Dr. Serge Lokot grew up here in the San Fernando Valley. He attended Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, then went on to attended the University of Southern California where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Pre-Dental. He continued his education at the USC School of Dentistry to earn his Doctorate of Dental Surgery. During dental school, Dr. Lokot was elected class president for two of the four years he attended. This was where he discovered his interest in Oral Surgery. He spent a significant amount of time in the oral surgery clinic, as well as completing multiple externships at some of the country’s top hospitals.
After dental school, Dr. Lokot accepted a residency position at the prestigious University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital. During his 5 years of residency, Dr. Lokot had wide-ranging experience in dealing with the most medically and surgically complex patients. A hospital based residency provided him a complete surgical experience, ranging from complex dental implant procedures and extractions on medically compromised patients to facial trauma and repair of large maxillofacial defects. He also underwent extensive anesthesia training during this time. Dr Lokot was on the forefront of the latest advances in tissue engineering as well as the treatment of Medication Induced Osteonecrosis of the Jaws (MIONJ/BIONJ). Dr. Lokot served as Chief Resident and earned the Surgical Leadership Award that was presented by his faculty for his continued dedication to advancing the field or Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown. If you compare natural teeth to implant-supported replacement teeth, you’ll see they have the same basic parts. Both have a crown (the visible part used to chew food). Both have a root that holds the tooth securely under the gum and is anchored into the jaw. The difference is that the implant is made of titanium – the same time-tested material used by surgeons for artificial joints. When you lose a tooth, you lose both the root and the crown. To replace the tooth, the surgeon first replaces the root with a small dental implant.
Time is allowed for bone to heal and grow around the dental implant. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. A support post (abutment) is then placed on the implant and a new replacement tooth (crown) is placed on top of the abutment. In many cases a temporary replacement tooth can be attached to the implant immediately after it is placed. If all of your teeth are missing, a variety of treatment options are available to support the replacement teeth.
Single Tooth Dental Implants
Your teeth affect your whole body. When they’re healthy, you’re healthier too. A missing tooth can affect your bite, speech and eating choices. As you rely more on your remaining teeth, you increase the chance they will wear out prematurely, or be damaged or lost. You may also experience headaches and/or jaw pain.
Who would want their appearance and health to deteriorate? That’s the natural consequence of missing teeth – the jaw literally melts away. Generally, people will lose 25% of their supporting jawbone structure within the first year after tooth loss. Dental implants are more easily placed when teeth are first extracted because bone replacement becomes more complex as time passes. The great news? Implants act just like your natural teeth. They safeguard and preserve your bone structure, oral health and appearance. Your dentist and the implant surgeon will provide you with options so that you can make the most informed decision concerning tooth replacement.
Overview of Implant Placement
The procedure to place a dental implant takes 30 to 60 minutes for one implant and only 2 to 3 hours for multiple implants. The number of appointments and time required, vary from patient to patient. The surgeon will bring great precision and attention to the details of your case.
Prior to surgery, you may receive antibiotics and for greater comfort, intravenous sedation or nitrous oxide (laughing gas). These options are discussed with you at your consultation appointment. A local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area where the dental implant will be placed.
When you are comfortable, the surgeon makes a small incision in the gum tissue to reveal the bone, creates space using special instruments, and gently inserts the titanium implant. The top of this implant is often visible through the gum. Sometimes it is better in the early stages of healing to have the implant covered by the gum tissue.
Full Mouth Dental Implants
Replacement Teeth for Those Missing All Upper & Lower Teeth
Although many patients have no problem wearing an upper denture, some people find it difficult to wear and eat with lower dentures. Several implant-supported replacement options are available if you are missing all of your lower teeth.
Ball Attachment Denture
One option is to have two implants placed in your lower jaw and a denture made that snaps onto these implants. This option allows your lower denture to be more stable while chewing than without implants. However, there will still be movement of your lower denture, and sore spots will occur if any food particles, especially seeds, are caught under it. As with all removable replacement teeth, you still will need periodic appointments for denture adjustment.
Screw Retained Denture
A third option involves placing five or more implants in your jaw and attaching a permanent denture. Your denture is held in place by screws or clasps that secure it to the support posts or bar. It doesn’t touch the gum tissue, which allows you to clean under the denture without removing it. This denture will replace all your missing lower teeth and will not be removed except at maintenance visits. Although cleaning under your denture without removing it is more time consuming and requires more dexterity, many patients who want a permanent denture prefer this option.
The final option is to have all your teeth individually replaced so that they will appear to be growing out of your gum tissue and will most closely resemble the appearance of your natural teeth. This option usually requires eight or more implants. Separate abutments or support posts for each one of these implants will be made and crowns for each missing tooth will be placed. The teeth are often joined together for sinus grafting to replace bone height strength and support. Overall, this is the most costly option, because it requires the most implants and individual replacement tooth fabrication. Your replacement options may also be limited by the current size and shape of your jawbone.
Bone Grafting for Implants
After tooth extraction, if the walls of the socket are very thick, they will usually fill naturally with bone in two to three months. However, when the walls of your socket are very thin (such as in your upper and lower front teeth), this type of healing will not be as predictable. In these situations, a bone graft is often placed at the time of tooth extraction to help your body fill in the empty socket with bone. This step will maintain the width and volume of bone you will need for implant placement several months later.
There may be inadequate bone for implant placement if your tooth was removed many years ago and your bony ridge is extremely thin. In this case, a bone graft can be placed next to the thin bone and allowed to heal for up to six months. After the graft has fused to your pre-existing bone, the ridge will be re-entered and the implant placed. Bone grafting is usually a relatively comfortable office procedure. Many different bone-grafting materials are available, including your own bone.
Implant Supported Overdenture
An Implant Supported Overdenture is a contemporary restoration that has revolutionized the way surgeons and dentists think of replacing a full set of teeth. Standard dentures are unsecured prostheses with inherent limitations. Most often, dentures are painful, inconvenient and unstable. Such dentures can make chewing foods difficult, limiting the foods that you once enjoyed. Modern dentistry can help with implant supported dentures.
The Implant Supported Overdenture treatment concept replaces your missing teeth with a full dental bridge supported by dental implants.Fewer implants are needed and overall treatment time and cost is reduced. An Implant Supported Overdenture solution also ensures greater stability in the bone, reducing the need for bone graft surgery to increase bone volume. Implant-supported overdentures stay connected with bar and clip attachment methods or use a variety of abutment-based attachments (ball, magnets, and resilient stud attachments such as Locators). The most appropriate attachment system for your individual needs relates to a variety of factors that are determined early in the treatment.
Implant Supported Overdentures offer you many advantages:
- A cost effective solution. When compared to some other implant supported restoration methods, your new replacement teeth require fewer implants for each jaw. With fewer implants required, the cost is lowered.
- Reduced need for bone grafting. The special angled placement of two of the implants ensures a secure and stable anchorage for the replaced arch, often making bone grafting unnecessary.
- Faster treatment and healing time. Your replacement arch can be attached to your implants immediately after insertion.