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Q: What is involved in getting a dental implant?

A: When a person is interested in replacing one or more missing teeth, the dentist may suggest replacement with an implant.  In fact, implants are considered the standard of care for replacement of teeth which have been lost due to decay, periodontal disease or trauma. Many general dentists place implants at their own offices, while others may refer their implant patients for the surgical aspect to an oral surgeon or periodontist.
 
To determine if a person is a candidate for implant therapy, the dentist will assess the health of the patient and gather records to evaluate the availability and quality of bone, the proximity of structures such as nerves and sinuses, as well as the willingness and ability of the person to clean and maintain the implants.  People who are in poor general health or with conditions such as osteoporosis may not be candidates for implant placement.  Those with poor oral hygiene and an unwillingness to alter this behavior would not be good prospects, and smoking may diminish the potential for success as well.
 
The procedure for placing the implant involves the use of local anesthetic (novocaine) to allow for painless preparation of the bone to receive the titanium implant.  After the bone is prepared, the implant is gently tapped or turned into the bone.  In most cases, the implant will be allowed to heal to the bone for 3-4 months, at which time the implant will be uncovered by means of a minor surgical procedure (possibly with a laser).  The dentist will then place a titanium post or fixture into the implant and make impressions for the construction of the crown and bridge, or removable prosthesis.  All of this is accomplished through a clean, safe and comfortable procedure which yields a very high success and satisfaction rate and a long term solution for replacing missing teeth.

Dr. Aldino L. Pierotti, III

Robert Luther, Jr., DMD, can be reached at (412) 788-6300 or visit www.pittsburghlaserdentist.com


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