A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.
Types of dental implants
Endosteal (in the bone):
This is the most commonly used type of implant. The various types include screws, cylinders or blades surgically placed into the jawbone. Each implant holds one or more prosthetic teeth. This type of implant is generally used as an alternative for patients with bridges or removable dentures.
Subperiosteal (on the bone):
These are placed on top of the jaw with the metal framework’s posts protruding through the gum to hold the prosthesis. These types of implants are used for patients who are unable to wear conventional dentures and who have minimal bone height.
Are you a candidate for dental implants?
The ideal candidate for a dental implant is in good general and oral health. Adequate bone in your jaw is needed to support the implant. The best candidates have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease.
Dental implants are intimately connected with the gum tissues and underlying bone in the mouth. Since periodontists are the
dental experts who specialize in precisely these areas, they are ideal members of your dental implant team. Not only do periodontists have experience working with other dental professionals, but they also have special knowledge, training, and facilities that you need to have teeth that look and feel just like your own. Your dentist and periodontist will work together to make your dreams come true.
What is dental implant procedure like?
This procedure is a team effort between you, your dentist and your periodontist. Your periodontist and dentist will consult with you to determine where and how your implant should be placed. Depending on your specific condition and the type of implant chosen, your periodontist will create a treatment plan tailored to meet your needs.
Replacing a Single Tooth- If you are missing a single tooth, one implant and a crown can replace it.
Replacing Several Teeth – If you are missing several teeth, implant-supported bridges can replace them.
Replacing All of Your Teeth – If you are missing all of your teeth, an implant-supported full bridge or full denture can replace them.
Sinus Augmentation- A key to implant success is the quantity and quality of the bone where the implant is to be placed. The upper back jaw has traditionally been one of the most difficult areas to successfully place dental implants due to insufficient bone quantity and quality and the close proximity to the sinus. Sinus augmentation can help correct this problem by raising the sinus floor and developing bone for the placement of dental implants.
Ridge Modification – Deformities in the upper or lower jaw can leave you with inadequate bone in which to place dental implants. To correct the problem, the gum is lifted away from the ridge to expose the bony defect. The defect is then filled with bone or bone substitute to build up the ridge. Ridge modification has been shown to greatly improve the appearance and increase your chances for successful implants that can last for years to come.
What can I expect after receiving a dental implant?
As you know, your own teeth require conscientious at-home oral care and regular dental visits. Dental implants are like your own teeth and will require the same care. In order to keep your implant clean and plaque-free, brushing and flossing still apply!
After treatment, we will work closely with you to develop the best care plan for you. Periodic follow-up visits will be scheduled to monitor your implant, teeth, and gums to make sure they are healthy.
Did you know that dental implants are frequently the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth?
Rather than resting on the gum line like removable dentures, or using adjacent teeth as anchors like fixed bridges, dental implants are long-term replacements that your oral and maxillofacial surgeon surgically places in the jawbone.
A Solution of Choice for Replacing Missing Teeth
Statistics show that 69% of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth to an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal or tooth decay. Furthermore, by age 74, 26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth.
Twenty years ago, these patients would have had no alternative but to employ a fixed bridge or removable denture to restore
their ability to eat, speak clearly and smile. Fixed bridges and removable dentures, however, are not the perfect solution and often bring with them a number of other problems. Removable dentures may slip or cause embarrassing clicking sounds while eating or speaking. Of even greater concern, fixed bridges often affect adjacent healthy teeth, and removable dentures may lead to bone loss in the area where the tooth or teeth are missing. Recurrent decay, periodontal (gum) disease and other factors often doom fixed bridgework to early failure. For these reasons, fixed bridges and removable dentures usually need to be replaced every seven to 15 years.
Today there is another option for patients who are missing permanent teeth. Rather than resting on the gum line like
removable dentures, or using adjacent teeth as anchors like fixed bridges, dental implants are long-term replacements that your oral and maxillofacial surgeon surgically places in the jawbone. Composed of titanium metal that “fuses” with the jawbone through a process called “osseointegration,” dental implants never slip or make embarrassing noises that advertise the fact that you have “false teeth,” and never decay like teeth anchoring fixed bridges. Because dental implants fuse with the jawbone, bone loss is generally not a problem.
