Dental Implants

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Are you missing one or more teeth?  Statistics show that 69% of adults ages 35 to 44 have one or more missing teeth.  Dental implants are the best treatment option for missing teeth in most cases.  Rather than having a full or partial denture that has to be removed every night or using adjacent teeth as anchors for a bridge, dental implants are a permanent replacement for teeth.  They look, feel and function just like your natural teeth.  You can eat what you like.

Dental implants are titanium root forms that are surgically placed into the jawbone.  After a brief time of healing where bone actually grows and bonds to the implant (called osseointegration), the restorative process begins with placement of a post.  Teeth are then custom-made by your dentist and placed on the implants.

WHO SHOULD PLACE MY IMPLANT?

This is a very good question.  While there are many doctors out there placing dental implants, most have no true surgical training at all or have only had a mere few weeks (some only a couple of weekends in a brief course) of training to place dental implants.  Dr. Mueller is a board certified Oral & Maxillofacial surgeon who has had four years of hospital based training.  In addition, Dr. Mueller is boarded in anesthesia.  Likewise, periodontists (gum specialists) are not oral surgeons as many advertise. This is false advertising. You get what you pay for. Would you ask a plumber to build you a house?  The answer is no.  A plumber is only trained in one facet of home construction.  Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons are extensively trained in internal medicine, general surgery, plastic surgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine and trauma, surgery of the mouth, face, jaws and teeth.   Dr. Mueller’s knowledge and surgical expertise uniquely qualify him to diagnose and treat the functional and esthetic conditions of the face, jaws and oral cavity as they pertain to dental implant restorations.  Shouldn’t a surgeon perform your dental implant surgery?
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AM I A CANDIDATE FOR DENTAL IMPLANTS?

Whether you are missing one, a few or all of your teeth, there is a dental implant solution for you.  With the exception of growing children (usually to about age 17), young, middle-aged and older individuals can generally have implants placed.  Dr. Mueller will assess your health and medical conditions, your oral health and your existing dental restorations.

There are certain medical conditions which Dr. Mueller will take some precautionary measures with, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.  Properly managed, patients with these chronic diseases enjoy successful implant restorations.

Bone loss is not uncommon in those with missing teeth.  Dr. Mueller is uniquely trained in all facets of bone grafting for the face and jaws.  He has lectured internationally on the subjects of bone grafting and tissue engineering.  If a tooth being removed is planned to have an implant placed, Dr. Mueller will place a Socket Graft to create a foundation for the implant.

WHAT TYPES OF PROSTHESES ARE AVAILABLE?

If you are missing one or more teeth, individual implants and crowns are your best option.  If you are missing all of your teeth in one or both jaws, you have several options.  You can choose again to have implants and crowns to replace each tooth, or you can choose to have an over-denture.  An over-denture is a denture that is specially designed to snap or clip onto a number of implants.  The number of implants placed for an over-denture varies, depending on whether the denture is to be fixed or removable.  Individual implants and crowns can only be removed by your surgeon or dentist.  Over-dentures still need to be removed if only 2 – 4 implants are used.  If you desire a fixed (non-removable) denture, then typically 6 – 8 implants are necessary.
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TEETH IN A DAY –

There are franchises that advertise “teeth in a day.”  Patients often have to travel hours to make their appointments and do not have adequate follow-up care.  At VIRGINIA FACIAL SURGERY, Dr Mueller works closely with your general dentist to ensure proper long-term care and support of your dental implants and prosthesis.  Implants and teeth can all be placed in the same day with the option for general anesthesia.  The teeth are fixed and cannot be removed by the patient.  The temporary teeth are worn for six months until the final restoration is fabricated.  It is simple – you come in with no teeth and leave with a new smile.

Wearing conventional full or partial dentures can cause many problems.  Continual bone loss occurs which causes the dentures to become ill-fitting and move around while you speak and eat.  This creates the need for sticky, foul-tasting pastes and adhesives to keep the dentures from moving.  Metal clasps that are used in partial dentures can loosen or break the teeth that they are attached to.  Anchoring dentures with implants allows you to eat whatever you like and prevent the embarrassment of slipping dentures.  With the enjoyment of a healthy and varied diet, your renewed self-confidence with speaking and eating, many people rediscover the excitement of an active lifestyle.

THE DENTAL IMPLANT PROCEDURE

Once Dr. Mueller has done a thorough examination complete with a discussion about your dental implant needs, he incorporates your dentist into the team approach.  Dr. Mueller treatment plans your case with your general dentist, and in some cases, your dentist will see you for fabrication of a surgical guide.
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The procedure can be performed either with local anesthesia or IV anesthesia.  The implants are placed into the jaw and are covered by the gingiva for a period of 2 – 3 months.  After this period of integration, the implants are uncovered in a second procedure where a post is attached to the implant.  Occasionally, the post is placed at the initial procedure.  Once the implants are ready to restore, Dr. Mueller has you return to your dentist for fabrication of the final crowns or dentures.

Once your final restorations are in place, Dr. Mueller insists that you have at least 3 dental hygiene appointments per year and one visit with Dr. Mueller per year.

Occasionally, there is inadequate bone to place the dental implants.  This does not mean that you are not a candidate.  Dr. Mueller will assess the problem and may recommend a bone graft procedure prior to implant placement.  He will discuss these issues with you during your initial consultation.