Dental Implants have profoundly changed dentistry and the options we can offer our patients. These procedures are often life altering for our patients as it can restore cosmetics, function, and stability that has been lost. Dental implants are simply titanium root forms. The most recent addition to our implant options are the new all ceramic implants. For individuals who are sensitive to metals, these implants are an exciting new development. The all-ceramic implants also greatly improve the cosmetic results we can achieve especially in the front of the mouth.
One of the most significant developments with implants is our ability to restore excellent comfort and function for patients who are wearing conventional dentures. Implant supported dentures have a multitude of advantages. Most people don't realize that when your chew with your natural teeth you can generate 200 to 600 PSI (LBS per square inch) of biting pressure. About the best we can do with a denture is about 50 PSI. The effects of this is that the bone resorbs in conventional denture patients (thus the squished face look) over time because there is so little functional load. Implants allow us to now return to that 200 to 600 PSI, and we dramatically reduce the subsequent bone loss. The more bone that is lost, the looser a denture will become. Implant dentures have given us the opportunity to restore an individual's chewing ability, as well as allow complete stability and comfort while preserving the jawbone. Nutritionally, this has a major impact on health, as a person can actually chew most anything instead of gradually eliminating more and more foods from his or her diet.
We will ideally place 4 implants on the upper and or lower arch to stabilize and support the dentures. Implant supported dentures have a metal substructure to provide the strength necessary to prevent constant denture breakage. On the upper arch, we need a minimum of four implants because the bone is generally much softer or spongier. On the lower arch denture, we can often start with only two implants. We gladly provide our prospective patients who have x-rays with a no charge consultation to assess their needs and determining whether they would be good candidates for implant treatment.
Dr. Hull has had extensive training and experience in removing wisdom teeth. We provide in-house treatment for most cases, but we gladly refer cases to our oral surgeon for patients who want a general anesthetic in conjunction with the surgery. We do offer conscious sedation including oral medications and nitrous oxide.
The wisdom teeth get trapped or, worse yet, they try to erupt into place at the expense of crowding and overlapping the front teeth. Again, we are glad to do a no charge consultation if you have x-rays to determine what treatment is indicated and their associated costs (again, an exam and x-rays will be necessary if treatment is desired). It is generally easier and safer the remove wisdom teeth at a younger age (usually 16 to 18 years old) if the removal is indicated. It is particularly important to have these teeth evaluated following orthodontic treatment as the wisdom teeth can severely undermine our ability to retain the orthodontic corrections that have been made.
Bone grafting technology has advanced significantly in the last ten years. This technique has allowed us to regenerate bone in conjunction with implant placements. This ability often allows us to place implants immediately following the extraction of your natural tooth/teeth.
In many cases, bone grafting or augmentation allows us to create or maintain adequate bone to allow for future implant placement. We also utilize bone grafting in conjunction with periodontal (gum) surgery to help correct defects in the bone secondary to gum disease. In some cases in addition to the bone graft, we will use a resorbable collagen membrane to cover and protect the bone graft while it heals.
There are three types of bone grafting materials most commonly used in dentistry. The first is autogenous, which is natural bone taken from the same individual that will receive the graft. The second is an allograft, which is demineralized and sterilized bone taken from human cadavers. The third kind is a xenograft, which is bone taken from another species such as bovine (cow). The intent of any grafting procedure is to help maintain and or increase the amount of bone available for implant placement. Every measure is taken to assure that any graft material is safe and sterilized for placement. Most grafting materials are completely absorbed by the body within 12 months after placement and replaced with the body's own bone. The collagen membranes have dramatically improved the success of these grafting procedures.
An apicoectomy is a surgical procedure that is often indicated when a tooth that has been treated with a root canal that remains symptomatic. It allows us to remove any persistent infection remaining in the bone near the apex of the root, as well as removing the tip of the root, which may contain lateral canals that are not treatable with conventional root canal techniques.
Alveoplasty is a surgical procedure in which the dentist will reshape the jawbone following the removal of the natural teeth. This procedure significantly expedites the healing process and the bone's natural tendency to round and smooth itself. This facilitates the patient's ability to adapt to and better utilize the denture being placed over the jawbone.
In our office, we will generally do this procedure in conjunction with the extractions of the natural teeth, but at times, additional bone recontouring may become necessary. As most patients do not want to go for any length of time without their new teeth, this procedure allows us to get a much better fit and a much quicker healing response.