A dental implant replaces a missing or lost tooth. The restored implant consists of the a titanium screw that is placed in your jawbone that replaces the root portion of a tooth and an abutment that sticks out into your mouth and onto which a crown or other dental device is placed.
- Natural tooth
- Implant that would replace natural tooth root.
- Crown on top of implant that would replace natural tooth.
Implants have been around for over three decades and have become commonplace in dental practices and are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth which look, feel and function like natural teeth.
The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.
Once you learn about dental implants, you finally realize there is a way to improve your life. When you lose several teeth – whether it’s a new situation or something you have lived with for years – chances are you have never become fully accustomed to losing such a vital part of yourself.
What are Dental Implants?
The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts, which are inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes.
They are surgically placed into the jawbone. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts are then attached to the implant, which protrude through the gums.
These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth. Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
What types of prostheses are available?
A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing tooth – each prosthetic tooth attaches to its own implant. A partial prosthesis (fixed bridge) can replace two or more teeth and may require only two or three implants.
A complete dental prosthesis (fixed bridge) replaces all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended.
A removable prosthesis (over denture) attaches to a bar or ball in socket attachments, whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by the dentist. Implants are referred to a periodontist or an oral surgeon.
This team effort between our practice and the specialist provide for optimal care. The specialist provides in-office implant surgery in a hospital-style operating suite, thus optimizing the level of sterility.
Inpatient hospital implant surgery is for patients who have special medical or anesthetic needs or for those who need extensive bone grafting from the jaw, hip or tibia.
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, our team is sometimes able to place single stage implants.
These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require a minimum of six weeks of healing time before artificial teeth are placed. There are even situations where the implants can be placed at the same time as a tooth extraction - further minimizing the number of surgical procedures.
Advances in dental implant technology have made it possible, in select cases, to extract teeth and place implants with crowns at one visit.
This procedure, called “immediate loading,” greatly simplifies the entire process.
Who actually performs the implant placement?
As stated above, implants are a team effort between a periodontist or an oral surgeon, and a restorative dentist. While the specialist performs the actual implant surgery and bone grafting if necessary, Dr. Do fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. Dr. Do will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.