Dental Implants

What are dental implants?

Dental implant treatment can improve the quality of life, comfort and esthetics – with teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth. Dental implants are often the best solution to replace missing teeth. A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown. If you compare natural teeth to implant-supported replacement teeth, you’ll see they have the same basic parts. Both have a crown (the visible part used to chew food). Both have a root that holds the tooth securely under the gum and is anchored into the jaw. The difference is that the implant is made of titanium – the same time-tested material used by surgeons for artificial joints. When you lose a tooth, you lose both the root and the crown. To replace the tooth, the surgeon first replaces the root with a small dental implant.

Time is allowed for bone to heal and grow around the dental implant. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth.  A support post (abutment) is then placed on the implant and a new replacement tooth (crown) is placed on top of the abutment. In many cases a temporary replacement tooth can be attached to the implant immediately after it is placed. If all of your teeth are missing, a variety of treatment options are available to support the replacement teeth.

Surgical Advances in Dental Implants

Dr. Pitcher stays current with the most recent advances in implant treatment planning and surgical techniques. He was the first in western New York to utilize X-Guide Navigation for image-guided placement of dental implants. Computer guidance has been shown to be far more accurate than placement of dental implants without a guide. Dr. Pitcher utilizes 3-dimensional imaging, digital impressions, and virtual surgical planning for guided surgery to simulate the way that the implant and tooth are going to look  in order to plan the ideal implant location. Depending on the situation, Dr. Pitcher has the ability to place same-day, immediate implants at the time of tooth extraction, single stage implants (which do not require a second procedure to uncover them), and is experienced in delivering immediate transitional restorations to temporarily replace missing teeth while the bone heals around the implant.

Dr. Pitcher performs the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting.  The restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. Dental implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. Dr. Pitcher promises to work very closely with your dentist to meet your expectations.

Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types Of Restorations?

There are several reasons: A dental bridge can sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge the space of the missing tooth/teeth. In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient, not to mention dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and rather embarrassing. Generally, people will lose 25% of their supporting jawbone structure within the first year after tooth loss. 

Implants act just like your natural teeth. They safeguard and preserve your bone structure, oral health and appearance.