What is a dental implant?
To replace missing teeth with dental implant supported restorations, patients will need to undergo a two-phase treatment process. The initial phase requires the surgical placement of one or more dental implant posts below the gum line. Because dental implant supported tooth replacement requires a surgical procedure, we’ll need to complete a thorough health history prior to recommending this treatment option. As long as you are healthy enough for minimally invasive medical procedures, have not experienced serious concerns related to surgical treatment, and you have adequate jawbone density to support the implant post, we can typically provide dental implant supported tooth replacement. We can typically work with physicians if you’re taking one or more prescription medication or suffer from an immune compromising illness like diabetes.
What to expect
When we determine dental implants are right for you, we can begin the surgical implant placement process. The procedure itself is relatively straightforward. We’ll need to place a small incision in the gum tissue where we’ll insert the dental implant post. As long as there is adequate jawbone density to support the implant, the implant will begin fusing with the bone and gum tissue mimicking natural root structure. This process is known as osseointegration. If you do not have the adequate bone density to support the implant, we may need to perform a bone graft prior to dental implant placement.
Following the placement of the dental implants, patients will need to wait three to six months for the osseointegration process to be completed prior to returning to our office where we’ll attach the dental restoration. While this may seem like a huge time commitment, the results are much longer lasting than other dental restoration options
Implant Restoration with Dental Crowns
When the osseointegration process is complete, patients will come back to our office where we’ll attach their restoration. For a single missing tooth, patients will have a custom crafted dental crown attached to their implant using an abutment. The abutment is a connector that is attached prior to the restoration appointment and used by our dental lab to craft a custom crown. We can also create a same day dental crown using our CEREC system to complete your dental implant supported tooth replacement.
Implant Supported Prosthetics
For those patients who have experienced more advanced tooth loss, we offer restoration using dental implant supported prosthetics. Our tooth replacement prosthetics include:
- Fixed bridges – a traditional fixed bridge combines two dental crowns with one or more replacement teeth. The two crowns are attached to either side of the replacement tooth or teeth and attached to healthy teeth to provide support. Implant supported fixed bridges are crafted in the same way, but are supported by dental implant posts at each end rather than being attached to healthy teeth.
- Partial dentures – a partial denture is often referred to simply as a partial and it replaces a number of consecutive or nonconsecutive teeth along an arch. Traditionally, partials were held firmly in position by metal clasps attached to surrounding healthy teeth. Dental implant supported partials are typically anchored into position using four to six implant posts. The number of necessary implant posts depends largely on the location and amount of missing teeth. We’ll use the fewest dental implant posts possible while still providing adequate support for the partial denture.
- Full dentures – an entire row of replacement teeth can be replaced with a full denture. While traditional dentures were held in place with suction between the prosthetic and the gum line, dental implants offer a more stable solution. Additionally, the denture itself is much lighter and more natural looking and feeling. We typically use four to six implant posts to support a full denture.