for the lab work needed to restore them. Attachments called impression copings were placed on the implants and impressions were taken. Laboratory models were made.
Above shows the abutments that will be screwed to the implants. These particular abutments were designed on a computer and then were made with a special CAD/CAM milling machine in Florida. These particular abutments are made of titanium and will be screwed to the implants with a special gold screw. The crowns will then be cemented to these abutments. This is why, if the crowns ever need replaced in the future, the implants and the abutment that is screwed to the implant do not need redone.
Above shows the custom abutments now screwed directly to the implants and the access holes filled with a filling material.
Above shows the final restorations. The family dentist then placed a new crown on the remaining back tooth and on the 3 implants.
Natural tooth roots and dental implant posts are fixed firmly in your jawbone. When you chew, these tooth roots and posts stimulate the jawbone and prevent it from shrinking. You may have seen a person who looked prematurely old because their jawbone had shrunk after wearing floating dentures. Dental implants help preserve your jawbone and appearance.
The above left photo and right x-ray shows a patient with all the lower teeth missing.
The above left photo and right x-ray shows 6 dental implants placed.
The above photos show the implants restored with bridgework.
The Success Rate of Dental Implants
After their healing period, the success rate of dental implants is between 94% and 98%. If you are a non-smoker with good oral hygiene, the percentage is closer to 98%.
Does the Procedure Hurt?
It is often done under local anesthesia and patients generally experience little discomfort after the procedure. It is similar to having a simple tooth extraction.
Professor P-I Branemark
Discovered that the metal titanium fused directly to bone. The "father" of implant dentistry and modern orthopedic implant surgery.
How Long Will Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants become fixed to the jawbone. Through the life span of a dental implant will vary with each patient, many have lasted for over 30 years. With good oral hygiene and regular cleanings, dental implants should last a lifetime. In contrast, the average life span of a traditional fixed bridge is between 10-15 years.
The first dental implants were placed in 1965 by Dr. P-I Branemark in Sweden, and functioned for over 40 years until this individual passed away on 2006.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Dental implant treatment begins with an evaluation by your general dentist who will determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure. If he feels dental implants might be possible, he will send you to a periodontist for a placement evaluation.
For More Information
The following sites will provide you with more information on dental implants: