About Dental Implants:
Today’s dental implant restorations are virtually indistinguishable from other teeth. This appearance is aided in part by the structural and functional connection between the dental implant and the living bone. Implants are typically placed in a single sitting but require a period of osseointegration.
Next Best Thing to Natural Teeth:
Osseointegration is the process by which the dental implant anchors to the jaw bone. Osseointegrated implants are the most commonly used and successful type of dental implant. An osseointegrated implant takes anywhere from three to six months to anchor and heal, at which point your dentist can complete the procedure by placing a crown restoration. If osseointegration does not occur, the implant will fail.
Preparation for Dental Implants:
Dental implantation, which is performed to replace missing teeth, can be done any time after adolescence or when bone growth is complete. Certain medical conditions, such as active diabetes, cancer or periodontal disease, may require additional treatment before the implant procedure can be performed.
Overview of the Dental Implant Procedure:
Accurate placement of an implant requires a preparation to be drilled into the bone. A dental implant restoration is commonly composed of a titanium screw and a crown. A small-diameter hole, called the pilot hole, is drilled at edentulous (where there is no tooth) jaw sites in order to guide the titanium screw that holds a dental implant in place.
The equipment used has to be highly precise in speed and area to prevent burning of the jaw bone. After allowing some time (which varies from patient to patient) for the bone to grow around the implant, crowns can be placed on top of the implant. Mini dental implants are also available that can be loaded immediately; however placement of these implants depends greatly on the experience and ability of your dental practitionar, the quality of the implants used, the endurance of your jawbone and individual physical features.
Advanced Dental Implants:
To avoid damaging vital jaw and face structures like the inferior alveolar nerve in the mandible (lower jaw), a dentist must use great skill and expertise when boring the pilot hole and sizing the jaw bone. In many instances dentists use surgical guides created based on the CT scans when placing the dental implants.
During the drilling, which is done in clearly differentiated steps, the dentist takes care to avoid certain nerves, bone cell and other structures. Implant screws may be self-tapping and are screwed into place at a precise torque, making sure the surrounding bone is not overloaded, overheated or pressurized.
After the initial pilot hole has been drilled into the appropriate jaw site, it is slowly widened to allow placement of the implant screw. Once in place, surrounding gum tissue is secured over the implant and a protective cover screw is placed on top to allow the site to heal and osseointegration to occur. After two to six months of healing, your dentist will uncover the implant and attach an abutment (which holds the crown or tooth-like replacement) to the implant. In some cases, the abutment may be attached during the initial procedure. When the abutment is in place, your dentist then will create a temporary crown. The temporary crown serves as a template around which the gum grows and shapes itself in a natural way. The process is completed when the temporary crown is replaced with a permanent crown.