A dental implant is an atrificial „root”, used to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are secured in the jawbone and are not visible once surgically placed. They are made of titanium, which is lightweight, strong and biocompatible, which means that it is not rejected by the body. Dental implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device. When teeth are lost, the bone that supported those teeth is lost, too. Placing dental implants stabilizes the bone, preventing its loss. Dental implants help you eat, chew, smile, talk and look completely natural. This functionality imparts social, psychological and physical well-being.
Options for implant tooth replacement
Single tooth replacement
Immediately (at the same time an implant is placed) or after a period of healing, an abutment is attached to the implant. This is a device that “abuts” or joins the implant to a tooth form called a crown, which replaces the tooth part you see in the mouth. It will hold a custom-made crown that the dental laboratory will fabricate and match with your existing teeth. The custom crown is cemented or screwed onto the abutment to permanently keep it in place. Once the crown is in place, it should be indistinguishable from your natural teeth.
Fixed Multiple Tooth Replacement
As with single tooth replacement, temporary healing caps or abutments may be placed on multiple implants until the healing is complete. After that, permanent abutments are attached to the implants. They can attach to custom-made crowns or bridgework that a dental laboratory will fabricate to match your existing teeth. In the final step, the custom bridge, which will replace multiple teeth, is cemented or screwed onto the abutments. This way the teeth will have been replaced without damaging the healthy teeth next to them and preventing bone loss.
Removable Implant-Supported Tooth Replacement
If all of your lower teeth are missing two to six implants may be used to support a lower denture depending on the design of the removable restoration. If all of your upper teeth are missing, a minimum of four implants may be used to support an upper denture. Removable dentures are often used to replace extensive tooth, bone and gum-tissue loss, thus providing support for the lips and cheeks. A new denture can have attachments that snap or clip it into place on the implants or a custom made bar can be fabricated to create additional strength and support for the restoration. Design variations are often related to your bone density and number of implants present; your dentist will discuss these options during the consultation. A significant advantage of a removable denture is facilitating the cleaning of the dental implants.