Meng-Chieh Lee D.D.S., M.M.Sc.

What Should You Know About Dental Implants?

Here are a few FAQ’s we receive at BRAIDC – answered by Dr. Lee himself!

Why do I need a dental implant?

When a tooth’s structure is severely damaged or it has lost proper bone support because of periodontal disease, it needs to be extracted so infection will not spread. If the missing tooth is not replaced, not only there is an unsightly gap but neighboring teeth can be compromised too! Multiple missing teeth results in poor chewing and can negatively affect overall health.

What is involved in implant treatment?

If there is not much bone missing or infection at the time of extraction, we typically place bone graft material in the socket. We lose bone after losing a tooth and these bone graft material acts as space maintainer so our bone can gradually grow back. 4-5 months later we can start evaluation for implant placement. During the placement, a flap is performed so we gain access to expose the underlying bone. A hole of specific dimension for the implant is then drilled on the bone. The dental implant is screwed into the bone, and the flap is sutured back. Generally, it would take another 4 months for the implant to integrate with bone and get ready to be restored.

If there is a large-sized bone defect or infection present before tooth extraction, a simultaneous bone graft is not recommended.  Tooth and infected tissue should be removed and wait for healing. Then we go back to place a bone graft.

Why does it take so long to receive an implant?

In certain cases, if the amount and quality of supporting bone are appropriate, it is possible to place the implant at the same visit for “immediate placement”. That can save a lot of time. For front teeth, it is even possible to put a temporary crown too- or “immediate temporization.” However, this is not appropriate for every case. It will depend on careful evaluation before the procedure.

Are there any other options to replace a missing tooth or multiple teeth?

 Yes. Depending on the condition of neighboring teeth we can also treat missing teeth with a tooth supported bridge or dentures. They all have their strength and weakness.  A thorough evaluation should be done before deciding which option to go for.

If you would like to learn more about dental implants, click here!

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