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Dental implants offer a highly effective, long-term solution for replacing missing teeth to reestablish a fully functional and attractive smile. With a wide range of applications, dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth or all of the upper and/or lower teeth.
When teeth are missing, a series of changes that can impact your overall dental health and jaw function may begin to develop. The adjacent teeth may start to drift or tilt into the space, and teeth in the opposing jaw may start to shift toward the area of the missing tooth. It is therefore important to replace either the single tooth or multiple teeth that are missing from this area. Dental implants represent the most advanced option in care for the replacement of missing teeth.
Dental implants offer several advantages over traditional methods of tooth replacement including:
A dental implant is a small, biocompatible post that is surgically positioned by means of a minimally invasive procedure into the jawbone beneath the gums. Once healing takes place and the implant integrates with the bone, it behaves in much the same way as the root of a natural tooth to provide support for an aesthetically appealing dental crown or bridge. A period ranging from 3 to 6 months is required for the jawbone to fuse with the implant via a process known as osseointegration.
According to clinical studies, dental implants have a demonstrated long-term success rate of well over 95%. One key to the success and longevity of a dental implant is that sufficient bone is present to provide stable support for the implanted surgical post. If insufficient bone is present, a bone grafting procedure is often recommended prior to the placement of a dental implant. Additionally, candidates for dental implants should be free of periodontal disease and be aware that a continued, effective oral hygiene routine and care is necessary to maintain a strong and functional implant.
Treatment planning a patient for the precise placement of a dental implant involves advanced scanning technology and software to map out the details of care from both a prosthetic and surgical prospective. In this way a case can be planned and meticulously executed from the beginning with the final restoration in mind. With advances in implant dentistry multiple approaches to care are now being offered. In certain cases an implant can be placed at the same time a dental extraction is performed. This procedure is known as, “immediate dental implant placement.” Additionally, it is also sometimes possible to place “same-day dental implants.” With this procedure a temporary crown or bridge can be attached to the implants at the same time they are placed. In all cases, complete healing and osseointegration is required before the placement of the final prosthesis.
Most dental implants are made of titanium but are also available in “metal-free” zirconia. Both titanium and zirconia are biocompatible materials, which integrate well with the hard and soft tissues in the jaw. Depending upon the requirements of the case, a single dental implant can be restored with a crown to replace one missing tooth, or multiple implants can be used to support a fixed bridge. In cases where all of the upper and/or lower teeth are missing a full-arch, implanted supported bridge can be placed. Special implants can also be placed for added support and stability for removable overdentures or as anchorage devices in orthodontics called “TAD’s” or Transitional Anchorage Devices.
In cases where a single tooth is missing, a dental implant supported crown is an effective replacement that replicates a natural tooth in almost every way. This approach can offer several benefits as compared to a traditional three unit fixed bridge by preserving the integrity of the adjacent natural teeth and preventing the progression of bone loss where a tooth has been lost. Additionally, a dental implant does not decay and cleaning the area can be easier than maintaining a fixed bridge
In cases where multiple teeth are missing or have been lost, dental implants can support fixed bridges or removable dentures.
As opposed to a traditional fixed bridge, an implant-supported bridge preserves the integrity of the adjacent teeth and virtually stops the bone resorption process that naturally occurs where teeth have been lost. By maintaining the bone in the edentulous areas (the space without teeth), normal facial contours are supported and a sagging or caved in look is avoided. As they are permanently anchored in the jawbone, implant supported bridges fully restore one’s natural biting and chewing capacity.
As an alternative to full dentures, a full arch fixed bridge anchored to multiple dental implants can offer a permanent solution in situations where all the teeth are missing or have been deemed non-restorable and need to be replaced. A full arch fixed bridge anchored to dental implants is a highly stable and cosmetically pleasing solution that lets you eat and function as you would with a full set of natural teeth.
When all the teeth in the upper or lower jaw are missing, dental implants offer comfortable, stable and cosmetically pleasing solutions to restore a functional smile.
An implant-anchored overdenture is essentially a removable denture that clips on to either a ball or bar attachment in the front part of the jaw. The implant supported attachments help to provide added stability to the denture, keeping it in place to ensure optimal comfort as well as function. Because the dental implants keep the denture from slipping or dislodging, there is no need to deal with any messy denture adhesives.