A Brief History of Implants
Archeologists have recovered ancient skulls where teeth have been replaced by materials such as cast iron and carved sea shells. Modern dental implants made from titanium have been placed extensively since the 1970s. Titanium offers the benefit of being lightweight and strong and is not rejected by the body (biocompatible). It is the most widely-used metal in orthopedic joint replacement and dental implants. Most dental implants are titanium screws that are placed into the jaw bone in a relatively pain-free procedure. There the implant serves as an anchor for a custom-made tooth crown that will be attached to it. Once the crown is in place, you may not be able to tell it apart from your natural teeth
Who is a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Dental implants can be placed in most adults who are in good to moderate health. They are not typically placed in adolescents until they have reached their full expected height. Certain uncontrolled medical conditions may decrease the effectiveness of implant treatment, so be sure to discuss your full medical history with Dr. Conness before beginning treatment.
Every patient is different and patient results may vary. Only a trained clinician can determine the best treatment plan for you. Please ask Dr. Conness to explain the benefits and risks to see if tooth replacement with implants is right for you.
What to Expect From the Process
Implant treatment can be broken down into four phases: treatment planning, implant placement, crown placement and hygiene maintenance. Your doctor will take x-rays and create a model of your existing teeth to determine how the implant should be placed. Occasionally, a bone or gum tissue graft will be needed to provide an adequate site for placement.
The implant is then placed in the bone and given a period of time to heal (osseointegrate) before attachment of the crown. In some cases, you can receive a temporary crown the same day. The final crown is usually placed 3-6 months after implant placement.
Maintaining your dental hygiene is the most important role you will play in the long-term success of your implant. Your doctor will give you specific instructions for brushing and flossing the area and put you on a regular check-up cycle. Given proper care, dental implants can give a lifetime of satisfaction. In the rare instances that implants do not function properly, your doctor can usually perform a procedure to correct the problem.
Tooth Replacement Options
Conventional treatment options for tooth replacement, Crown & Bridge and full or partial dentures, address the short-term cosmetic problem of the missing teeth, but do nothing to stop the bone loss. Crown & Bridge also requires that two or more healthy teeth be ground down to serve as abutments (anchors) for a bridge, leaving them at a much greater risk for cavities and endodontic failure. If the original abutment teeth fail, more healthy teeth must be sacrificed to serve as anchors, while you continue to lose bone beneath the bridge. However, with implants, the healthy teeth are left alone. Plus, dental implants, like natural teeth, transmit chewing forces to the jaw, stimulating it and halting the bone loss. This is why many leading dental organizations now recognize dental implants as the standard of care for tooth replacement. Click here for information about the numerous implant tooth replacement options that are available.
Dr. Conness uses the Hahn Tapered Implant System. These specialized implants are designed to be versatile, efficient, precise, and stable. The tapered engineering allows them to be a solution for nearly every patient regardless of their implant needs, including limited space, immediate placement after extraction, as well as full-arch implants.
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Teeth in a Day
This very popular implant technique refers to the procedures that allow for the placement of multiple dental implants and on the same day an implant-supported provisional restoration is attached to the implants. This prosthesis is meant to be an interim prosthesis to allow for the healing of the implants while they attach to the patient’s jaw bone. This healing period can vary depending on each patient’s medical status but is usually between four and nine months. After this initial healing period a new long-term prosthesis is made for the patient. In current dental research, there are reports of patients wearing their provisional restorations well beyond this initial healing & stabilization period but it is not recommended.
Even though you receive a provisional restoration the day your implants are placed there are several presurgical appointments to evaluate if you are a candidate for an implant procedure. In general, an initial appointment would include a complete dental & medical evaluation, screening x-ray and answering any of your initial questions. If you decide to proceed further then more significant dental and medical information needs to be gathered to plan and customize your implant-supported prosthesis. This information may include a medical consult, intraoral photographs, preoperative models of your existing dental condition and a CT scan. After a thorough review of this information, your implant case will be discussed with your final goals in mind for a great finished product & a greatly improved quality of life.
For your convenience & comfort, we provide both the surgical implant placement and restoration of your implants at one convenient location!
For questions about this procedure any other dental implant surgical or restorative procedure please contact our office for a FREE IMPLANT CONSULT at YOUR CONVENIENCE!
Tooth Loss, Bone Loss, and Dental Implants
Losing one or more of your teeth starts a chain of events that can have dire physical and cosmetic consequences. The most obvious result is a gap in your smile. Less obvious is the loss of chewing function and the inability to eat a complete diet that can result from it. While these are certainly serious issues, a potentially bigger problem lies hidden beneath the surface: bone loss. Without the tooth to stimulate the jaw, the bone beneath it will begin to disappear (atrophy) in the same manner that muscle underneath a cast gets smaller. Since your facial bone supports the skin and muscles on top of it, losing volume can cause your face to look prematurely aged. The good news is that dental implants offer a solution to stop bone loss.
