Did you know that dental implants are frequently the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth? Dental implants are long-term replacements that look and feel like natural teeth.
Twenty years ago, patients with missing teeth would have had no alternative but to employ a fixed bridge or removable denture to restore their ability to eat, speak clearly and smile. 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. There are many variable factors that lend fixed bridgework to early failure like recurrent decay and gum disease. For these reasons, fixed bridges and removable dentures usually need to be replaced every seven to fifteen years.
Dental Implant Procedure
This procedure is a team effort between the patient, the dentist and the periodontist. The Periodontist and Dentist will consult with the patient to determine where and how your dental implant should be placed. Periodontists are extensively trained in surgical procedures to treat and maintain patients, and have a primary role in treatment planning and maintenance therapy.
A Dental Implant is composed of three parts:
- The Titanium Implant – Fuses with the jawbone
- The Abutment – Fits over the portion of the implant that protrudes from the gum line
- The Crown – Fitted onto the abutment for a natural appearance.
The team is organized as soon as the decision for placing a dental implant is reached. Following an evaluation that includes a comprehensive examination, x-rays and a consultation with the patient and members of the implant team, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon surgically places the posts, or implants, in the patient’s jaw.
Dental implants are known as root-form endosseous implants, which means they appear similar to an actual root of a tooth. The impant is surgically placed within the bone (endo meaning “in” and osseous “bone”). The bone of the jaw accepts the titanium post through a process called Osseointegration, which refers to the fusion of the implant surface with the surrounding bone.
Prior to surgery, careful examinations are used to identify vital nerves and the sinus, as well as the shape and dimensions of the bones surrounding the site to properly orient the dental implant for the most predictable outcome.
Two-dimensional radiographs and/or a 3D CT scan, are taken prior to the surgery, and are used to plan the case. Whether CT-guided or manual, a ‘stent’ may sometimes be used to facilitate the placement of dental implants. A surgical stent is an acrylic wafer that fits over either the teeth, the bone surface or the mucosa (when all the teeth are missing) with pre-drilled holes to show the position and angle of the implants to be placed.
Depending on your specific condition and the type of dental implant chosen, your periodontist will create a treatment plan tailored to meet your needs.
Preparation for Procedure
Whether you are a young, middle-aged or older adult; whether you need to replace one tooth, several teeth, or all your teeth, there is a dental implant solution for you. A dental implant is the solution of choice for even those with health concerns such as gum disease, smokers, deformed bones, or even those wearing partials or dentures.
Dental Implant success is dependent on the quantity and quality of the bone where the dental implant is to be placed.
Sinus augmentation is an additive procedure used to help if there are issues of bone deficiency by raising the sinus floor and developing bone for the placement of a dental implant. Insufficient bone and close proximity to the sinus, the upper back jaw is the most difficult area for a dental implant to be placed.
Deformities in the upper or lower jaw can result in a lack of adequate bone for a dental implant procedure. In this situation, a specialist needs to lift the gum away from the ridge to expose the bony defect, and utilize bone grafts to fill the defected area and build up the ridge.
When the dental implants have stabilized in the jaw, the restorative dentist prepares an impression of the upper and lower jaws. This impression is used to make the model from which the dentures or crowns are created.
The teamwork continues long after the implant and crown have been placed. Follow-up examinations with the oral and maxillofacial surgeon and restorative dentist are critical, and progress is carefully charted. Both the oral and maxillofacial surgeon and the restorative dentist continue to work together to provide the highest level of aftercare.