Watch video 2- dental implant video
Dental Implants are in the simplest terms, tooth root replacements. They are essentially screws that when placed in bone actually induce the bone to attach itself to the surface of the implant. This is referred to as 'integration' and allows the implant to function as a root without fear of loosening.
Implants form the base upon which different things can be attached. In the case of single tooth replacement, a crown can be fabricated and attached. Implants can also be used as the abutments for a bridge, in other words several crowns connected together are supported by two implants. They can also be useful in retaining upper or lower dentures in individuals who want dentures that do not move.
Implants cannot be placed in everyone. There needs to be enough bone to place the implant into. Sometimes bone grafting can make up for deficiencies. This can be as minor as placing a small amount of commercially available bone grafting material under the gum. In some cases taking a small bit of bone from the back of the lower jaw or chin gives better results.
The implant placement procedure is straight forward and painless although it can be lengthy. IV sedation/ anesthesia is available for your comfort. The site is prepared by making a small window in the gum. A series of holes of increasing diameter are then drilled into the bone to the desired depth. The hole is then threaded and the implant is screwed in using a miniature torque wrench. Mother Nature does the rest. Integration usually takes 3 - 6 months. Failure is uncommon but can happen. This is usually due to infection or lack of integration for immunological or other reasons. Current evidence suggests 5 year survival of implants is about 95% and 10 year survival is 85% - 90%. Many of the first generation implants that were placed in the late 1960's are still in service. Factors such as low bone density, smoking, heavy bite, systemic disease (such as diabetes), the health of neighboring tissues and oral hygiene will play a major role in longevity of the implant.
New implant systems such as NobelBiocare's Active now allow for placement of the implant at the time of extraction. This approach greatly reduces the amount of healing time and requires only a single surgery. In a healthy area, such as a tooth that has broken off, there is no increased risk of failure. In cases where the tooth to be replaced is abscessed or there is significant periodontal disease, a more conservative approach of letting extraction sites heal for 60 - 90 days gives more predictable results.
Using Implants to restore the dentition is an excellent approach that does not burden neighboring teeth and results in good esthetics, function and patient satisfaction.