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Neal A. Zabiegalski, Oral Surgery

(301) 862-5600



Dental Implants

Dental Implants are changing people’s lives. 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 function normally, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.

What Are Dental Implants?
The implants themselves are treaded titanium structures that act as tooth root substitutes. Over a six-month period, the bone integrates with the titanium, creating a strong foundation. Conical posts, called abutments, attach to the implant and protrude out of the gums. The visible part of the tooth is a ceramic crown (or cap) that is cemented down onto the custom abutment.

Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration called atrophy. when teeth are missing for more than a year bone atrophy can occur sometimes rapidly.


The Surgical Procedure

 For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within the jaw. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually integrating with the jaw bone. In most situations you should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time.

After the implant has integrated into the jaw, the second phase begins. Dr. Zabiegalski will uncover the implants and attach small posts that protrude through the gums. After 3-4 weeks of soft tissue healing your dentist may proceed with the prosthetic plan. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.

Surgical Advances

Our new I-Cat 3D imaging technology not only provides the utmost in imaging information, it also is tied to the latest CAD-CAM custom robotics technology for the fabrication of the final prosthetic teeth. In select cases, Dr. Zabiegalski 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 even situations where the implants can be placed at the same time as teeth extractions. “This teeth in a day approach is truly fascinating” -Steny Hoyer, Patient.

Dental implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. Dr. Zabiegalski performs the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting if necessary. The restorative 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.

For the most part, Dr. Zabiegalski perform in-office implant surgery. Inpatient hospital implant surgery is for patients who have special medical or anesthetic needs or for those who need extensive bone grafting taken from the jaw, hip or tibia.

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

A Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark was studying bone healing using a tiny electron microscope camera. The capsule of the camera was titanium and when he went back in to try to remove the camera he couldn’t get it to budge so he had to destroy it to get it out. From this failed research project, he observed that bone cells grew into the titanium surface and he coined the term “osseointegration”. With that twist of fate, Dr. Branemark opened the door to a lifetime of renewed comfort and self-confidence for millions of individuals facing the frustration and embarrassment of tooth loss.

Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types Of Restorations?
There are several reasons: Why sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge a space? In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient, not to mention that dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and rather embarrassing in public venues.

Are You A Candidate For Implants?
If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history reviewed. If your mouth is not ideal for implants, ways of improving outcome, such as bone grafting, may be recommended.

What Type Of Anesthesia Is Used?
The majority of dental implants and bone graft can be performed in the office with local anesthesia and/or IV sedation.

Do Implants Need Special Care?
Once the implants are in place, they typically serve you well for “30+ 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.