If you are missing teeth or have teeth that have been damaged by trauma or significant decay, you may be a candidate for one or more dental implants. These artificial tooth roots, implanted directly into the supporting jaw bone, look, feel, and function just as your natural teeth.
"We truly believe that our job is to serve our patients!"
Many patients have questions or concerns about how the dental implant procedure works. Every patient is different, so you'll need to come into Dr. Postol's Ballwin office for a thorough exam to know exactly what your experience will entail. But we would like to provide a basic overview of how the procedure is typically performed, so that you can make an informed decision that will give you the confidence to move forward in your goal of having healthy and beautiful teeth.
"The goal of good dentistry is to help you keep all of your teeth for the rest of your life in maximum health, comfort, function and aesthetic at a minimal stress and expense to you."
Before your procedure, you will meet with Dr. Postol to assess your gums, teeth and jaw bones, and to ensure that dental implants are right for you. Together, you will discuss a plan of action that will help you feel and look your best, without causing an excessive financial burden.
In some cases, where the jaw bone lacks sufficient density to support healthy teeth, a preliminary appointment will take place, wherein the bone is fortified or replaced with supportive material that will be necessary for the success of the implants. Depending on the extent of the regeneration needed, healing may need to take place before the implant procedure can occur.
On the day of implant surgery, your hygienist will numb your mouth in the area receiving the dental implants, and help you get as comfortable as possible. Dr. Postol will make an incision in the gums to access to the supporting bone below. Using the iCAT 3D images and guided surgery techniques, he can guarantee the accurate placement of the implant. Dr. Postol will drill directly into the bone and insert the small titanium post. Drilling into the bone may sound daunting, but this part of the process is virtually painless since there are no nerve endings in bone. The titanium post will eventually be completely covered by the abutment and prosthetic tooth.
In many cases, after the post is placed a healing process must take place as the bone regrows snugly around the implant. This process is called osseointegration. During this time, the patient wears a temporary dental crown which covers the post, keeping the mouth looking normal and healthy. This process can take several months, as the bone becomes re-established. (In some cases, Dr. Postol may be able to provide immediate restorations. He'll determine if this is possible during your visit.)
Once the post is fully integrated into the bone, it will be ready for the abutment. An abutment is a small piece that acts as an attachment between the implant and the crown, dental bridge, or full arch prosthetic. The gums are once again cut open, the abutment is attached to the implanted post, and then the gums are closed up around the abutment. The abutment remains exposed as the attachment point for the prosthetic tooth or teeth.
After another week or two of healing, you will be ready to receive your permanent restoration. These prosthetic teeth will be realistic in appearance and very strong. They will feel and look like your natural teeth and will help to maintain the proper spacing within your dental arch and healthy bone mass.
"In our philosophy of practice, you are a person of great value and importance. "
Many patients who receive dental implants say the surgery is among the easier dental procedures they've ever had. Almost without fail, they say the benefits of implants far outway the costs. Contact us to set up a consultation and exam in Ballwin to find out if dental implants are right for you. Dr. Postol would like to be your Ballwin dental implant dentist. He and his team are always happy to meet new patients and are very interested in making your experience a positive one.