What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth.
The implant is placed in the bone of the upper or lower jaw and allowed to bond with the bone. It then serves as the foundation for a replacement tooth.
In the situation where several or all teeth have been lost an implant or implants can provide the support for bridgework or a full denture.
What is a dental implant made of?
An implant, which looks like a screw or cylinder, is normally made from pure titanium. The material is ideal for implants because it is completely accepted by the body (bio-compatible).
Newer design implants have surfaces that are specially treated to encourage quicker bone growth around the implant after it has been placed, this can reduce healing times.
What is involved?
Sometimes an implant may be placed at the time of extraction of an existing tooth.
However if a tooth has been missing for a period, it will be necessary to do a small operation to prepare the site to take the implant. After the implant has been placed it is usually left undisturbed to allow it to bond with the surrounding bone. Depending on the case, this can range from around 2-6 months.
During the healing phase some form of temporary tooth replacement is used so that there is no embarrassing gap.
Sometimes, at the end of the healing period, a second small operation is required to uncover the implant and place an extension called an abutment. This completes the foundation on which the new tooth crown will be placed.
Sometimes this second step is not required your dentist will advise you which system is best for you.
Finally the crown is made and attached to the abutment to complete the implant.
Is it possible to have more than one implant?
Yes. Using the same process as the single tooth implant above, implants can be strategically placed as anchor teeth for bridgework (please see bridges) or a denture (please see dentures).
Anywhere from 2-10 implants can be placed to either support a fixed bridge or denture.
One major factor affecting your eligibility and eventual success with implants is the amount of bone present in the jaw.
It is advised, if you are interested in implants and think you may be a good candidate, to see your dentist at Trigger Dental for a comprehensive assessment.