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OGDEN DENTIST MAY BE 1ST IN UTAH TO USE FASTER IMPLANT METHOD

An Ogden dentist may be the first in the state to use a new faster method of replacing teeth with permanent implants.

The procedure, called the Sargon immediate load implant, was approved for marketing in October by the Food and Drug Administration. The inventor has been using it for seven years, and Dr. Max Malan, an Ogden surgeon and restorative dentist, is the first dentist in Utah to perform the surgery, according to his office manager.The procedure was invented by California dentist Sargon Lazarof.

Malan learned the procedure from Lazarof and recently went to Saudi Arabia to teach the technique to dentists there. The implants, he said, are appealing to patients because they take less time than do other types of im-plants.

Other implants take four to six months to complete because dentists must wait for bone to heal. The new procedure takes about an hour, and permanent porcelain crowns can be placed a week to 10 days later.

During a simple surgery, the gum is cut, extra soft tissue is removed, and a hole is made in the jaw bone. Once it's determined that the new tooth will align with other remaining teeth, a titanium alloy screw is inserted directly into the jawbone. When the screw is turned, the base of the screw expands four ways and mechanically locks into the bone.

Cost for the new implants is about $1,700 to $1,800 per tooth, which is more costly than alternative methods. But Malan said the new method reduces the number of office visits for which the patient normally would be billed.

In addition, because the process is considered more a medical than a dental procedure, many insurance companies pay for the procedure.

Kenna Tanner of Grouse Creek, 67, said her insurance company covered about 90 percent of the total cost when she received an implant to replace dentures on her lower jaw.

"Before, my palate kind of slipped around, and it even affected my speaking some," Tanner said. "But I don't have a sore mouth anymore, and I can chew my food better. If anything, it has enhanced the taste."

Julene Schweppe of Salt Lake City, 35, received an implant in January.

Schweppe's condition involved a baby tooth that was grown into the jawbone, with no permanent tooth underneath.

"I didn't want a bridge, I just wanted an implant," Schweppe said. "It was like an immediate fix to that tooth. It's permanent, so I don't have to worry about it anymore."