After more than 20 years of service, the vast majority of dental implants first placed by our implantology continue to still
function at peak performance. More importantly, the recipients of those early dental implants are still satisfied they made the right choice. If properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime.
Anatomy of a Dental Implant
A dental implant designed to replace a single tooth is composed of three parts:
-the titanium implant, that fuses with the jawbone
-the abutment, which fits over the portion of the implant that protrudes from the gum line
-the crown, which is created by a prosthodontist or restorative dentist and fitted onto the abutment for a natural appearance.
Many people who are missing a single tooth opt for a fixed bridge; but a bridge may require the cutting down of healthy, adjacent teeth that may or may not need to be restored in the future. Then there is the additional cost of possibly having to replace the bridge once, twice or more over the course of a lifetime. Similarly, a removable partial denture may contribute to the loss of adjacent teeth. Studies show that within five to seven years there is a failure rate of up to 30% in teeth located next to a fixed bridge or removable partial denture.
Fixed bridges may require the shaping or cut down of adjacent healthy teeth.
Bone is maintained by the presence of natural teeth or implants (a). Bone loss occurs with the loss of teeth (b).
Further, conventional dentures may contribute to the loss of bone in the area where teeth are missing. As an illustration (a) indicates, the presence of natural teeth preserves the jawbone. When a tooth is missing, as in illustration (b), the bone may erode and weaken until it may be necessary for your oral and maxillofacial surgeon to graft bone to the area to strengthen it for placement of a dental implant.
When a missing tooth is replaced by a dental implant, the fusion, or osseointegration, of the implant and bone provides stability, just as the natural tooth did.
If you are missing several teeth in the same area of your mouth, you may still enjoy the confidence and lifestyle benefits that come with dental implants. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will place two or more dental implants, depending on the number of teeth that are missing. Your replacement teeth will be attached to the implants to allow excellent function and prevent bone loss. The implants will serve as a stable support that tightly locks into your replacement teeth and dentures to prevent slipping and bone loss.
With an overall success rate of about 95% and almost 50 years of clinical research to back them up, dental implants are frequently the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth.
Types of Dental Implant Procedures
Dental implants are structures meant to take the place of a missing tooth, restoring function and improving the aesthetics of your smile. There are many types of dental implants available. Most involve a titanium screw in the jawbone, which is used to anchor an artificial tooth (or ‘crown’) into the gap created by a missing tooth. Beyond this, there are several variations. If you are considering getting a dental implant to replace a missing tooth, explore your options so that you can make an informed decision about the best dental implant for your situation.
The term ‘dental implant’ actually refers only to the piece anchored to the bone. This is usually capped with a crown, artificial tooth, or bridge, in order to provide a natural appearance. Root form implants are the most common type of implant. These mimic the root of a natural tooth and are also known as a cylindrical or screw-type implant. Root form implants consist of a titanium screw that is inserted into a hole drilled in the jaw bone. They provide a strong anchor for the artificial tooth but require the patient to have adequate jawbone to provide a strong bond.
Dental Implant Procedure
Once inserted, a root form implant must be left to heal for three to six months to allow for osseointegration, the process by which the titanium screw bonds with the bone. Once healed, an extension or abutment is placed over the screw, allowing the dentist to attach your artificial tooth.
Plate Form implants, the second major type of dental implant, are usually recommended when the patient’s jaw bone is not suitable for root form implants. This long, flat implant is set into the narrow jawbone. Depending on its design, it may be ready for immediate placement of the artificial tooth, or a healing period may be required for osseointegration.
The third type of dental implant, known as subperiosteal implants, may be recommended if there is not enough jawbone for either of the above implant types. These are designed to sit underneath the gums, but directly on top of the bone, rather than the root form or plate form implants which are inserted into the bone itself.