New advances in the field of medicine and dentistry have led to the development of more effective treatments for patients. One area of dentistry that benefits from these advances is bone grafting. A bone graft is a surgical procedure that involves the placement of a bone substitute material into a defect to replace missing bone. Once implanted, the graft material aids the body in making new bone. Over time, most of the graft material will be replaced by new bone. The ideal material for any bone grafting procedure is autogenous bone, which is bone taken from another part of your own body. Fortunately, there are many bone substitutes available in implant dentistry today. Dr. Conness will discuss with you the most advanced and effective bone substitute for your situation.
- Bone grafting widens the scope of dental implant placement
- 40-60% bone loss of the original height and width can be expected post-extraction within four to six months
- 49% of dental implants placed in the US include the use of some type of bone grafting
Implant Dental Hygiene Recommendations
After you have finished with your dental implant restoration, maintaining your dental implants it is crucial for the long-term success of your new prosthesis. For the first two years after completing your treatment it is recommended that you see our hygienist every three months to help you maintain your implants. After this initial two-year period you & our hygienist will develop a customized hygiene program for you. This may increase the interval between hygiene appointments to four-month intervals with the goal of getting you on a six-month schedule. Your hygiene program will be tailored for the long term success of your implants. You have made a significant investment in your dental health and we want to help you protect your investment & give you years of good function of your implant prosthesis. Your home care will be reviewed at each visit & we will help coach you on maintaining your implants.
Of all the ways modern dentistry has to replace missing teeth, dental implants are by far the best. There is no tooth-replacement option that will give you a longer-lasting result. Implants also help preserve tooth-supporting bone that naturally deteriorates when a tooth is lost. Loss of bone is one of the major hidden consequences of losing teeth.
A dental implant most often takes the form of a small, screw-shaped titanium post that replaces the root-part of a missing tooth. The surgical procedure used to place an implant is actually quite minor and routine, requiring only local anesthesia in most cases. After a healing period, the implant is topped with a lifelike crown custom-made to match your existing natural teeth. Implants have a documented success rate of over 95%, which is significantly higher than any other tooth-replacement option.
During a minor surgical procedure done in the dental office, your dental implant is inserted directly into the jawbone in the space vacated by the missing tooth. We schedule about 45 minutes to an hour to place one implant but much less time is required for additional implants. Initially, time is spent reviewing medical history, taking your blood pressure and providing you with the proper anesthesia. Any post-operative discomfort can normally be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. Your implant will then be left to heal for a period of months before the final crown is attached. During this healing period, the implant actually fuses to the bone surrounding it. We use implants made by the Hahn Tapered Implants because of the technological innovations they have made to ensure the best possible healing, success rate, and final result.
Dental Implant Treatment Options
You’ll be amazed to learn more about the variety of ways dental implants can be used to replace one tooth, multiple teeth or even all teeth in your mouth. Implants are so strong, they can support bridgework or a fixed denture, meaning a full row of teeth (top or bottom) can be anchored by as few as four implants. And as few as two implants can be used to stabilize a lower removable denture so it won’t slip while you’re eating or speaking.
If you need to have failing teeth removed, we may be able to place dental implants into the tooth sockets immediately after removing the teeth if circumstances allow. This has some definite advantages — the major one being that you will need just one surgical procedure rather than two. Depending on how many implants you received and where they are in your mouth, we also may even be able to give you a temporary dental crown or a set of temporary teeth to wear during this healing phase. That way, you will not only walk out of the dental office with new implants but possibly new teeth as well! But please be assured that we will not rush anything; if your unique situation requires us to allow more healing time and to finish your new teeth in stages, that is what we will do.
Computer-Guided Implant Surgery
Computer-guided implant surgery can result in a shorter implant-placement procedure with minimal discomfort and a very precise result. A three-dimensional CT (computed tomography) scan of your jaw is used to create a template that resembles a nightguard or athletic mouthguard with holes in the plastic where the implants will go. This template is securely (but temporarily) fixed in position on the jaw to provide a precise guide for the placement of the implants. Since so much has been worked out in the planning stages, computer-guided implant surgery is typically uneventful for the patient and very predictably achieves the desired result.
Implant Care and Maintenance
There are only two ways an implant can lose attachment to the bone and fail once it has successfully fused: poor oral hygiene or excessive biting forces. Poor oral hygiene and/or a lack of regular cleanings can lead to a destructive bacterial infection called peri-implantitis. Flossing and brushing your teeth on a daily basis, along with regular professional cleanings, can prevent this. Excessive biting forces can come from either a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth or an insufficient number of implants to handle the forces generated by your bite. We will make sure you receive the correct number of implants so this does not happen. And if you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, we will recommend wearing a nightguard to protect your implants. After all, implants are a long-term investment in your smile, your health, and your well-being, so let’s do our best to protect your investment.
Learn more by reading frequently asked questions about dental implants.