A dental implant is considered to be the most effective way to replace a missing tooth.
Losing a tooth is always a last resort, but unfortunately it does happen. The good news is that a fully restored dental implant looks and feels like having your old tooth back! A dental implant itself is a surgical component that interfaces with the bone of the jaw or skull to support a dental prosthesis such as a crown, bridge, or denture. The basis for modern dental implants is a biologic process called osseointegration, in which the titanium implant forms an intimate bond to the bone. The implant itself is first placed though a guided surgery technique and then a dental prosthetic is added after healing has occured.
A variable amount of healing time (typically 4-6 months) is required for osseointegration before the dental prosthetic (a crown, bridge or denture) is attached to the implant. We strive to stay current with all the latest developments in dental implants, and our doctors attend multiple courses, seminars, and study clubs focused on dental implants!
Success or failure of implants depends on the health of the person receiving the treatment, and the health of the tissues in the mouth. The amount of stress that will be put on the implant and fixture during normal function is also evaluated. Planning the position and number of implants is key to the long-term health of the prosthetic. The position of implants is determined by the position and angle of adjacent teeth, by lab simulations using computed tomography with CAD/CAM simulations and surgical guides called stents. The prerequisites for long-term success of dental implants are healthy bone and gingiva. Since both can atrophy after tooth extraction, pre-prosthetic procedures such as sinus lifts or gingival grafts are sometimes required to recreate ideal bone and gingiva.
The final prosthetic can be either fixed, where a person cannot remove the denture or teeth from their mouth, or removable, where they can remove the prosthetic. In each case an abutment is attached to the implant fixture. Where the prosthetic is fixed, the crown, bridge or denture is fixed to the abutment either with lag screws or with dental cement. Where the prosthetic is removable, a corresponding adapter is placed in the prosthetic so that the two pieces can be secured together.
Replacing missing teeth with dental implants is considered to be the most like having your natural teeth. It can be a lengthy and complicated process, so we offer free consultations to discuss any questions you may have about dental implants!