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Implant Dentistry

Dr. Richard Krawczyk | Palm Harbor Dentist
Dental implants can replace a single tooth, several teeth or all of them. Dental implants are surgically placed into the jawbone where they act as an anchor for replacement teeth. A dental implant looks and feels like a natural tooth, allowing you to chew and speak just like you did before. Dental implants can also be used to anchor a bridge or dentures into place. If you need to have all of your teeth replaced, implant-supported dentures are ideal, providing more stability than traditional dentures and costing less than a complete set of single dental implants.

The dental implant procedure is usually a three-step process requiring oral surgery that is provided by your dentist, a prosthodontist or an oral surgeon. During the first step of dental treatment, your dentist drills a hole into the jawbone and a titanium implant is screwed into place. This portion of your dental implant treatment might sound painful, but most patients are comfortable with just local anesthesia. (If necessary, sedation dentistry can be used for anxious patients.) At the end of the procedure, the gum is secured over the dental implant, which will remain covered long enough for it to undergo the process of osseointegration, when the implant actually fuses to the bone. Osseointegration usually takes three to six months. As with any dental surgery, you may experience some mild discomfort as the dental implant heals. 

Dental implant surgery replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function like natural ones. How dental implant surgery is performed depends on the type of dental implants you need and the condition of your jawbone. But all dental implant surgery occurs in stages and involves several procedures. The entire process can take a few months.

Just like any surgery, the dental implant procedure will be more successful if you are healthy. That means practicing excellent oral hygiene, eating well and not smoking. Patients must also maintain a significant amount of jaw bone to support dental implants. 

Dr. Richard Krawczyk | Palm Harbor Dentist
Cone Beam Technology

Cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) is the dental equivalent of a conventional medical CT scan, with a few notable differences. X-ray radiation exposure with CBCT is significantly less than that for medical CT scans -- up to 10 times less! The CBCT scans themselves take much less time to perform. And while medical CT scanners are quite large and usually restricted to hospitals or dedicated diagnostic imaging centers, CBCT scanners are smaller and are often available right in your dentist's office.

Having a CBCT scan doesn't hurt. Although there are several different models, most units are square-like machines with a chair. You will be asked to sit in a normal, upright-seated position with your chin resting in a chin cup while a C-shaped arm rotates around your head. While the images are being taken, you will need to keep your eyes closed and remain as still as possible. The entire process takes less than a minute.