If you have one or several teeth missing, or even all of them, our dental office here at Jillian Prather Family Dentistry offers several different types of dental implant techniques to give you back the full function of your mouth and return your smile.
Single Tooth Dental ImplantsDental implants are a three-part prosthetic consisting of the implant - typically made out of titanium, an abutment (connector), and a replacement tooth (crown). The implant is inserted under the gum into the jawbone, taking the place of a tooth root. An abutment is joined to the implant and protrudes through the gum where the crown is placed over it to complete the procedure. In a single tooth implant, one implant is placed for each missing tooth.
Multiple Tooth Dental ImplantsMultiple tooth dental implants are used to replace rows of missing teeth. They can be used to replace just three teeth, or multiple teeth, and they replace them all through the complete upper or lower arch.
One of the main differences between single tooth implants and multiple tooth implants is that bone loss may not be such an issue for the placement of multiple dental implants as it is for single dental implants. This is because even though there may be patches of bone loss in the jaw, it may not be in the position where the implants need to be placed.
Traditionally, one dental implant replaced one missing tooth. Technically, all of your teeth could be replaced in this way, but it would be expensive and require a lot of surgery. Fortunately, over the years new innovations in dental technology have arrived and now some procedures replace more teeth on fewer dental implants. Some of the multiple dental implant procedures we perform include the following.
Implant Supported BridgeFor anyone with three or more missing teeth, an implant-supported bridge is similar to a traditional dental bridge. However, the bridge is supported by dental implants, rather than your natural teeth.
In this scenario, two dental implants are placed on each side of the gap and a dental bridge is attached to cover the missing space in between. Thus, three teeth are replaced with two dental implants. Bigger gaps can be filled using this technique, but more dental implants will be needed.
The benefit of this is that your natural teeth are not compromised, which is an issue with traditional dental bridges because so much of a tooth’s structure needs to be removed in order to accommodate a crown.
All-on-4® Treatment ConceptThe All-on-4® Treatment Concept is an innovative technique whereby all of the teeth in the jaw are replaced with an arch of teeth attached to just four dental implants. It is the new quick and less expensive way to correct any missing teeth.
This implant technique was first pioneered by Dr. Paulo Malo, an implantologist from Lisbon, Portugal, and is now commonplace across the world. It is a specialist technique and must be performed by a dentist who is trained and skilled in this procedure.
For patients who have bone loss in the jaw, this procedure does not always require bone grafting, depending on where and to what extent the amount of bone loss is. This is because the four dental implants are placed in specific areas along the jaw for perfect stability. Furthermore, the two dental implants placed in the rear of the mouth have greater contact with the jawbone because they are longer and placed at a more acute angle than traditional dental implants.
Implant Supported DentureAnother option for individuals who have lost all of their teeth is the implant supported denture. This is similar to the All-on-4 in that it is suitable for patients with no teeth.
However, an implant supported denture differs from the All-on-4 because the denture is removable. It simply snaps on and off the dental implants, which allows for easy cleaning. The amount of dental implants required for this procedure depends on whether it is the upper or lower jaw, and on the health of the jawbone, but as little as two dental implants can secure the denture firmly.
What Is the Procedure for Dental Implants?The procedure for dental implant placement takes place in two stages. The dental implant is placed directly into the jawbone during the first part of the procedure, and the crown is affixed in the second part.
The first part of the implant procedure is performed under a local anesthetic or combined with conscious sedation. The surgery involves making an incision in the gum above the point in the jawbone where the dental implant is to be placed. A hole is made in the bone and the dental implant is inserted before the gum tissue is stitched back in place.
It will require at least three months for your mouth to heal and for the process of osseointegration (when the bone and dental implant fuse together) to take place. This fusion of bone and the dental implant provides a strong base for the crown that will withstand the same forces exerted on it from biting and chewing as a natural tooth would.
The second stage of the dental implant procedure involves your gums being opened up again to expose the dental implant. The dentist will attach the abutment, which protrudes through the gums. The gums are then stitched back in place and the dental crown is affixed onto the abutment, completing the dental implant procedure.