Types of Dental Implants
Single implant – This provides a long-term replacement for a single missing tooth by replacing the tooth root and providing a crown that looks and feels like the patient’s original tooth. For successful single implant surgery, the patient’s gums must be healthy and the jaw’s bone density strong enough to hold the implant. The procedure offers a good alternative to dental bridges because a single implant does not affect the surrounding teeth (a bridge can require health teeth to be ground down for bridge attachment and in some cases can damage the healthy teeth nearby). The single dental implant is easier to maintain, offers a better option for long-term gum health and provides a more visually appealing solution than bridge work, with the final implant looking and feeling like a real tooth. With a single implant procedure that replaces the missing tooth’s root, the patient’s jawbone is also preserved and protected from gum disease in the future.
Multiple implants – The same procedure is done for patient’s requiring one or multiple dental implants. When more than one tooth require replacement, more than one post is placed into the patient’s jawbone and permanent crowns are attached to the implants. This provides a permanent solution for more than one missing teeth and dental implants offer a more cosmetically pleasing solution than full or partial dentures. When replacing several teeth, multiple implants protect the patient’s natural jawbone with placement of the implant directly into the bone. With dentures, the bone around the missing teeth can deteriorate over time. In contrast, dental implant surgery protects the patient’s healthy teeth and offers a long-term, more secure solution than dentures, ensuring no impact to the patient’s speech.
Full arch/graft-less – Patients with bone loss can also now receive dental implants using a graft-less process. Either a full-arch or missing teeth replacement can be done using synthetic or harvested bone instead of bone collected from the patient. Once the bone graft is completed, time is still needed for the area to heal before the final dental implant procedure is completed. In addition, extra long implants can also be used as an alternative. This procedure is called Zygomatic Dental Implants because they are anchored into the zygomatic bone when additional bone density is required.
Sinus Lift Augmentation
After the loss of upper back teeth, your sinuses may enlarge in size. Before new implants replace the lost teeth, a sinus lift augmentation or graft relocates the sinus cavity into its original position and replaces the bone that has been 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.
Occasionally, ideal areas where dental implants are to be placed do not have sufficient bone quantity to predictably place the implants. In these cases, it is often necessary to “borrow” bone from another area of your mouth to graft into the deficient area. Often the area of choice is from the chin or in the back of the jaw where your wisdom teeth used to be.
Implant Site Development
When a tooth needs to be removed due to infection, it is not uncommon to have 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.
Dental Implants Health Benefits
One of the most visible benefits of dental implant surgery is the affect on your smile. With this permanent solution to missing teeth, the procedure offers patients a natural smile that looks and feels like their original teeth. As an alternative to dentures, the implants won’t slip, shift, or affect a patient’s speech. Both eating and speaking with implants feels normal for the patient after surgery and healing is complete.
In addition to cosmetic benefits and a confidence boost, the benefits to a patient’s long-term oral health from dental implants are numerous as well. The procedure does not affect or damage the surrounding teeth and in fact, helps protect and improve jawbone health in the future. As an alternative to bridge work, implants are easier to floss and brush around. This makes them easier to keep clean and healthier than dentures or bridges, reducing the risk of future gum disease. The long-term success of the patient’s dental implant requires good regular oral hygiene, just like caring for your original teeth.
In dental implant surgery, the implant posts are made from the metal titanium, which is used in many types of medical grade prosthetics, including artificial joints. Titanium is used in more than 90% of dental implants in the U.S. In addition, holistic alternatives that are not made from metal are also available. Zirconia posts are made from ceramic and come designed as one piece, with the artificial root and the tooth crown connected. Titanium posts are implanted in two pieces, with the permanent crown attached to the post once implanted.
Why Dental Implants?
More than 150 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. Dental implants have been used for several decades to offer a permanent, pain-free solution for missing or diseased teeth. They have been used to help patients of all ages. One result from dental implants is the filling out of the jaw of a patient that can become sunken due to missing teeth.
Because dental implants are fixed to the patient’s jaw, there is also no slipping, movement, or other impact to a patient’s daily life. Chewing and eating is normal with implants. In addition, dental implants are easier and healthier to maintain and improve oral health as an alternative to dentures and bridgework. There is no impact on a patient’s speech, drinking or eating with this long-term solution.
Dental implants are:
- not removed for cleaning or upkeep
- can be brushed and cleaned with a regular oral hygiene regiment
- are not held by adhesives
- provide a more comfortable, pain-free solution to missing teeth
- do not limit your eating and drinking habits
- promote oral health and prevent bone deterioration
- provide a natural, healthy smile.
Once your dental implant restoration is completed, it is important to keep the area clean and free of infection. Dental implants can accumulate plaque and tartar just as teeth can. Whether you have just one tooth replaced by an implant or several, professional cleanings will be necessary to keep your implants healthy. The time interval for these professional cleanings will be determined by your individual needs.