When are implants used?
Patients who are missing one or more teeth
Patients who wear dentures and are tired of them fitting loosely
How do Implants Work?
A dental implant is a replacement for the roots of a tooth. It can also serve as an anchor for a denture or a bridge.
When replacing a single tooth, a dental implant consists of 3 parts: the implant itself, the connector (aka abutment), and the crown.
Your Road Map to Successful Tooth Replacement with Implants
Let’s start from the beginning.
- Step 1: Extraction with Bone Preservation.
As the bone heals following a tooth extraction, much of the bone is lost. Without pressure signals from the tooth, the bone has no reason for staying. When teeth are extracted, it is important that an effort is made to preserve the bone through bone grafting. Click here for more information on Bone Grafting.
- Step 2: Make a Plan
After a period of 3-12 months of healing, the bone graft is ready for evaluation for an implant. This evaluation is a process which includes photographs, dental models, and a 3-D scan of the implant site. Photographs are important for record keeping. Dental models are important for planning the final crown. And a 3-D image is important for planning the exact size, location, and angle for the implant surgery. Click here for more information on 3-Dimensional X-rays.
- Step 3: Surgical Guide (only needed sometimes)
In unique situations a surgical guide will be needed for placement of an implant. The models, photos, and 3-D image can be sent to a dental lab that will make a precision guidance system to ensure certain parameters are met during the implant surgery. These are often needed if the space for an implant is limited, if multiple implants are to be placed or if an advanced restoration has been planned.
- Step 4: Implant Surgery
On the day of surgery, the patient is prepared to make conditions ideal for implant placement and healing. These preparations are unique to each individual patient and may include pre-medicating with antibiotics, nitrous gas sedation, etc. When the patient and the surgeon are ready, the implant procedure is completed and the patient is sent home with care instructions unique to their surgery and healing.
- Step 5: Restoring the Tooth
After 3-12 months of healing, the implant may be ready for restoring. For a single tooth this means making impressions and attaching the connector and final crown (or tooth). For multiple teeth it may mean attaching multiple crowns, connecting a dental bridge, or placing the connectors and connecting them to the denture.
- Step 6: Continued Maintenance
Just like anything we buy that has value, we must take care of our implant. This means regular visits to the dental office for professional care and maintenance. With the combined efforts of the patient, the hygienist and the doctor, an implant can last a lifetime.
There are certain situations that allow an implant to be placed and restored the same day. The patient and the situation must meet strenuous criteria to qualify, but can result in a very positive experience for the patient.
Types of Implants
There are many types of implants and they come in many shapes and sizes. Every patient’s unique situation will determine the best treatment option for that patient. For example, mini-dental implants can be used when there is insufficient width of bone for a standard implant. Mini-implants are rarely used for single tooth replacement. They are more commonly used to fix a lower-denture to prevent it from moving loosely.
Do you think implants could help you eat and/or laugh more confidently? Let Dr. Marti make a personalized plan for you. Click here to set up your implant consultation.