Dental Implants

Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything knowing that the implants appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.

What Are Dental Implants?

The dental implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts that protrude through the gums are then attached to the implant. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.

Important: Treatment planning is the cornerstone to successful implant dentistry. Record taking, photos, 3D x-rays, intermediate prosthetics or immediate load require a team approach with the restorative surgeon. Implant dentistry is unique because it starts at the final treatment goal and works to achieve that goal. The oral surgeon, who is ultimately responsible for the final results, is key to the treatment planning.

Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.

The Surgical Procedure

For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first eight to 12 weeks following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums, or have a healing cap that protrudes through the gum. This allows gradual bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. At the same time, your surgeon is forming new replacement teeth.

After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Dr. Hecht will uncover the implants and attach small posts, which protrude through the gums and act as anchors for the artificial teeth. When the artificial teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.

Surgical Advances

Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Dr. Hecht is able to place single-stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require a minimum of six weeks of healing time before artificial teeth are placed. There are situations in which the implants can be placed at the same time as a tooth extraction, further minimizing the number of surgical procedures. Advances in dental implant technology have made it possible, in select cases, to extract teeth and place implants with crowns during a single visit.

Implants are a team effort between an oral/maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. While Dr. Hecht performs the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions and bone grafting if necessary, the restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.

What Types of Prosthesis Are Available?

A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing tooth. Each prosthetic tooth attaches to its own implant. A partial prosthesis (fixed bridge) can replace two or more teeth and may require only two or three implants. A complete dental prosthesis (fixed bridge) replaces all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended. A removable prosthesis (over denture) attaches to a bar or ball in socket attachments, whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by the dentist.

Dr. Hecht performs in-office implant surgery in a hospital-style operating suite, thus optimizing the level of sterility. Inpatient hospital implant surgery is for patients who have special medical or anesthetic needs or for those who need extensive bone grafting from the jaw, hip or tibia.

Why Dental Implants?

Once you learn about dental implants, you realize you can improve your life. When you lose several teeth, whether it’s a new situation or something you have lived with for years, chances are you have never become fully accustomed to losing such a vital part of yourself.

Dental implants can be your doorway to renewed self-confidence and peace of mind.

A Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, developed this concept for oral rehabilitation more than 35 years ago.  With his pioneering research, Dr. Branemark opened the door to a lifetime of renewed comfort and self-confidence for millions of people facing the frustration and embarrassment of tooth loss.

Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types of Restorations?

There are several reasons: It is better not to sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge a space. In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient, while dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and embarrassing.

Are You a Candidate for Implants?

If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history must be reviewed. If your mouth is not ideal for implants, we can look at other ways of improving your situation, such as bone grafting.

What Type of Anesthesia Is Used?

The majority of dental implants and bone grafts can be performed in our office under local anesthesia or with general anesthesia.

Do Implants Need Special Care?

Once the implants are placed, they serve you well for many years if you take care of them and keep your mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dental specialists.

Teeth-In-A- Day™

TEETH-IN-A-DAY™ is a revolutionary concept providing patients with fully functioning teeth on dental implants in one single procedure that lasts about an hour. This technology was recently developed by Nobel Biocare, and allows for collaboration between both the restorative doctor and the oral surgeon. This merging of knowledge and experience achieves not only increased safety, but also a more precise implant placement. In addition, the fabrication of a final prosthesis is completed prior to the surgery. The computer-guided implant surgery is done in an arthroscopic fashion without requiring any flap reflection. This benefits the patient in that there is less post-operative discomfort, less swelling and less bruising. Patients can often resume their normal activities the next day.

The process starts with a CAT scan of the patient’s jawbone. This CAT scan generates a three-dimensional model of the jawbone that is used in virtual reality software to plan the implant placement without the patient needing to be present. The results are more accurate implant placement and less chair-time for the patient at the surgery office.


It is critical that the bone be completely remodeled around the dental implants to maximize stability prior to attaching replacement teeth. The Osstell® system will measure the stability of the implants, which enhances Dr. Hecht’s ability to more precisely determine the timing of the treatment sequence for each patient, and ultimately the predictability of the outcome.