As a result of advanced periodontal disease, tooth decay, trauma or congenital reasons a patient may be missing one or more of their natural teeth.
The science of dental implants involves a thorough understanding of the bone and soft tissue biology of the mouth. Dr. Gay’s three year postdoctoral training in periodontology makes her specially equipped to handle the complexities and potential complications involved with placing a dental implant in the jaw of a patient.
She specializes only in the placement of the implant, which does not include restoring the implant with the artificial tooth crown, bridge or denture. This allows her to focus professionally on the surgical aspect of dental implants.
Dr. Gay has been placing dental implants for over 15 years.
What Is a Dental Implant?
Impressive advances in dental technology allow dentists to functionally replace a missing tooth by placing a prosthetic tooth into the jaw of a patient.
The artificial “root” of the replacement tooth is the dental implant. In most cases the dental implant is made of commercially pure titanium. Titanium, it was discovered, is accepted by and integrated into bone. It was this discovery that makes dental implants possible and is known as osseointegration.
Dr. Gay also places metal free zirconium dental implants.
When placing implants several considerations are reviewed by Dr. Gay. Vital structures such as the nerves, the sinus and the shape and dimensions of bone must be examined and identified.
Adequate bone volume is needed to successfully support the placement of the dental implant. If there is not enough bone to place the implant, bone grafting or sinus lifting can done to provide adequate support prior to placing the implant.
Other considerations include the overall health of the patient, the health of surrounding teeth, the bite, the existence of any infection and the assessment of the loading forces that the implant may experience.
A Team Effort
These considerations are often discussed with the patient’s restorative dentist, along with any other specialists involved in treatment.
There are several factors that affect implant success, including the experience and skill of the implant dentist, adequate bone volume, post-surgical care, patient hygiene, personal habits (smoking) and compliance.
Dr. Gay uses several sophisticated tools to evaluate dental implants, including the Osstell ISQ, which measures sound wave resonance to determine how well the implant has integrated into the bone. The patient does not hear or feel any sensation and it takes only seconds.
The successful replacement of missing teeth with a dental implant has many benefits. Replacing a diseased tooth with a dental implant removes a source of infection from the body, which benefits the general health of the patient.
Bone loss is associated with missing teeth, and a dental implant helps protect against further bone loss in the area of the implant. The prosthetic tooth can also restore the proper function of the patient’s bite and reduce loading on adjacent teeth.
Another positive benefit is self esteem. Today’s dental implants look great and are indistinguishable from natural teeth. Restoring the beauty of a smile can make someone feel great about how they look.