Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth which 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. Implants are a team effort between an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and a Restorative Dentist.
While Dr. Wittenberg performs the actual implant surgery, and any initial tooth extractions; the restorative dentist fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process. This is a team effort including you, the patient, who has to maintain good oral health in order to have successful implants.
The use of dental implants is very successful and effective. Each patient has a varied situation regarding the area where the implant is to be placed. The implant site can have a reduced dimension, altered quality of bone, and have other important anatomic features which could alter the placement of the implant. Dr. Wittenberg has significant experience in the assessment and management of dental implants and he will review your case and provide you with options for your review and determination.
The implants are typically placed into the bone and ‘covered’ with the ‘gum tissue’/gingiva. The bone will then ‘fuse’ on to the implant surface over a 3 month period in the lower jaw; and a 6 month period in the upper jaw. At that time, a small ‘second stage’ procedure is accomplished to ‘expose’ the implant and an attachment is placed onto the implant. The general dentist or dental specialist will then construct a crown on top of the implant fitted to your bite.
It is also possible to place an implant at the same time as a dental extraction of a tooth. There are various factors which need to be considered, but Dr. Wittenberg can advise you if you are a candidate for this approach. This approach can save approximately 6 months of time in the overall plan.
There are circumstances where the bone will “shrink” after extraction, and there will not be enough bone to place the implant. In those cases, bone grafts can be done to increase the volume and the contours of the ridge; so that an implant can be placed. Further, bone grafts can be placed at the time of extractions in many cases in order to ‘preserve’ the bone from shrinking in volume. This bone graft preservation can be discussed with your dentist or Dr. Wittenberg in advance of the extractions.