An implant is a synthetic tooth root in the shape of a post that is surgically placed into the jawbone. The “root” is usually made of titanium: the same material used in many replacement hips and knees, and a metal well suited to pairing with human bone.
People are living longer than ever. While regular brushing, flossing, and checkups allow many of us to maintain our natural smiles for a lifetime, sometimes our teeth just can’t keep up. If you’ve lost a tooth (or a few teeth) due to injury or disease, dental implants can rejuvenate both your smile and your oral health.
A replacement tooth is then fixed to the post. The tooth can be either permanently attached or removable. Permanent teeth are more stable and feel more like natural teeth.
The ideal candidate for implants is a non–smoker who has good oral health, including a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw and healthy gums with no sign of gum disease.
We have special 3D software that allows us to evaluate your bone quality, bone quantity, and bone location for the best possible placement of your dental implants. This also allows us to work closely and smoothly with your restorative dentist to ensure an ideal result for your dental implants.
Computer Inhanced Treatment Planning
Sinus Lift Augmentation
After the loss of upper back teeth, your sinuses may enlarge. Before new implants replace the lost teeth, a sinus lift augmentation or graft restores the sinus cavity to its original position and replaces the bone lost as a result of the enlarged sinus.
This new bone graft typically takes nine to 12 months to heal before the dental implants can be placed into the grafted bone. There are two main ways to approach this lift, either through as lateral window or a crestal approach. Examples of both can be seen below. First lateral, then the crestal technique.
Bone Grafting & Implant Site Development
Occasionally, ideal areas where dental implants are to be placed do not have sufficient bone quantity to place the implants securely. In these cases, it is often necessary to augment the site in order for an implant to be placed.
We utilize a variety of grafting materials. Bone coming from yourself is called autogenous bone. Bone harvested from another species is called a Xenograft, and bone developed in a laboratory Allograft. Our material of choice is an Allograft.
The bone graft serves as a scaffolding for your own bone to “grow into.” This also does not require a secondary surgical site. We often use xenographic membranes; i.e., from bovine sources. The membranes provide a barrier so your gum tissue does not invade the new graft.
Tissue grows faster than bone, so the membrane will stay in place for weeks and your body will completely reabsorb the material. Additionally when a tooth needs to be removed due to infection, it is not uncommon to experience bone loss around the infected tooth.
In these cases, various types of bone grafting can be done at the same time the tooth is removed to facilitate the placement of a dental implant at a later date.
Single or Multiple Implants
Implants are versatile. If you are missing only one tooth, one implant plus a replacement tooth will do the trick. If you are missing several teeth in a row, a few strategically placed implants can support a permanent bridge (a set of replacement teeth).
Similarly, if you have lost all of your teeth, a full bridge or full denture can be permanently fixed in your mouth with a strategic number of implants.
Advantages of Implants over Dentures or Bridges
Conventional bridges and dentures are not fixed to the bone, and can therefore be unstable. This can make it difficult to eat or smile with confidence. Implants not only look more natural, but feel and act more like normal teeth, with a stronger biting force. Because they don’t directly rely on neighboring teeth for support, implants don’t compromise the health of your natural teeth. In fact, bridges are expected to last only seven to ten years, even less with root canals, whereas implants typically last a lifetime.
Consider your replacement teeth to be the same as natural teeth. They require the same daily brushing and flossing, and the same amount of regular checkups. Just like your natural teeth, the better you take care of your replacements, the longer they will last.