As we go through the normal ranges of life, the loss of a tooth can happen. We can lose a tooth from decay, trauma or disease. Where missing teeth used to be thought of as normal, today we know that missing teeth can lead to a number of other dental complications. Problems including alterations to your diet, how you open and close your mouth, or even changes in your speech can occur. We want you to have a healthier smile longer. At Hickerson & Associates, DDS. PC., we specialize in tooth replacement with a variety of options to prevent these secondary problems while improving your smile. One of our most popular restorations involves the surgical placement of a new root system using a dental implant. They have revolutionized the way we correct both the function and the aesthetics of missing teeth.
What Is An Implant Restoration?
An implant restoration is more than just a false tooth, it is a reconstruction of the entire structure from the base. This restoration generally consists of three components:
|The Implant: The dental implant is a titanium post that is designed to be set into the jawbone. It closely resembles a screw, with a threaded end and a head. The threaded end is designed to capture a maximum amount of bone when we surgically sink it into position. As the bone heals, it grows around the threads, bonding the two together for a firm permanent hold. This will serve as a new root system for your replacement prosthetic.
|The Abutment: This is the support piece. It attaches to the head of the implant and will allow for prosthetics to be attached. This small connecting piece is necessary to the restoration.
|The Restoration: The restoration piece is the prosthetic that we use to replace one or more missing teeth. Depending on the work being done, you may require a single implant or multiple implants to secure the device. Prosthetic pieces may include a dental crown, a bridge, partial denture or even full denture.
The Implant Procedure
Having a dental implant placed is a minimally invasive procedure, though having it placed by a dentist who is trained in the process is key. From the planning, to the surgery and finally the healing process, all components of this process are important to the implants long term success.
A huge part of the implant procedure is in the planning phase. We will meet for a consultation to discuss what type of restoration you need. We will review x-ray images and discuss your medical history. Though implants can be used on even our more medically delicate patients, we will want to ensure that the patient is able to heal at a typical rate. There are some factors that can reduce a patient’s ability to heal such as patients who smoke tobacco or marijuana, patients who have diabetes that is not being controlled, patients who are taking certain medications and patients who are currently being treated for cancer. These factors do not exclude you from implant surgery, but we may need to discuss alterations that need to be made, we may even ask to speak with your personal physician.
Another important aspect in planning your implant procedure is ensuring that you have sufficient bone to hold the implant. Performing a bone graft procedure is a very common step prior to implant placement, though this will depend on the prosthetic being used. Patients receiving the implant stabilized denture system known as the All-on-4® Treatment Concept may not need a bone graft due to the longer implants being used.
The planning phase will also include the treatment of infection, periodontitis, prior to surgery. We do not want the surgical site to become infected.
With the planning in place, we can then perform the implant surgical insertion. We will review your sedation options with you, most patients find a local anesthetic to be sufficient, but we have other options as well.
We will make a small incision to open the gums and expose the underlying bone. The number of incisions we make is dictated by the number of implants you need, all of which is discussed in the planning. We will then use a specialized drill to create the space in the bone for the implant. The implant is inserted into the bone and then we close the area up with a suture. With the implant in place, we will then send the patient home for a period of healing.
The soft tissue should heal within a couple of days, but the bone healing can take several months. We want the bone to grow around the implant. During this time, you will need to take precaution of the foods you eat, we will want you to be protective of your implant.
The bone healing process is known as osseointegration, which means taking in to the bone. The implant and the bone are fusing together in this natural healing process. Once the bone has sufficiently healed, we can then attach your prosthetic. You end up with a fully rebuilt, restored tooth.
Schedule Your Consultation Now!
Find out if you, too, could benefit from implant restoration. Call (346) 352-1333 to schedule your initial consultation today!