What are Dental Implants?
Here are some photos to depict them.
In essence, when a patient loses a tooth, dental implants are a great option for replacing that missing tooth. The picture below shows a model of how an implant is positioned in the bone next to another tooth or in between two teeth, depending on what a patient’s needs are.
A small hole, or osteotomy, is drilled into the jaw bone (the maxilla is the upper jaw and the mandible is the lower jaw). Subsequently, a few more drill sequences are used to create enough space for the dental implant.
After the implant is placed, the doctor will usually wait about 3-4 months for the bone to heal adequately around the dental implant. This process is called “osseo-integration”. If a patient has Diabetes or other systemic diseases that can affect bone healing, the doctor may decide to wait longer before taking an impression to fabricate the crown and titanium abutment (shown above) that will go on top of the implant.
The small meta piece on the lower left side of the pic is the abutment, and the crown is to the right of this.
The abutment has what is known as a “fixation screw” which attaches the abutment to the implant. This is torqued in using a specialized torque wrench for that brand implant.
After this, the crown is seated over the implant and is cemented in place.
There are different types of abutments that can be made to fit over the implant. There are “pre-fabricated abutments” like the one shown here, and there are “custom abutments (shown below).
Custom abutments can be made from Zirconia like this one, or they can be made from titanium. They are specifically shaped for each patient’s mouth utilizing very sophisticated computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD-CAM).
How dental implants can give you a better smile
If you have missing teeth, you don’t just have to rely on crowns, conventional bridges and dentures.
Many people are now choosing dental implants as the best way to restore their smile and solve dental problems.
Implants are placed below the gums during a series of appointments. They fuse to the jawbone and provide a base for individual replacement teeth, bridges or a denture.
As they are fused to the bone, they offer greater stability. And, because they are integrated into your jaw, your replacement teeth will feel more natural.
This secure fit often also makes them more comfortable than other solutions.
In order to have implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant.
To find out whether you could be a candidate for dental implants, talk to your dentist about what they could do for you.
How implants changed dentistry
Implants are one of the most important developments in dental care over recent years.
They have created opportunities that didn’t exist before for people to improve their dental health and create the smile they want.
Implants were discovered by Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon Dr. P.I. Brnemark and they have transformed the quality of life for people who have missing teeth.
The basis of a dental implant is a titanium rod about 1 cm long. This is placed inside the jawbone and is designed to serve the same purpose as tooth roots.
Implants can either be used to replace lost teeth or to help keep dentures in place more securely.
One of the reasons implants have changed dental care so much is that, previously, there was often no other way to replace missing teeth permanently.
And there are many people who cannot tolerate removable dentures or don’t want to wear them for some other reason.
The introduction of implants had made a big change in their lives.
Here is a case we recently completed for a patient. She had broken off her upper central incisor and we had to extract it and place a bone graft. After letting it heal (picture shown above), we decided to place a dental implant.
This picture show the custom titanium abutment (the metal piece of hardware that gets screwed into the implant). It is attached by what is called a fixation screw which is inside of the abutment.
This is showing the delivery of the implant crown. Another happy patient!