Dental Implants

Dental Implants


Prescription of dental implants is now mainstream
and has dramatically improved treatment of edentulous and partly edentulous patients. Dental implants may be thought of as replacement
tooth roots. Nearly any tooth in the jaw can be replaced
with an implant, which resembles a metal cylinder, and may be threaded. Once restored with a crown, implants are very
difficult to distinguish from natural teeth. Multiple dental implants may be restored with
individual crowns, or connected with fixed bridgework. Traditional placement of a dental implant
requires an incision to be made to access the underlying bone. A small pilot hole is made into the bone,
and its depth and angulation are checked. The hole is then enlarged to accommodate the
implant. The implant is placed, and a cover screw is
attached to prevent the gingiva from growing down into the implant while it integrates
into the bone. The gingival flap is closed and sutured. During the healing process, the bone remodels
away from the implant due to the body’s natural inflammatory response. Then, new bone begins to form. This process is known as “osseointegration.” Once the implant is firmly integrated, it
can be restored in various ways. A partial denture attachment can be placed,
or a tapered abutment can be restored with a single crown. Note how the teeth on either side of the implant
have not been altered at all – a major advantage of dental implants. In some cases it’s possible to remove a badly
damaged tooth and replace it with a dental implant on the same day. It may also be possible to attach a temporary
crown to the implant, so the patient never has to be without a tooth. In cases where this is achievable, the tooth
socket must first be enlarged to accommodate the implant with sufficient primary stability. If the tooth supporting bone is cracked, or
the tooth is infected, the procedure may not be advisable. If a patient is missing multiple teeth in
one quadrant of the mouth two dental implants can be placed and a fixed bridge built upon
them. In some cases, a “hybrid” bridge can be built
which connects a dental implant to a natural tooth. Patients who wear complete dentures may benefit
greatly from as few as two dental implants. Special fittings may be connected to the implants
to securely fasten the denture into the patient’s mouth for chewing and speaking. The patient need only remove it for cleaning
and tissue rest.

Author: Kevin Mason

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