A Patient’s Guide to Implants

Guide to implants

Still smiling


This is a short guide to dental implants. Dentistry has over 30 years experience with the modern dental implant.  Dental implants work. Implant therapy requires a well thought out treatment plan,  patience and financial commitment.

The surgeon (in this instance me) can place an implant in an extraction site  the same day the tooth is extracted. Sometimes I use an additional bone graft at the implant site.  When needed, I can extract the offending tooth, place the implant  and bone graft at the same time.   Healing time after bone grafting is at least 3 months.   An extra month healing time allows for higher quality bone when placing the implant.  Implant success requires two millimeters of bone around the implant.  This includes at least 2 mm of bone in between adjacent implants if more than one implant is being placed.  If you are interested in bone grafts check out http://www.straumann.us/en/patients.html.  It may be too technical but you can bring us your questions.

Proper diagnosis and treatment planning is a must when planning to extract a tooth and place an implant on the same day.  You have to be flexible.  There may be reasons why not to place the implant that are discovered on the day of surgery, for example lack of adequate bone density.  Implants can  be restored on the same day if the bone is dense enough.

Implants work for older folks too.  We usually allow for more healing time for older patients.  Dental implants provide a new lease on life if you are  struggling with full dentures.

That spot that looks perfect for an implant on a conventional dental x-ray may not be. Conventional x-rays are three dimensions on a two-dimension film.   We  suggest patients have a cone beam x-ray of the area before surgery.  A cone beam x-ray provides a 3 dimensional view of the jaw where the implant is being placed.  A cone beam x-ray combined with Cad/Cam technology is a powerful combination.  We can provide  teeth in a day using them.  We use Cad/Cam technology to make guides for implant placement.

Mini implants work too.  But when you are planning on chewing on something for 30 years is using a mini implant wise.  A 2.6 mm wide implant metal can succumb to  fatigue and failure.  Oral surgeons tell more stories about failed mini implants than anything else.  That said recently mini-implants are getting wider and conventional implants are getting narrower.  With new material science advances the differences may all be sematic.  Straumann, a company which makes conventional implants, has just introduced a 2.9 mm implant. http://www.straumann.us/en/patients.html We  now have a conventional implant for tight spaces.

If you don’t have enough bone for a standard size implant (3.0 mm diameter or greater) consider grafting the area first and preparing the site for an ideal implant.  Using a mini implant because the bone isn’t wide enough can turn out to be a compromise with unfortunate results.  Have patience.  It takes time for bone to grow and to be ready for implant surgery.  Why hurry placing implants in the back of you mouth or implants that are not in the esthetic zone.  Give our office and call and we would be glad to be your guide for implant therapy.

Wishing you the best. Dr. K

Note: Our patient has an implant supporting her upper right lateral incisor crown.

One Response to A Patient’s Guide to Implants
  1. Thank you for all this great information about dental implants! I really like your point about that a a cone beam x-ray would be better because it shows a 3D view of the jaw and where the implants should be placed. I have a few teeth missing and I want to be sure that my implants are realistic as possible.


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