Dental implants are changing the way people live. They 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. Patients with dental implants can smile and eat with confidence. To discuss dental implants in the Conway, North Little Rock, and Central, AR area, please feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are titanium posts, which are inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jawbone. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for replacement teeth. Small posts (anchors) are then attached to the implant, which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for replacement teeth or dentures.
The Dental Implant Surgical Procedure
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed in your jawbone in a sterile procedure done with sedation in the office. For the first two to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during the healing phase. (That is, you will not be without your current dentures, partials, or bridge except for the first few days of healing).
After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase (replacement phase) begins. Drs. Elimon and Johnson will uncover the implants and attach small posts, which will act as anchors for the teeth. These posts protrude through the gums. When the replacement teeth are positioned, these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure usually takes 3 to 6 months. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.
Dental Implant Surgical Advances
Dental implants may also help preserve facial structure, preventing further bone deterioration that usually occurs when teeth are missing.
If you have questions about dental implants, please call us at
(501) 771-7600 for the North Little Rock Office or (501) 327-5255 for the Conway office.
Using some of the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Drs. Elimon and Johnson are often able to place single stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but may require a few weeks of healing time before teeth are replaced. There are situations where the implants may be placed at the same time as a tooth extraction - further minimizing the number of surgical procedures. Advances in dental implant technology have made it possible, in select cases, to extract teeth and place implants with crowns at one visit. This procedure, called “immediate loading,” greatly simplifies the surgical process. (This “immediate loading,” however, is only in selected cases with sufficient bone structure).
Who actually performs the dental implant placement?
Implants are a team effort between an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and a Restorative Dentist. While Drs. Elimon and Johnson perform the actual implant surgery, and often the initial tooth extractions and bone grafting if necessary, the restorative dentist (your family dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis, crown, bridge, or denture. Your dentist may also make any temporary prosthesis (denture) needed during the implant and healing processes.
What types of prostheses are available?
A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing tooth – each prosthetic tooth usually attaches to its own implant. A partial prosthesis (fixed bridge) can replace two or more teeth and may require only two or three implants. A complete dental prosthesis (fixed bridge) replaces all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or non- removable) is recommended. A removable prosthesis (over denture) is fixed to implants with special attachments inside the denture and can be taken out by the patient, whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by the dentist or surgeon.
Drs. Elimon and Johnson perform in-office implant surgery in a hospital-style sterile environment, thus Inpatient hospital implant surgery is for patients who have special medical or anesthetic needs or for those who need extensive bone grafting from the jaw, hip or tibia (knee area).
Why dental implants?
Once you learn about dental implants, you realize there is a way to improve your life. If you have lost several teeth - recently or in the past - most likely, you still have not become accustomed to losing such a vital part of yourself, be it for aesthetics or function.
Dental implants may be a step to renewed self-confidence and peace of mind.
A Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, developed this concept for oral rehabilitation more than forty-five years ago. With his pioneering research, Dr. Branemark opened the door to a lifetime of renewed comfort and self-confidence for millions of individuals facing the frustration and embarrassment of tooth loss.
Why would one select dental implants over more traditional types of restorations?
There are several reasons: Why sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge a space? (Preparation for a bridge often requires cutting down or removing tooth structure.) In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient, not to mention that dentures which fit poorly or slip can be uncomfortable, limit what can be eaten, or can cause embarrassing situations.
Are you a candidate for dental implants?
If you are considering implants, your mouth and jaws must be examined thoroughly, including x-rays, and your medical and dental history reviewed. If you mouth is not ideal for implants, ways of improving outcome, such as bone grafting, may be recommended.
What type of anesthesia is used?
The majority of dental implants and bone grafting will be performed in the office with general anesthesia (sedation). Some procedures may be done with local anesthesia (numbing).
Do dental implants need special care?
Once the implants have healed and are in function, they will serve you for many years if you take care of them and keep your mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dental specialists.