A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that fixes into your jaw and holds a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.
After dental implant
What is a Dental Implant?
|The above illustration shows the assembly necessary to restore an implant with a crown. The assembly consists of an abutment with a screw that fits into the implant and a permanent crown which is then cemented onto the abutment.|
Teeth essentially can be thought of as having two main parts, the crown, the part above the gum tissues, and the root, the part that is suspended in the bone by the periodontal ligament (peri-around, odont-tooth) which keeps the tooth in place. A dental or endosseous implant (endo – inside, osseous – bone) is actually a root replacement, but unlike the root of a tooth it becomes anchored in the bone of the jaw, formerly occupied by a tooth or teeth.
The amazing thing about currently used dental implants is that they actually fuse with, or “integrate” into the bone, a process known as “osseo-integration” (osseo-bone, integrate – to become part of). They are for the most part made of commercially pure titanium, a metallic substance used for many years in medicine and dentistry because it is not rejected by the body, being osteophilic (bone loving). The actual process of osseo-integration is essentially a biochemical fusion of living bone cells and bone substance to an oxide layer that forms on the surface of the titanium.
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 what supports the implant. And the best candidates for implants are the ones eho have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease.
Dental implants are intimately connected with the gum tissues and underlying bone in the mouth. Since periodontists are the dental experts who specialize in precisely these areas, they are ideal members of your dental implant team. Not only do periodontists have experience working with other dental professionals, they also have the special knowledge, training and facilities that you need to have teeth that look and feel just like your own. Your dentist and periodontist will work together to make your dreams come true.
WHAT IS A DENTAL IMPLANT PROCEDURE LIKE?
This procedure is a team effort between you, your dentist and your periodontist. Your periodontist and dentist will consult with you to determine where and how your implant should be placed. Depending on your specific condition and the type of implant chosen, your periodontist will create a treatment plan tailored to meet your needs.
- Replacing a Single Tooth If you are missing a single tooth, one implant and a crown can replace it.
- Replacing Several Teeth If you are missing several teeth, implant-supported bridges can replace them.
- Replacing All of Your Teeth If you are missing all of your teeth, an implant-supported full bridge or full denture can replace them.
- Sinus Augmentation A key to implant success is the quantity and quality of the bone where the implant is to be placed. The upper back jaw has traditionally been one of the most difficult areas to successfully place dental implants. This is due to insufficient bone quantity and quality and the close proximity to the sinus. Sinus augmentation can help correct this problem by raising the sinus floor. This in turn develops bone for the placement of dental implants.
- Ridge Modification Deformities in the upper or lower jaw can leave you with inadequate bone in which to place dental implants. 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. Ridge modification greatly improves the appearance. It can increase your chances for successful implants that can last for years to come.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER RECEIVING A DENTAL IMPLANT?
As you know, your own teeth require conscientious at-home oral care and regular dental visits. Dental implants are like your own teeth and will require the same care. In order to keep your implant clean and plaque-free, brushing and flossing still apply!
After treatment, your periodontist will work closely with you and your dentist to develop the best care plan for you. Periodic follow-up visits will be scheduled to monitor your implant, teeth and gums to make sure they are healthy.