Previously, removable partials or dentures, and bridges attached to abutment teeth were the only options for replacing missing teeth; however, the world of cosmetic and restorative dentistry has continued to advance, and so has the Smile Center in Campbellsville, Kentucky. Today, a dental implant with an artificial tooth (i.e., a crown) or dental implants with a bridge are being used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth or an entire arch. A dental implant with a crown is the closest thing an individual can get to having a healthy natural tooth. With dental implants instead of dentures or partials, patients can eat whatever they want again and they never have to worry about their teeth clicking, clacking or falling down.
What is a Dental Implant?
An implant can consist of titanium alloy or ceramic. The implant looks like a screw. It is secured into the section of the jawbone where the missing tooth’s root used to be. The implant may be anchored to the jawbone itself or to metal framework that is on the bone. Once in place, the implant becomes the foundation for a crown or a part of the foundation for a bridge.
Sometimes, implants are used to attach dentures: If this is the case, patients still have the ability to remove their dentures, but when the dentures are in, the dentures remain firmly in place.
What is an Implant Abutment?
An implant abutment is a connector that is used to hold and support the crown or bridge. This connector is placed on top of the implants, in between the implant and the crown or bridge.
If the patient does not have an adequate amount of bone in the jaw, a preliminary bone grafting procedure may be performed. During a bone grafting procedure, the dentist adds more bone to the area that is lacking. Sometimes, the dental implant can be placed directly thereafter; whereas, other times the implant placement procedure must be scheduled for a later date.
Dental Implant Surgery
Anesthesia is administered during this procedure and antibiotics may be prescribed following the surgery to help stave off infection.
Once the bone graft has healed, the implant can be inserted into the jawbone. It will take some time for the osseointegration process to occur. Osseointegration refers to the process of the bone integrating with the dental implant: It is the biocompatibility of titanium alloy and ceramic that has made them the choice for dental implants, the jawbone can integrate with both of these materials.
One-Stage Implant Surgery — No Bone Graft
Although some patients will require more than one surgery for implant placement, many will be able to have a one-stage procedure in which the implants, abutments and a temporary crown or bridge are placed. The patient will return three to six months later for permanent crown or bridge placement. This pause in treatment allows the osseointegration process to take place.