Dental Implants

Dental implants are fixtures of titanium which are surgically screwed into your jaw bone. The implant is an anchor for a naturally-appearing false tooth or a set of false teeth. The success rate of dental implants nowadays has increase tremendously and our latest technologies allow us to bring this to our patients. Implants are great for replacing missing teeth. It is important that you have enough bone in the area of the missing teeth for the implants to be attached to. Implants are not only used to replace one tooth, but rather people missing most, if not all, of their teeth benefit greatly as well. Implants are increasingly being used to replace certain types of bridges and to retain removable partial dentures as well as complete dentures.

How Dental Implants Work

Dental implants are the artificial roots that are used as a foundation for false teeth. Today’s implants are inserted inside the bone of the jaw so that they support artificial inserts such as bridges, dentures, or crowns.

Before the surgery can be completed, the nerves and the sinus need to be located and the shape of the jaw needs to determined so that the implants can be inserted appropriately without having a negative effect on the already existing structures. This is often done using CT or CAT scans.

The procedure is done using a precision drill or hand osteotome which is used to make an incision in the bone so that the implant can be inserted. In portions of the jaw that do not contain teeth, the dentist gradually increases the size of the drill to bore a progressively larger hole. It is essential that the dentist is careful not to damage parts of the bone or nerves.

After the hole is drilled, the bone is allowed a certain amount of time so that it is able to grow and cover a portion of the implant. If there is going to be a delayed insertion, a cover screw will be used to cover the implant while the area is allowed to heal. During the next appointment, the false teeth are able to be attached to the implant. Although this is the usual method, it has also recently become possible for dentists to attach the false teeth during the same procedure as the insertion of the implant. If the bone is healthy and receptive to the implant, there is no evidence that the one time procedure is any less successful than if there is delay between procedures.

If the dentist makes the decision to delay the insertion of the false teeth and therefore give the implant area an opportunity to heal, a time span of between two to six months is typical. However, there is more and more evidence to suggest that a large delay is not necessary. Despite this, studies have shown that if the implant is covered too soon, it is subject to shifting which would require the process to be repeated. This would lead to additional surgery and healing time and the subsequent delay of the desired results.

The success of the surgery is largely impacted by the skill and knowledge of the dentist who is performing the procedure. Error on the part of the dentist can lead to any number of complications such as a required repeat of the surgery as well as damage to the bone or surrounding nerves. Other matters of importance are the oral hygiene of the patient as well as the amount and quality of the bone that is available.