Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements that were first developed half a century ago by a Swedish scientist named Per-Ingvar Branemark. Implants arose from the patient's need to secure loose-fitting dentures. Since the advent of the implant, engineering and enhancements to the implant have enabled dentists to expand the implant's usefulness, including the replacement of missing or lost teeth. Today, implant techniques provide a wide range of tooth replacement solutions including:
- Single Tooth Replacement
- Anterior Replacement
- Posterior Replacement
- Full Upper Replacement
Types of Implants
There are three main types of implants:
- The root implant
- The plate form implant
- The subperiosteal implant
The root implant—by far, the most popular—is the most effective because it mirrors the size and shape of a patient's natural tooth. This implant is often as strong as the patient's original tooth. The implant or artificial root is placed into the jawbone under local anesthesia, then allowed to heal and integrate with the bone. Once the healing process is completed and the jawbone is attached to the implant, the patient returns to the dental office where the implant is fitted with the new tooth. This process generally takes anywhere from three to eight months.
The plate form implant is ideal in situations where the jawbone is not wide enough to properly support a root implant. The plate form implant is long and thin, unlike the root implant, and anchors into thin jawbones. It is inserted the same way as a root implant. In certain cases, the plate form implant is immediately fitted with the restoration without waiting for the healing process to run its course.
The subperiosteal implant is used when the jawbone has receded to the point where it can no longer support a permanent implant.
Benefits of Implant-Supported Bridge or Overdenture:
- Maintains the integrity of the facial structures by preserving the remaining bone.
- Increased stability restores natural chewing ability and improves mastication and digestion.
- Eliminates pain of ill-fitting dentures and the need for adhesives.
- Restores lost lip support, minimizing wrinkles around the mouth.
- There is an option to leave the palate uncovered with an upper implant supported overdenture, which reduces the loss of temperature sensitivity.
If it is not possible to construct a fixed prosthesis for your jaw, a removable overdenture may be designed to fit over the implants. While it is removable by you, it can be secured to the abutments by various types of attachments or magnets.
Single Tooth Implant
By placing a single tooth implant, we can restore the beauty of your smile in two phases:
After numbing your mouth, we will surgically implant the tooth in your gums. Once the implant is fit snugly in place, we will close the incision with a stitch. Over the next few weeks, the implant securely attaches itself to the jawbone.
To prepare the implant for the crown, we will re-expose it, by making an incision in your gums to bring it above the gumline.
Once the implant is in place, we are ready to make your new crown. The process for fabricating a permanent crown varies from patient to patient. By making impressions of your mouth, we will make accurate working models to ensure proper alignment. Utilizing these models, we will carefully tailor your crown and place it on top of the implant.
Regular check-ups and proper home care ensures the success of your new restoration.
Immediate Implant Placement
In the past, it took several months to replace a missing tooth with an implant. Thanks to new advances in the dental field, we can, in most cases, place an implant and a temporary crown on the same day.
Once we extract the tooth, we will reshape the site to receive the implant. After attaching an extension to the implant, we will cement a temporary crown on top of the implant. To ensure your bite is comfortable, we will carefully adjust the crown. While the implant attaches to the bone, you should eat a soft diet and avoid chewing on the temporary crown over the next several months.
The process for fabricating a permanent crown varies from patient to patient. Once we remove the temporary crown, we will make impressions of your mouth. We will then fabricate accurate working models of your mouth to ensure proper alignment. Utilizing these models, we will carefully tailor your crown and place it on top of the implant.
Regular check-ups and proper home care ensures the success of your new implant.