Dental implants are an option available to replace missing teeth. A dental implant is a titanium rod that is fused to the jawbone in order to function as the tooth root, which will support a dental crown. To replace multiple missing teeth, a few implants can hold a bridge, dentures, or partial dentures. The replacement teeth will look and function like natural teeth and can improve a person’s ability to smile, speak, and chew properly.
Although dentures and bridges that are supported by the natural tooth root can remedy many of the problems associated with missing teeth, they cannot prevent future bone loss the way dental implants can. This is why dental implants are often recommended to most patients who need to replace missing teeth.
Few people know that when a tooth is lost, the lack of stimulation to the supporting jawbone causes a decrease in bone volume and density over time (atrophy). As the jawbone shrinks, the overlying muscle and skin collapse along with it, which can make a person appear older than their actual age.
Dental implants prevent the wasting away of the jawbone by serving as an anchor for the new teeth. During the recovery process, the jawbone will literally attach itself to the dental implant, a process known as “osseointegration.” As chewing forces are transmitted to the bone surrounding the dental implant over time, bone growth is stimulated and bone density and volume is maintained. Since much of the bone loss from a missing tooth will occur within the first year after tooth loss, it is best to install the dental implant as soon as the tooth is extracted.
Dr. Peter K. Moy, DMD
Peter K. Moy, DMD is a clinical professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery in the Division of Diagnostic & Surgical Sciences at the UCLA School of Dentistry. He is the first person to hold the Nobel Biocare Endowed Chair in Surgical Implant Dentistry. He also serves as the director of the UCLA Dental Implant Center and the Straumann Surgical Dental Clinic.
Dental Implants: Fast Facts
- Dental implants are made of titanium, which permanently fuses to the jawbone.
- According to credible research, 25 percent of bone loss occurs during the first year after tooth loss and will gradually continue throughout life. Dental implants inserted soon after tooth extraction can prevent bone loss from occurring.
- Dental implants are a more reliable alternative to dentures or fixed bridgework because there is no risk of developing bone damage.
- Dental implants are the only prosthetic that offers a replacement root system; other prosthetics rely on surrounding structures for support.
Best Candidates for Dental Implants
Dental implants are a solution for patients of all ages, with the exception of growing children.
The best candidates for dental implants have:
- Good general and oral health
- Adequate bone in the jaw to support the dental implant
- Healthy gum tissue free of periodontal disease
Although ideal candidates are those who have good oral and general health and have adequate bone mass, dental implants may be used on patients who do not meet these criteria. Dental implants have been successfully placed in those who have existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Those who have lost their teeth and have experienced bone loss as a result of periodontal disease or decay have also experienced good results with dental implants. Certain procedures, such as ridge augmentation or a sinus lift, may be necessary to improve jaw deformities or to ensure that the dental implants have enough bone to attach to. During a consultation at Art of Dentistry Institute , your health history and the oral and dental structures will be assessed to determine if you are a candidate for the procedure.
Learn More About All on 4 Implants in this short video from Nobel BioCare:
Types of Dental Implants
- Endosteal Implants — The most common type of dental implants, these are surgically implanted directly into the jawbone.
- Subperiosteal Implants — Subperiosteal implants are placed under the gum but above the jawbone. These dental implants are for those who have a shallow jawbone but cannot or do not want to undergo a procedure to rebuild it.
Dental Implants Procedure Process
- Replacing a single tooth – One dental implant with a crown cemented or screwed to it will replace a single tooth.
- Replacing several teeth – Fixed bridges will replace several teeth using few to several dental implants. Adjacent natural teeth may need to be shaped or cut down to receive the bridged crowns.
- Replacing all teeth – Dental implants can support a full bridge or full dentures.
The exact number of dental implants required to provide adequate, long-lasting support depends on many things, including the amount and quality of existing bone, the bite, and other anatomic factors.
The procedural process involves two phases:
Your dentist will determine the type, number, and location of the dental implant(s) needed for the restoration during the initial phase, and arrangements will be made to have the dental implant(s) put in place.
Phase 1: Dental Implant Placement
The titanium implant is placed in the jawbone and is allowed to heal for three to six months before the restoration is installed. Typically, an interim restoration is worn by the patient during the healing time.
Phase 2: Prosthetics
This final step involves the fabrication of the artificial crown that is securely anchored to the underlying dental implant.
The overall success of the entire dental implant depends on the anatomic situation of each individual patient, the expertise of the dentist and the dental laboratory, and the communication between them.
Immediate Implant Placement
Dental implants can be immediately placed into fresh extraction sockets on the same day , which limits overall treatment time and offers some esthetic and functional advantages.
Immediate Implants Procedure Process
If you are considering immediate dental implants, you will first meet with expert cosmetic and Implant dentist Dr. Hawary, who will take a complete history from you about your medical history and current health, to make sure that you are a candidate for dental implant surgery. Dr. Hawary will examine your teeth, jaw and gums; and review your x-rays. He will take impressions of your teeth to make a diagnostic wax-up before the surgical appointment, to fabricate the temporary restoration. This simplifies the clinical procedure and limits chairside treatment time.
A traumatic tooth extraction is the first and one of the most critical steps of immediate dental implant placement as it minimizes loss of bone and soft tissue, and reduces postoperative swelling.
Immediate placement of your new tooth
Once the dental implant and abutment are in place, Dr. Hawary will place and adjust the temporary crown to protect your implant as it heals, and allow you to smile, speak and eat normally.
Placement of Final restoration
This final step involves the fabrication of the final artificial crown that is securely anchored to the underlying implant three to six months after implant placement, when healing is complete and the implant has been integrated with the jawbone
If you need to replace one, a few, or all of your teeth, dental implants may be the solution for you. Please schedule a consultation at Art of Dentistry Institute in Orange County by calling 949-955-3366. We look forward to hearing from you!