There are two methods of implanting a subperiosteal implant. During the ‘dual surgery’ method, the dentist will first expose the jawbone and take an impression of the bone. Then, a dental lab creates a custom implant to fit the jawbone, which is necessary to form a strong anchor for the tooth. During a second surgery, the jawbone is again exposed, and the implant is placed over the bone. Then, the gums are closed with sutures. The artificial teeth may be put into place immediately, or the dentist may wait until the implant has fused with the bone.
The ‘single surgery’ method of placing subperiosteal implants avoids the need for a mold of the jawbone. Instead, the dentist orders a CAT scan of your jawbone. Using this data along with computer modeling, a model of your jawbone can be made, and the implant can be fabricated. The surgery needed to insert this implant is much the same as the second stage of the two-stage process.
So what’s the big difference?
Both dental bridges and implants are commonly used to fill the gap resulting from a missing tooth. They restore the look and function of the tooth. Both implants and bridges give people with missing teeth the opportunity to restore their smile. Which option is right for you depends on your goals and concerns, as each method has both advantages and disadvantages.
A dental implant is a titanium screw inserted into the jaw bone. This screw acts like the root of a tooth, securing an artificial tooth in place of the missing tooth.
The surgical procedure required to insert the screw can be time-consuming, and the surgery itself makes dental implants a poor option for some patients, such as those concerned about pain, healing time, or the thought of oral surgery.
After this procedure is complete, a dental implant looks like a natural tooth, even up close. It will blend in with the surrounding teeth and is sculpted to look like your natural teeth, both in shape and in color. This makes a dental implant the preferred option when replacing a tooth lost from the front of the mouth, where it will be more visible.
Dental implants, due to their structure, also function more like real teeth. They are anchored into the jaw bone and offer the same chewing force as a natural tooth. The implant itself is permanent, though the artificial tooth on top of the implant may need to be replaced from time to time. However, implants tend to have a higher upfront cost than bridges. If you have multiple missing teeth, this option may be cost-prohibitive. Some patients opt for a bridge because the cost of dental implants is too high.
A dental bridge crosses the gap created by a missing tooth without being anchored into the jaw bone. Instead, it is anchored to the surrounding teeth. This metal device is cemented onto the natural teeth at both sides of the gap. Literally ‘bridging’ this gap, a bridge provides an anchor for an artificial tooth. It does require preparation of the surrounding teeth, which are usually capped with crowns before the insertion of a bridge. As a result, it requires surrounding teeth that are fairly stable. On the other hand, it may not be preferred when the surrounding teeth are in exceptionally good condition.
The goal of a bridge, as with a dental implant, is an improvement in both function and appearance. However, an artificial tooth anchored by a bridge does not look quite like a natural tooth, nor does it have quite the same strength as an implant.
Despite these downsides, there are several advantages to using a bridge instead of an implant. First, the procedure to insert a bridge tends to be faster and less expensive than that required for an implant. As such, it is preferred by those who are concerned about the overall cost or just a general dislike of oral surgery.
In addition, a dental bridge may be preferred by those who cannot undergo dental implant surgeries for various reasons. Such reasons are health concerns or not having enough jaw bone to anchor the implant.
Dental Implants vs. Conventional Dentures
Implants can be used to replace one missing tooth so that the replacement looks and feels natural (a). Also, two or more implants can serve as a stable support for the replacement of many teeth (b).
Many patients who have selected dental implants describe a quality of life that is much more comfortable and secure than the lifestyle endured by those with fixed bridges or removable dentures.
Dentures often make a person feel and look older than they are. They cause embarrassment in social situations when they slip and click, restrict the everyday pleasure of eating comfortably.
When they count the benefits they enjoy as a result of their dental implants, patients say their implants eliminate the day-to-day frustrations and discomfort of ill-fitting dentures. They allow people to enjoy a healthy and varied diet without the restrictions many denture wearers face. With a sense of renewed self-confidence, many people rediscover the excitement of an active lifestyle shared with family and friends and the chance to speak clearly and comfortably with co-workers. For all these reasons, people with dental implants often say they feel better… they look better… they live better.