Dental implants have a wide variety of uses in dentistry. They can be used to provide an anchor to move teeth in orthodontics, replace missing teeth and to give retention to dentures. Implant dentistry is an exciting area of dentistry!
We use them for the use of replacing teeth and anchoring dentures. Implants are the closest dentistry has come to replacing a missing tooth with something that feels and functions naturally. Implants are small titanium screws that are placed in the jaw bone. This screw effectively replaces the root of the tooth. Once the bone heals and grows into the threads of the implant it becomes "integrated". Once integrated implants are one of the most successful treatments we have in dentistry. Single tooth replacements are up to 98% successful! Dependent on the situation it can take 4-8 months for the healing and integration of the implant to complete.
When we are replacing a single tooth or multiple teeth with an implant bridge, we use custom designed and milled in office abutments. These abutments are what connects the crown of the tooth to the implant itself. On top of the abutment we either glue or use a screw to place an esthetic zirconia crown on top.
Timing for Implant Placement
One of the downfalls to implants is the amount of time they take to complete. Whereas bridges can be completed in a matter of days, implants take months.
If you have a tooth that needs to be extracted and replaced the timing foes something similar to this:
1.) Extraction of the tooth followed by a waiting period. The waiting period can be anywhere from 1-4 months depending on how your body heals. We monitor the healing process by clinical exam and CBCT scans for bone fill and density.
2.) Placement of the implant. Once the bone has healed adequately the implant can be placed. After that process the implant must heal for 3-6 months. Typically we are ready to go around the 4 month mark.
3,) Placement of the abutment and crown. Once healing of the implant is complete we get all the necessary digital impressions and we make the remaining structure (abutment and crown) in our office to be placed, typically within two weeks.
Once the crown is on it you are good to go! Your new tooth functions just like any of your natural teeth.
Implant Retained Dentures
Implant retained dentures are consistently rated as one of the best procedures we complete in dentistry when it comes to patient satisfaction. If you have dentures you probably know why!
Dentures can really only restore 10-15% of natural function. They tend to move around significantly (especially lower dentures) which interferes with chewing efficiency and speech. With implants you can increase that efficiency to up to 80%. There are a wide array of options with implants when it concerns dentures. You can place a couple on the lower arch that act as buttons for the denture to snap into all the way up to full implant supported fixed bridges that get rid of the traditional denture altogether.
If you have questions about any of these treatments please contact a dentist to discuss risks and benefits of these life changing procedures!