Implants are cylinders of titanium coated with material called hydroxyapatite. When a patient is missing one or more teeth, these cylinders can be surgically placed into the bone of the upper or lower jaw where we intend to replace missing teeth. Once placed, the gums are sutured in place over the implant. The surgical site is allowed to heal, typically for 6-8 weeks or more. After healing, the implants are very stable and can be used to function as tooth roots. We can use implants to build teeth with porcelain or porcelain fused-to-gold, similar to crowns. We can also use the implants to stabilize and help retain dental appliances such as fixed bridges or removable dentures.
Because of the natural feel and stability of implant supported crowns and bridges, implants are now the standard of care when replacing missing teeth. If a patient has sufficient bone and bone density to place the implant body, this is a terrific treatment option. In those cases where there is not enough bone mass to place implants, grafting of bone may be done to prepare a site that is intended to be used to place an implant.
Dr. McGhee can discuss with you whether or not implants are appropriate for you.