Modern dental implants have been around since the 1970s and there have been many improvements in the design and in how the procedure is conducted. It was originally designed to help people who have lost all their teeth but now, single teeth can be replaced using these new technologies and procedures.
It’s not just a dentist
Getting dental implants is not as simple as going in for a tooth removal or a cavity filling. It is a surgical procedure that is handled by a team. The team consists of:
- A surgical specialist (periodontist, oral surgeon or general dentist)
- A restorative dentist
- A dental lab technician
The restorative dentist plans tooth restorations, the lab technician fabricates them and the surgical specialist installs them. This team works together to assess and plan for the procedure; from the implants within the bone to the crowns, bridgework or dentures above them.
The implants are surgically fitted into the precision channels created in the jawbone. The idea here is to ensure that they are as close to the bone as possible, to facilitate integration before attaching the teeth to them.
Three basic options
Depending on the nature of tooth loss, there are three ways that implants can be installed:
- Single tooth
The implant is installed immediately after the extraction. Then a crown is screwed onto the implant and looks just like your natural tooth.
- Multiple teeth or some single teeth
With multiple teeth replacement, the implants are usually placed 6 months after extractions. Then again healing is allowed to occur for 6 months before the implants are restored. They can be restored with bridges, crowns or even dentures. It depends on the condition of your remaining teeth, gums and bones as well as a number of other factors. While the healing is occurring a temporary restoration is placed for functional and esthetic reasons.
- 3.Removable implant-supported replacement
This is done to cover extensive teeth loss. For instance, if you have lost all your lower teeth, or all your upper teeth, you could be a candidate for this procedure. The use of removable dentures is necessary since in such cases there is extensive bone loss and gum-tissue loss that cannot support direct installation of a series of bridgework.
Dental implants are one of dentistry’s proudest achievements and have been used widely to improve the lives of people of all ages.