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“TEETH IN A DAY” has become a popular phrase with the main-stream media. There are organiza- It’s Your Smile tions and individuals promoting this treatment modality but many people do not fully understand what this means. The most common question: “Is it really teeth in a day?” The short answer is no. Teeth in a Day? By Dr. Jernell Escobar Dr. Escobar has been practicing dentistry in the Bay Area since 2006. She took over Dr. Palmerlee’s practice when he retired in 2012. She is passionate about providing exceptional oral health care in a patient centered environment. Dr. Escobar participates in continuing education seminars with other leading clinicians in exploring new and innovative methods and materials for restoring smiles. T he replacement of missing or broken teeth with a dental prosthesis (your new teeth) in one visit is the essence of the definition of “teeth in a day.” This process typically involves the utilization of dental implants to secure the dental prosthesis. However, the process leading up to this day can require multiple trips to both the restoring dentist as well as the surgeon. In order to properly prepare for “teeth in a day,” the dentist and the dental surgeon must determine if you are even a candidate for the surgery. This involves dental records and x-rays. In many cases, 3D or tomographic x-rays are requested to evaluate the quantity and the quality of bone available for restoration as well as determining the proximity of vital structures, such as nerves, to the proposed surgical site. In circumstances where there is insufficient quantity or quality of bone necessary for the procedure, additional treatments, such as bone grafting may be suggested before you can proceed with your “teeth in a day” surgery. As you can see, “teeth in a day” has now become “teeth in many days.” It cannot be overemphasized, however, that it is imperative that you do not cut corners in this pre-surgical phase. After reading this, if you decide that you are ready for “teeth in a day,” let’s break down what a typical series of appointments might look like leading up to the day of surgery. Your first appointment will usually be with the general or restoring dentist. At this appoint- ment, the dentist will do a full exam and x-rays to determine your current oral condition. At this point, you and the restoring dentist need to have a question and answer session about the treatment and a discussion about your expectations at the conclusion of treatment. This will give the dentist the opportunity to explain, based on his/her findings, if they GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 believe that they can meet or exceed your expectations. Your second appointment will be with the surgeon. The surgeon will do a full exam and will order any additional x-rays he/ she feels are required to complete the surgery. The third appointment will be with the restoring dentist. At this appointment, all necessary records will be taken, in order to fab- ricate your prosthesis. The fourth appointment will be the day of surgery and the delivery of your “teeth in a day.” After the delivery of your new teeth, it is important to mention that you are typically not receiving the final but an interim or temporary prosthesis. The interim prosthesis typically looks very good and will be a dramatic change for the patient. The reason for this is that when teeth are removed, the jaw structure changes. In the absence of teeth, the jaw has the tendency to shrink and it is impos- sible to predict how much. In addition, when implants are utilized to secure the prosthesis, there is a period of time known as integration when the implants become even more firmly anchored in bone. Once this occurs and the jawbone stabilizes, new records are taken and the final prosthesis is fabricated and delivered. Therefore, from the first appointment with the restoring dentist to your “teeth in a day” surgery, the time lapse could be two to four weeks. However, from your first visit to the delivery of your final restoration the time lapse could be five to eight months. It is also important to mention that regular visits to your dental professional are still necessary to maintain your