Dental implants are strong, reliable, long-term devices that can serve as the foundation in single or multiple missing teeth scenarios. They are great also if you’re contemplating the removal of all your teeth if that be the necessity as a support for full replacement teeth. However, it would not be a good idea to show up at a periodontist or oral surgeon’s office (specialists in surgical procedures) or even a general dentist’s office who claims to do it all without first having a distinct and unique plan for the final teeth restorations. Many people tend to think that an implant or implants equal the tooth or teeth that they support, and that if they get an implant they are getting the tooth too. But in reality, the implant is simply the foundation, and the tooth is what people are really interested in getting. Since nice teeth that function properly and feel natural is what people are really after, getting a implant without a restorative plan is putting the cart before the horse.
Before you visit with the surgeon who would place the implant, it is best to develop the restorative plan with a prosthodontist. This wonderful specialty of dentistry is populated with the most detail-oriented personality types. Prosthodontists are trained in comprehensive dentistry. The cases treated are more complex such as various missing teeth situations. Even if you think that you’re not that complex after loosing a tooth, you might still be evaluated by a prosthodontist. It may be that things are straight forward and a matter of a simple implant placement and subsequent tooth restoration. However, many times the teeth have been missing for a while and things in the mouth have shifted around or drifted into less-than-ideal orientation. A prosthodontist should evaluate your mouth comprehensively prior to commitment to a certain implant position to make sure all things are considered, that other teeth don’t need to be addressed before the implant is placed, and overall to ensure an outcome you will be happy with long-term. Once things are confirmed “squared away” with the rest of your mouth, a referral to a periodontist or oral surgeon can be made who is expert in this type of procedure. He would determine whether a bone or soft tissue graft would be necessary prior to implant placement, and treat you accordingly. After the graft and/or implant(s) heal for anywhere from 3-6 months, the restoration in the name of the tooth or teeth you actually wanted can be placed and you enjoy the fruits of new implant-supported teeth–beautiful smile, awesome function, beauty, and better stability.
In short, don’t assume that you’re ready for an implant, have yourself checked out and get a firm plan of action, then proceed with the implants and future teeth. As a prosthodontist, I can guide you through the process and get you to the right people who do the various proceedures best. When it’s time for the teeth, we’ll be in the best position to hit a home run with your smile!
If you are interested in teeth supported by implants, please contact our team by calling214-842-8106
I feel privileged to help you any way I can.
Dr. Doug Jensen