Before the development of dental implants, dentures were the only alternative to replacing a missing tooth or teeth. Implants are synthetic structures that are placed in the area of the tooth normally occupied by the root. Implants are anchored to the jawbone or metal framework on the bone and act as a foundation for an artificial tooth or permanent bridge. In some cases, implants can be used to attach dentures.

Not everyone is a candidate for a dental implant. For a successful implant to take hold, a candidate must have proper bone density and have a strong immune system.

Implants are so well-designed, they mimic the look and feel of natural teeth. Implants are usually made of titanium.

In general, good candidates who have dental implants can expect high success rates with the procedure.

Dental implants have revolutionized dentistry, making it possible to replace a single tooth or all teeth. Implants are inserted into the jawbone and are made of titanium (this metal does well in the body and rarely causes any reaction in patients). Dental implants provide greater structural support and last longer than either dental bridges or dentures.

Types of Dental Implants

Root implant: -In implant dentistry; this is the most popular form of the dental implant. This type of dental implant is beneficial and mirrors the size and shape of a patient’s natural tooth. Once the dentist applies the local anesthesia, he or she makes an incision in the gum to gain access to the jawbone. The bone is then prepared, and the dental implant is inserted into the jawbone with care and precision. Finally, the dentist stitches the gums and, if necessary, prescribes an appropriate medication.

During the Osseointegration step, which lasts anywhere from three to eight months, the jawbone firmly attaches itself to the dental implant. Once Osseointegration is complete, the dental implant is fitted with the new tooth.

Plate form implant: -Another form of implant dentistry is the Plate form implant. This dental implant is ideal in situations where the jawbone is not full enough to properly support a root implant. The plate form dental implant is long and thin, unlike the root implant, and anchors into thin jawbones. The insertion process is the same as for a root implant, but in some instances, dental plate implants are immediately fitted with the restoration without waiting for the Osseointegration period.

Subperiosteal implant:- This dental implant method is utilized when the jawbone has receded to the point where it no longer supports a permanent implant. These implants are placed on top of the bone and embedded in the gum’s, but not in the jawbone as with the other types of dental implants. The dentist applies local anesthesia and makes a mold of the mouth and jawbone. From this impression, a dental lab constructs implants to custom fit the patient’s jaw. The dentist exposes the jawbone and inserts the dental implant on top of it. Over the next month, the gum’s grow up and around the implant. This same type of implant can sometimes be performed in a single procedure with the use of an initial CAT scan of the gum line and jawbone.

Preservation Required

Although patients should always practice proper dental hygiene, this is especially true once a dental implant has been put into place. When teeth and gums are not adequately cleaned, bacteria can attack sensitive areas, causing the glue to swell and the jawbone to recede gradually.

Your teeth should last throughout your lifetime. However, we know this isn’t always the case. For many years man has endeavored to find an ideal replacement for natural teeth. Tooth loss is a problem as it causes difficulty with eating and normal chewing function. Missing teeth within the smile area can also have a significant effect on one’s appearance and confidence. Removable dentures, bridges, and implants are all common alternatives for missing teeth but what is the real difference between each of them.

Removable dentures

Also known as false teeth, dentures are removable and are one of the oldest forms of tooth replacement available to man. According to Wikipedia, the first dentures were found about 700 BC. There are different types of dentures; full complete dentures are supported only by gum tissues while partial dentures are backed by a combination of gum tissues and natural teeth. Although removable dentures are very common, most denture wearers find removable dentures uncomfortable, trying to live with and would prefer a reliable alternative. Unlike natural teeth dentures move while eating and sometimes during a speech.

Bridges

Dental bridges are supported and joined to natural teeth. Unlike removable dentures, dental bridges are fixed, comfortable and secure. Dental bridges are more comfortable than removable dentures as they feel and function like natural teeth. However, there are disadvantages to fixed bridges. The adjacent teeth are prepared to support the bridge, and this requires the removal/reduction of a uniform thickness of tooth. This reduction in tooth material removes the protective layer of enamel and can lead to future problems. In some instances, it was shown that 50% of teeth prepared for bridge work required root canal treatment within three years after tooth preparation.

Dental Implants

Implants are small titanium screws that are placed into the jaw bone to replace single or multiple missing teeth. Bone tissue has an affinity for titanium and over time will fuse with the titanium surface. This process is called osseointegration. Implants have been a likely and viable option for replacing missing teeth for more than 30 years, and dental professionals consider it the most effective treatment for missing teeth.

Implants look, feel and the function like healthy natural teeth. The overall look improves confidence and gives one a natural smile. They feel just like natural teeth, removing the fears associated with dentures falling out or slipping. Implants are fixed into position so there is no movement when eating or talking and speech is not affected (the way it can be with dentures).

Dental implants are especially suitable for patients who are unable to cope with uncomfortable or moving dentures. Before dental implant treatment can be carried out a thorough analysis of the mouth needs to be completed. The quality and volume of bone are evaluated using radiographs and 3D imaging. Dental implants come in many different shapes and sizes, and your implant surgeon will assess which implant is best suited for your mouth.

The procedure can take several visits. During the first visit, an anchor is placed into the jawbone and the site is allowed to heal for several weeks or months. This gives your tissue time to grow around the anchor to more firmly hold it in place.

During a follow-up visit, an artificial, natural-looking tooth is fitted over the implanted anchor.

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Types of implants

Various types of implants include full upper and lower, anterior, posterior, and single-tooth.


Full upper replacements

The upper set of teeth is replaced with implants.

Procedure steps include:

  • Missing tooth roots are replaced with implants, which are covered under the gum line.
  • A healing period of up to six months allows implants to take.
  • The implants are uncovered and extensions attached.
  • Replacement teeth are affixed to the implants and extensions.

In some cases, full upper replacements can be removed.

Anterior replacement

Implants are used to replace the front teeth (also called incisors and cuspids).

Procedure steps include:

  • Missing tooth roots are replaced with implants, which are covered under the gum line.
  • A healing period of up to six months allows implants to take.
  • The implants are uncovered and extensions attached.
  • Replacement teeth are affixed to the implants and extensions.

Full lower replacement

The lower set of teeth is replaced with implants.

Full lower replacement usually only uses four to six implants (near the front), which are used to anchor a denture. This obviates the need for denture adhesive.

Posterior replacement

Implants are used to replace the bicuspids and molars (the back teeth).

Procedure steps include:

  • Missing tooth roots are replaced with implants, which are covered under the gum line.
  • A healing period of up to six months allows implants to take.
  • The implants are uncovered and extensions attached.
  • Replacement teeth are affixed to the implants and extensions.

Single tooth replacement

Procedure steps include:

  • Missing tooth root is replaced with an implant, which remains covered under the gum line.
  • A healing period of up to six months allows the implant to take.
  • The implant is uncovered and an extension attached.
  • Replacement tooth is affixed to the implant and extension.