A Guide To Dental Implants

The Purpose Of Dental Implants

Dental implants can replace a single tooth or multiple teeth and may be a permanent solution for tooth loss. An implant is placed in the jaw bone and serves as the replacement tooth’s root. An artificial tooth or crown is then attached to the implant.

Non-Implant Tooth Replacement Options

Traditional Fixed Bridge

A traditional fixed bridge is attached to existing teeth using crowns that are placed on adjacent teeth. In order to replace one missing tooth, crowns are placed on teeth that may not otherwise need treatment.

Resin-Bonded Bridge (Maryland Bridge)

A Maryland Bridge contains only the artificial tooth and is held in place by bonding to existing teeth on both sides of the missing tooth.

Flipper

A flipper is a removable device like an orthodontic retainer with the artificial tooth attached. It fits within the shape of your existing teeth and is often held in place by small wire clasps. A flipper covers your palate or the inside of your lower jaw.

Denture

For those who have lost all of their teeth, dentures replace all teeth with one dental appliance for each jaw. Dentures are not permanent and can be removed easily for cleaning.

Implant Treatment Process

Step One

An implant can be placed wherever adequate bone structure is present. If necessary, a bone graft will be performed first. An incision is made in the gum tissue and a small hole is drilled into the bone. Your oral surgeon will then place the implant into the bone and close the incision with small stitches.

Step Two

After an adequate healing period, the implant will have fused to the bone. You will return to our office, and your surgeon will remove a small amount of gum tissue over the implant. A small metal healing cap will be attached to the top of the implant and will protrude slightly above the gum line.

Step Three

An implant can be placed wherever adequate bone structure is present. If necessary, a bone graft will be performed first. An incision is made in the gum tissue and a small hole is drilled into the bone. Your oral surgeon will then place the implant into the bone and close the incision with small stitches.

Step Four

After an adequate healing period, the implant will have fused to the bone. You will return to our office, and your surgeon will remove a small amount of gum tissue over the implant. A small metal healing cap will be attached to the top of the implant and will protrude slightly above the gum line.

Bone Grafting

Bone Grafting

Grafting is the process of removing a small amount of bone from one area and placing it in another deficient area.

Uses Donor Bone

The graft may consist of either your own bone from a donor site where your own bone is strong and healthy, synthetic material, a processed bone substitute, or a combination of these materials.

To Build Up Jawbone

If the bone surrounding the site of your missing tooth is not healthy or if there is not sufficient bone, then a graft may be necessary to build up a bone ridge where the implant is to be placed.

A bone graft may be necessary before implant surgery for any of a number of possible reasons. Gum disease or trauma can weaken and damage bone. It is possible as well that you naturally lack bone in a specific area.

When a tooth is extracted or missing, bone in that area may shrink. If you have a tooth extracted and plan to have an implant replace it, the surgeon may be able to tell you at the time of your extraction.

If bone will not sufficiently fill the socket and that you will need a bone graft, which can often be done at the time of the tooth extraction. This is known as site-preservation.

When teeth are lost in the upper jaw, the bone often shrinks, causing the sinus cavity to enlarge and encroach on the tooth-bearing area. This may result in the need for a sinus graft. By grafting bone under the lining of the sinus, the height of your upper jaw is increased. This graft creates an adequate foundation for the implant.

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& Schedule Your Dental Implant Appointment Today

For more information on all types of dental implants and your specific needs, please call our office today to schedule an appointment with one of our oral surgeons.