A natural tooth is anchored into the jawbone by its root. The roots of teeth are attached firmly to the jawbone and keep your teeth stable while chewing. In the past, the most common method of replacing a missing tooth would be to prepare the teeth on either side of the space by shaping with a dental handpiece and then having a fixed bridge fabricated at a dental laboratory.
We are now able to offer the surgical placement of implants and restoration of the final crown entirely within our office. This allows for the seamless delivery of the entire procedure and enhances communication between the implantologist and the restorative dentist.
A Healthy Alternative to Improve Your Smile
Now that dental implants have become commonplace and more predictable, we are obliged to present this as a viable alternative to the patient when considering replacement of a missing tooth. Instead of preparing healthy teeth, we can place a titanium implant into the bone in order to replace the missing tooth root. As the bone heals, the implant becomes solidly fixed (integrated) into your jawbone. After this process is complete, the restorative dentist places a crown onto this artificial tooth which functions like your natural tooth.
There are varying reasons that adults will end up succumbing to tooth loss at some time in their lives, either as a result of accident or a disease process. There are various alternatives to tooth replacement such as removable dentures or fixed bridges.
Dental implants consists of three portions: an anchor which is implanted into your jaw, a post which is used to attach a prosthetic tooth and the porcelain crown. The implant is specially coated with a material which assists in stimulating bone formation at the interface between the implant and the bone surface. In the case of the NobelBiocare™ implant system, this material at the periphery is called "Ti-Unite." This bone stimulation and formation at the interface is referred to as "osteogenesis."
Case selection is extremely important when it comes to implants. Not all patients have sufficiently healthy gums or bone structure to support an implant. This determination is generally made at the time of consultation with the Restorative dentist and Implantologist working as a team.
The traditional method of replacing several teeth would be to fabricate a removable partial or full denture. The disadvantage of these types of prostheses is that they must be taken out at night, they look unnatural and can cause painful rubbing and irritation to the underlying soft tissues. You may also experience difficulty in eating certain foods.
Dental implants can now be used to anchor partial or full dentures to prevent slipping, irritation and pain associated with "floating" partials and dentures. With dental implants, your partial dentures are firmly anchored to the jawbone, causing them to feel much more like natural teeth. Patients often comment that dental implants appear and function like their natural teeth.
Dental implants have been available for the past 50 years or so. There are significant differences, however, between the various types of implants that have been used. These differences are important since they are directly related to the implant's success rate. The implants currently in use today were originally developed in Sweden by Dr. P.I. Branemark, a Swedish Orthopaedist approximately 30 years ago.
In our office we are currently using the NobelBiocare Replace Select System™ which offers a broad amount of versatility in varying situations.
Implant surgery is generally performed in two stages. The first stage involves placement of the implants into the available jawbone. This procedure is most commonly done under local anaesthesia, however adjunctive sedatives such as Ativan are available if required. It is complicated only in the fact that the surgery requires great precision. The operatory is set up similar to an operating room, with all equipment thoroughly sterilized.
Stage two involves the uncovering of the implants after they have integrated with the associated bone. This can be accomplished in a short appointment with minor gum surgery. There is minimal postoperative discomfort afterwards. You will be given appropriate analgesics as required in case of post-op pain. You will also be provided with postoperative instructions at the time of surgery and any questions you may have will also be answered at this time.
Dental implants take approximately 3-4 months in the lower jaw and 6 months in the upper to integrate. Once integrated, it takes several visits to complete the restoration depending upon the complexity of the particular case.