A dental implant is an artificial tooth root foundation designed to aid in the replacement of natural teeth. Dental implants feel, and function like natural teeth. Once they are restored with crowns or bridges, they look natural, are esthetically pleasing, and are difficult to distinguish from remaining teeth. Function, cosmetics, confidence and smiles are re-gained and/or enhanced with this predictable and reliable procedure. Patients with good oral health missing one or multiple teeth due to periodontal disease, injury, or decay are ideal patients.
Most dental implants are made of pure titanium with specialized surfaces to aid in their adherence (osseointegration) of the jaw bone. They help replace missing teeth, prevent further bone loss, and are tooth-saving by eliminating the need for conventional bridgework. Although conventional bridgework is sometimes the only option, it completely relies on neighboring teeth for support. Dental implants can also aid in the retention and stability of removable partial dentures, complete dentures and full mouth porcelain bridgework and acrylic hybrids. Dental implants eliminate loose-denture worries and the need for denture pastes and adhesives. Like natural teeth, implants kept clean with good oral hygiene and regular professional cleanings will provide a lifetime of function, cosmetics, and smiles.
Nation-wide, dental implant success rates have risen to a record range of 96-98%. This amounts to one of the most successful medical procedures available today. Healing periods range from 1-3 months along the mandible and 4-6 months along the maxilla. Bone grafting procedures may add 3-6 months to these healing periods.
Cosmetic Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implants and restorations in the esthetic zone should be functionally and cosmetically driven. If missing one or several teeth, individual implants with crowns or implant supported bridges can replace the missing roots and teeth. The limiting factor in cosmetically demanding areas is the existing bone height, width, gum quantity and quality. Adequate bone and gum make these procedures predictable. Preserving these tissues after an extraction is of extreme importance. In some cases, dental implants are placed immediately after tooth extraction; in others, temporization (temporary crown) of implants at the time of implant placement or at a later date is an important step in preserving existing tissues and/or molding tissues for an ideal cosmetic restorative outcome.
Over-Denture Dental Implant Surgery
Dental implants can also be used to replace all of your teeth by supporting over-dentures, porcelain bridges and acrylic hybrids. In over-denture cases, less bone and fewer dental implants are required to complete desired therapy. When replacing all of your teeth with a fixed, but detachable implant-supported bridge or hybrid prosthesis, an adequate amount of bone is desired for predictability and cosmetics. Bone grafting procedures, digital imaging, and guiding systems allow for proper implant placement and maximum accuracy.
When is a bone graft procedure needed? Is it safe and predictable?
In cosmetically demanding areas or when bone loss has been severe, bone grafting may be required. Site preservation and ridge augmentation with bone grafts are common procedures in an implant practice. Such procedures allow patient to re-gain otherwise inadequate bone to avoid compromising cosmetics and/or function. When bone grafting procedures are not an option, digital imaging and guiding systems may be used for ideal possible implant placement to restore function. In some cases, soft tissue grafts may also be necessary.
With today’s technology and precautions, bone grafting procedures have become extremely predictable and safe. Evidence based literature strongly supports their use and success rates mirror those of dental implant in natural bone.
“Teeth in a Day” & “Teeth in an Hour”
“Teeth in a Day” is a procedure that allows patients to use existing or new dentures as a fixed or attached implant-supported prosthesis immediately after dental implant placement. In some cases, extractions, dental implant placement and attachment of the denture is accomplished at the same visit. During procedure, dentures are shaped to achieve a more comfortable, esthetic and hygienic result. Laboratory-made hybrid prosthesis is recommended within a year.
“Teeth in an Hour” is a procedure that allows patients to be restored with a temporary or final implant-supported fixed or hybrid prosthesis immediately after dental implant surgery. Using digital imaging and guiding software, surgical guides and prosthesis are fabricated prior to surgery. During surgery, surgical guide allows for dental implant placement without flap type incisions and delivery of laboratory made temporary or final implant supported fixed or hybrid prosthesis with maximum accuracy. “Teeth in an Hour” surgical procedures are not only atraumatic, they are relatively short in duration and patients are in full function of their implants and prosthesis as soon as they leave the office.
Digital Imaging and Guided Dental Implant Surgery
Digital guided dental implant surgery is accomplished with the use of a CAT Scan (CT) and specialized digital imaging and guiding software. It allows surgeons to place dental implants atraumatically into existing jaw bone as they relate to their corresponding CAT Scan digital image. Such technology may be used on challenging single dental implant surgeries, multiple implants surgeries and/or “Teeth in an Hour/Day” type cases.