By Alexander Germanis
The towering redwood trees in California, the Grand Canyon, and our teeth have two things in common: they are all meant to last, and, in order to do that, they all took a long time to develop.
Although it has long been the belief that anything meant to last takes time, Emil Verban, Jr., DDS, will say that is no longer always the case.
While our natural teeth may take time to grow, some replacement dental implants require far less time.
“We live in a society where everybody wants everything done yesterday. So, you see these commercials on television where you can get implants done in one day,” Dr. Verban says. “In some cases and some scenarios, that can be achieved. Advancements in technology have meant changes in the implant surfaces and the thread design of the implant make it more stable. So, in many cases, you can place the implant and make the tooth all in the same day.”
It has not always been that way, of course. At the advent of the dental implant in the 1980s and early 90s, once a tooth was extracted to make way for the implant, patient and dentist had to wait six months for the jawbone to heal before placing the actual implant base in the bone. Back then, Dr. Verban explains, there was also another six-month wait before one could finally restore the tooth.
While that year-long wait is, thankfully, largely a thing of the past, there are still some situations where time is still needed to better ensure a stable, permanent implant. Single tooth implants, for instance, are far more difficult to do in one day.
“When you have two or three implants, you can splint those implants together,” Dr. Verban explains. “Then you're able to make the teeth the same day. There is a technique where teeth can be removed and multiple implants can be placed. A prosthesis is made and placed on the implants; that can be placed all on the same day.”
The prosthesis could be for more than just two or three teeth, of course; sometimes it can be for an entire mouth. One of Dr. Verban’s patients had lost a lot of bone in their jaw and, therefore, all of their teeth were failing. “What we did was remove all of the other teeth and did a workup on them where we decided what we wanted the new teeth to look like — leaving one tooth in as a reference point. We cut all the other teeth off the model, set those up, and then had something made that we could place in their mouth the same day.”
In another example, a patient had four lower teeth that could not be saved. “We had something made for them and extracted all four of their lower teeth. We positioned our implants and then made something that fit over the top of these new implants all in the same day. When they walked out, they had these improved teeth. But the concept of teeth in a day is where there is not one, but multiple teeth.”
It also does not necessarily mean the one-day teeth are the final, permanent product. “What happens in those situations is you wear a provisional or a temporary prosthesis for three to four months,” he continues. The purpose of the provisional teeth is to work out any problems that may reveal themselves in the first month after implantation. Poor fitting, imperfect shape of the teeth, and misalignment can all be worked out with the temporary bridge, thus ensuring a more perfect, permanent prosthesis.
A month after implant placement, when the stitches have been absorbed and the mouth has healed, the patient returns. An impression is taken and new abutments are made. The final prosthesis — a new porcelain bridge — is made, cemented in the mouth and the process is truly complete.
Dr. Verban knows from experience that one-day implants are not for everyone or for every occasion. “Thinking and choosing in what instance that approach is used is critical to your success,” he assures. When it comes to your teeth, taking a little extra time to make sure it is done right will certainly be worth it.
Read “Treatment of Choice, Part 4,” in next month’s Healthy Cells to learn about how looking to the future is often necessary before placing even a single implant. If you missed the previous articles in this series, you can read them online at www.HealthyCellsBN.com or call Cheryl at 309-664-2524.
For more information, you may contact Emil Verban, Jr., DDS at 309-662-8448 or visit www.mcleancountydental.comBy Alexander Germanis. McLean County Dental is located at 2103 E. Washington Street in Bloomington. Dr. Verban provides his patients both general dentistry expertise and the ability to provide specialized services such as sedation dentistry, cosmetic procedures, and dental implants.
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