Replacing a Missing Tooth
A natural tooth is anchored into the jawbone by its tooth root. Tooth roots attach firmly to the jawbone and keep your teeth stable when chewing solidfoods. Traditionally, if you were missing a tooth, or if one needed to be extracted, the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth would be cut down. The entire space would then be replaced with a three-crown bridge.
Dental implants are the modern alternative. Instead of cutting down two perfectly healthy teeth, a dental post (dental implant) is inserted into the jawbone to replace your missing tooth root. This post becomes solidly fixed in your jaw like a natural tooth root. Your general dentist then places a crown onto this artificial tooth root that looks, feels, and functions like your natural teeth.
Quite simply, dental implants are the most natural replacement for missing teeth.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, failure of endodontics, an injury, or some other reason. Dental Implants have been used successfully for many years. The implant itself is a post that is surgically placed in the jaw. A prosthesis (artificial tooth or teeth) is then attached to the post. Dental implants involve cooperation between a periodontist and your restorative dentist. The surgical phase of treatment is completed at our office, and the restorative phase is completed at your dentist's office.
There are two basic uses for Dental Implants:
- As an artificial root for single tooth replacement
- As anchors for a fixed or removable prosthesis to replace multiple teeth
With the exception of your natural teeth, nothing looks more natural than an implant. One important benefit of implants is that they slow the shrinking of bone and gum tissue from the area of the missing tooth, thus preventing premature aging.
- Dental implants are the most advanced tooth replacement system ever devised.
- More than nine out of ten implants last longer than 15 years.
- Dental implants never develop decay.
- Dental implants never require root canals.
- Dental implants preserve the jawbone, which can prevent premature aging.
- No one can be disqualified for implant treatment solely because of their age - some patients receive implant treatment when they are in their nineties!
Advantages of Dental Implants Over Dentures or a Bridge
Every way you look at it, dental implants are a better solution to the problem of missing teeth.
- Esthetic: Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth! Since dental implants integrate into the structure of your bone, they prevent the bone loss and gum recession that often accompany bridgework and dentures. No one will ever know that you have a replacement tooth.
- Tooth-saving: Dental implants don't sacrifice the quality of your adjacent teeth like a bridge does because neighboring teeth are not altered to support the implant. More of your own teeth are left untouched, a significant long-term benefit to your oral health!
- Confidence: Dental implants will allow you to once again speak and eat with comfort and confidence! They'll allow you to say goodbye to worries about displaced dentures and messy denture adhesives.
- Reliable: The success rate of dental implants is highly predictable. They are considered an excellent option for tooth replacement.
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, and the best candidates have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease. Dental Implants are indicated as a treatment option for:
- Replacing a Single Tooth: If you are missing a single tooth, one implant and a crown can replace it. A dental implant replaces both the lost natural tooth and its root.
- Replacing Several Teeth: If you are missing several teeth, implant-supported bridges can replace them. Dental implants will replace both your lost natural teeth and some of the roots.
- Replacing All of Your Teeth: If you are missing all of your teeth, an implant-supported full bridge or full denture can replace them. Dental implants will replace both your lost natural teeth and some of the roots
- Step One: The gum is gently folded back and a space is prepared for the implant to be placed.
- Step Two: The dental implant "anchor" is put into place.
- Step Three: The gum tissue is replaced over the implant and the implant is left alone for several months so the bone can attach to the implant and create a secure anchor.
- Step Four: After the implant has had a chance to attach to the bone tissue, the excess gum tissue is removed from above the implant.
- Step Five: The temporary cap is removed from the anchor and a post is attached to the anchor.
- Step Six: The implant is now ready for a prosthesis. Your restorative dentist will add the prosthesis.
Dental Implants placed for Considering a Dental Implant?
If you are considering a dental implant, for an evaluation appointment.
Single tooth implant
Full mouth implant supported denture or bridge
If you have a fractured or decayed tooth that needs to be extracted, a dental implant may be placed at the time of the tooth extraction. However, if your fractured or decayed tooth is infected, immediate dental implant placement is not advisable. Immediate implant placement at the time of extraction of a non-infected tooth can shorten overall treatment time by 2 to 6 months.
The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. Sinuses are like empty rooms that have nothing in them. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone.
There is a solution and it's called a sinus graft or sinus lift graft. The dental implant surgeon enters the sinus from where the upper teeth used to be. The sinus membrane is then lifted upward and donor bone is inserted into the floor of the sinus. Keep in mind that the floor of the sinus is the roof of the upper jaw. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the patient's jaw and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone.
If enough bone between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus is available to stabilize the implant well, sinus augmentations and implant placement can sometimes be performed as a single procedure. If not enough bone is available, the Sinus Augmentation will have to be performed first, then the graft will have to mature for several months, depending upon the type of graft material used. Once the graft has matured, the implants can be placed.
The sinus graft makes it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option other than wearing loose dentures.
Cosmetic gum treatment around implants (ridge augmentation, GBR, gum recession)
A key to implant success is the amount and quality of the bone where the implant is to be placed. Deformities in the upper or lower jaw can leave you with inadequate bone in which to place dental implants. The defect may have been caused by periodontal disease, wearing dentures, developmental defects, injury or trauma. Not only does this deformity cause problems in placing the implant, it can also cause an unattractive indentation in the jaw line near the missing teeth that may be difficult to clean and maintain.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 which can help to regenerate lost bone and tissue. Ridge modification has been shown to greatly improve appearance and increase your chances for successful implants that can last for years to come. Ridge modification can enhance your restorative success both esthetically and functionally.