Implant dentistry is actually something that has been around for a lot longer than most of us realize. In all reality, the origins of implant dentistry and the initial options were quite scary and make you scratch your head! Why in the heck would anyone allow someone to embed a metal blade into their jaw bone and see what happens! Of course, if we look back at most advances in medicine, there are tons of examples that make you shake your head.
When I graduated from dental school in 2005, implant dentistry was just beginning to become more prevalent. We did receive some lectures on implant dentistry and the treatment options available, but, we received no hands on training with patients. I was fortunate to be able to take some excellent courses, work with some excellent doctors and learns the different options for implant dentistry from a restorative aspect. In other words, what options were the to replace broken and missing teeth and to help someone replace that tooth.
Starting around 2010, I began to see the value in expanding my training in implant dentistry to further serve my patients. There were numerous options for education and training, I started by completing a couple of extensive courses. The first course I took was with the Garg Academy out of Florida which consisted of 4 weekends of lecture and participation courses. From there, I completed the Engel Institute implant series consisting of 3 different sessions involving patient treatment at each session. At the Engel Institute, we were exposed to all aspects of surgery from implant placement, bone grafting, soft tissue grafting, PRF protocols, IV sedation protocols, guided implant surgery, and teeth in a day.
Since then, I have continued to invest numerous weekends investing in studying the best treatment protocols for implant dentistry and how to provide the highest level of care for my patients. Enough about me though, let’s talk about what implant dentistry can do for you at Magnolia Dental.
The gold standard forever seemingly when a patient lost a tooth or multiple teeth was to offer permanent bridges or removable partial dentures. While these continue to be an excellent treatment option to this day, there are some severe limitations to them. Namely, these treatment options can compromise adjacent teeth, cause gum soreness, create food traps or quite honestly don’t meet the needs of my patients.
Dental implants are best thought of as replacement roots. They allow me to replace the missing roots of infected or broken teeth with a titanium post that your jaw bone grows on to. So, these will give us a healthy foundation that we can then build your new teeth off. The actual placement of implant dentistry is rather easy, and, typically we see little to minimal post-operative discomfort following placement of the post.
The placement of the implant is a simple process … we have you come in and will typically numb the area around where we are going to place the implant. Depending on the tissue and the amount of bone in the area, I may open to gently open the tissue to access the bone so we can add more bone with a graft or correct any other underlying issues. I then will use a series of instruments to create a hole for the implant to go into the jaw bone. After the right size hole is created, I will place the implant into the bone and close the tissue with some minor sutures to hold it together. Following the implant placement, I will prescribe you medications to help control any post-operative discomfort you may experience. Following the initial appointment, we then allow healing for 3-5 months to allow the bone to grow onto the post. During the healing phase, we may place a small flat cover over the implant and allow the gum tissue to grow over the implant. Using this approach will help to maximize healing and is often used in cases where we are grafting the bone or there may be infection. After allowing the bone to heal and the tissue to grow over the implant healing cap, we will come back in 2-3 months and do a conservative second procedure to open the gum tissue so we can expose the implant and then place a longer post to allow the gum tissue to develop a shape around the tissue.
After the appropriate amount of healing, we come back and begin the simple process of rebuilding your missing tooth/teeth or connecting to your dentures. As you can tell, the downside to implants is that there are a few steps involved in the process that require a prescribed amount of healing. Ultimately, each person heals at their own pace, and, while we have some standards, each case is unique and that is why it is important to me and our team at Magnolia Dental to spend enough time providing a thorough exam and discussing all aspects of your treatment.
Now that we know how implants and placed, how do I help you decide what is the best treatment option with regards to dental implants? The advances we have seen in imaging, namely CBCT imaging. This allows us to create a three-dimensional image of your bone and teeth, thus eliminating almost all guess work associated with your treatment. With the NewTom VGI CBCT at Magnolia Dental, we can create a detailed and unique image that shows exactly what is going with your teeth and bone. Even more exciting, is that I can then show you the three-dimensional image and plan out the best dental implant option.
As implant dentistry continues to advance, you will no doubt see more and more options that you feel may be what is best for you or your loved ones. You will see television commercials advertising teeth in a day or permanent dentures – I love that we can offer those in implant dentistry option in Mabank, Texas at Magnolia Dental. I love that we are dedicated to take the time to help you understand what options there are and to help YOU decide which is the right option for you. A great place to start is by giving us a call at (903) 603-4406 or email us here to schedule a visit to discuss implant dentistry.
Guided implant surgery
This is one of the fastest and most exciting parts of implant dentistry to me! Guided implant surgery is like Star Wars for dentists – we get to use three dimensional software, simulations, three dimensional printers! It is just one of those times when we get to play our really nerdy dental side.
Beyond that, it is probably even more amazing for you as a patient. This process allows me to place dental implants (replacement roots) in exactly the correct position with regards to spacing, angulation and depth! Plus, we are usually able to do this with little or no cutting of your gum tissue – which means few to no stitches! The smaller incisions mean less risk of infection and a faster healing. Remember how surgeons removed an appendix in the old days? My dad’s appendectomy left an ugly 3-inch scar, while my appendectomy only left four tiny dots that I can hardly find.
The key to guided implant surgery is the CT scan, which is why I invested in one of the best cone-beam scanners around – the NewTom VGI. It allows us to choose the best image size for the treatment we are discussing – ranging from a CT scan of your entire head to a small area focusing on a potentially fractured root! With the scan complete, I am able to identify key structures like nerves, blood vessels and voids in your jaw bone. This is absolutely essential in order to provide you with a safe and predictable treatment option.
After identifying and studying the key anatomical structures, I can select the ideal implant (root replacement) for your jaw bone that will maximize the longevity, function and esthetics. With results from the NewTom VG CT scanner, I can work with one of our partner labs to get a 3D surgical guide that I use to place the implants in the precise location in the jaw bone. It is exact and predictable!
This approach is amazing in cases where we have a loss of jaw bone structure, large voids in the bone, or tight spaces between roots. It is even better when we are placing 5- 7 implants to make a denture permanent. It gives the best support of the denture while maximizing available jaw bone. Without this 3D precision, I am able to get close, but, even the best surgeon in the world cannot recreate the accuracy associated with this CT scanning.
So, if you have a denture that you are tired of flopping around or one that won’t stay in, but, you don’t want to deal with a large surgical wound, give Magnolia Dental a call to discuss guided implant surgery. Maybe you have an area where you are missing a tooth, but, you are worried because it is such a tight space between roots – then call Magnolia Dental at (903) 603-4406 or email us here.
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