An implant is a titanium "root" which can be placed into the jawbone. Once integrated with your bone, the implant can be used to support a crown, a bridge, or secure a complete denture. Dental implants may be used to eliminate partial plates and dentures. Implants have been used successfully for over thirty years, have a high success rate and function and feel like your natural teeth. Dental implants are now the standard of care for replacing missing teeth. Dental implant treatment represents a slightly greater investment than conventional treatment; however, the benefits of implant therapy for most patients outweigh the minor additional cost involved.
There are many benefits to receiving a dental implant over other forms of treatment:
- Neighboring teeth do not have to be compromised
- Implants allow you to keep your jaw structure
- They look and feel like natural teeth
- Dental Implants can replace partials and are used to secure loose dentures
There are actually two phases to implant dentistry.
Phase 1: Using very accurate surgical techniques, an incision is made in the gum tissues and implants are placed into dimensionally controlled sites (depth and width) in the jawbone.
First, the gum tissue is opened and the jaw bone is tapped with a small drill and then drilled with a wider drill. The implant is inserted into place. The gum tissues are then closed and the healing phase begins. This may take anywhere from 3-6 months to ensure a strong base.
Phase 2: An abutment is secured to the top of the implant placing a new tooth crown onto the implant abutment. Implants can replace a single tooth, several teeth or your dentures.
Do you have missing teeth? It is critically important to replace missing teeth. Eating and chewing with missing teeth can sabotage your bite and lead to incessant discomfort. Missing teeth can give rise to a mouth rearrangement that often results in facial changes that look decrepit. If a tooth is missing or has been extracted for any reason, a single implant can be used to replace the missing tooth. The implant is placed into the bone of the jaw and acts as the new tooth root. After the bone has healed over the implant, an abutment can be placed on the implant and a crown can then be attached. This method of tooth replacement looks and feels like natural teeth.
In many situations it is possible to remove the diseased and/or loose teeth and replace them with dental implants at the same time. In almost all situations simultaneous bone grafting is completed. This method of treatment reduces the number of surgical visits. It also speeds up the entire process enabling the implants to be ready to receive (caps/crowns) more quickly.
Multiple tooth implants may be placed if you need or desire to permanently replace an extracted or lost tooth. Titanium implant bases are placed into the jawbone to replace the job of the tooth roots. We allow a period of time to allow for the jawbone to heal over the bases before fitting for a crown. Next, abutments are screwed into the bases of the implants to allow crowns to be attached. Finally, custom fabricated crowns are placed over the abutments and will function like a real tooth.
In many circumstances, all of the upper or lower remaining teeth need to be removed due to advanced periodontal disease and/or dental decay. One approach is a full upper or lower plate; however, this treatment modality is not recommended. The treatment of choice is to replace the upper or lower teeth with caps that are in place permanently and supported by dental implants. A common goal of treatment is to have (12 teeth caps) supported by 8 implants. The 4 caps that are not supported by the implants are connected to adjacent implant-supported caps. With this optimal approach, the maximum amount of bone is preserved.
Mini dental implants (MDI) were developed in order to provide greater denture stability for those patients who:
1) Cannot withstand the rigors of conventional dental implant surgery.
2) Do not have enough bone to allow full-size implants to be placed.
3) Are in on-going therapy from one prosthetic system to another.
The head of the mini implants are shaped like a ball, and the retaining fixture acts like a socket that contains a rubber o-ring. The o-ring snaps over the ball when the denture is seated and holds the denture at a predetermined level of force.
Mini implants can generally be placed start to finish in one to two visits. There is no waiting time for the bone to heal. In many cases, mini implants are placed and the patient walks out with their dentures secured on the same day.
This implant technique, is the optimal solution for those who have lost or are about to lose all of their upper and/or lower teeth. It's a procedure that comes closest to having a new set of permanent teeth.
This prosthesis is used in special situations for patients who have enough bone in the anterior regions of the lower or upper jaws, but limited amount of bone in the posterior regions and are not candidates for extensive bone grafting.