Implants

Before development of dental implants, fixed crown and bridge, removable partial or complete dentures were the alternatives to replacing a missing tooth or teeth.

Dental implants are titanium fixtures that resemble your tooth root. These titanium fixtures are placed in the area of the tooth that normally was occupied by the root. Implants are anchored to the jawbone and act as a foundation for a restorative dental implant crown, permanent fixed bridge to replace more than a single missing tooth or even to retain loose dentures. In the case of retaining loose dentures, it can be achieved by attaching the dentures to locators ( FYI http://media.web.straumann.com/content/13/33/665/) or bar (FYI   http://media.web.straumann.com/content/13/33/664/

Although most of the patients are candidates for having prosthesis retaining by dental implants, some patients may require more complex bone surgery to achieve this goal. For a successful implant to take hold, a candidate must have proper bone density and have a strong immune system. In all cases, dental implants require strict oral hygiene and smokers are encouraged to quit for a better prognosis of the dental implants.

Implants are so well designed that they mimic the look and feel of natural teeth. Implants are usually made of a synthetic yet biocompatible material like metal (titanium) or ceramic (Zirconia).

Surgery is necessary to prepare the area for an implant and place the implant in the mouth. Following the procedure, a period of time is required for the implant to take hold and for bone tissue to build up and anchor the device. After this healing period of the bone, known as "osseointegration" , metal posts (called abutments) are inserted into the implant during a follow-up procedure to connect to the future tooth crown. In some cases, your dentist will take an imnpression to fabricate and cement this crwon in their office. In other situations, a single impression is taken and the tooth crwon and abutment are placed together and retained by screwing into the fiture without the need of tooth crown cementation.

Because implants require surgery, patients are administered local infiltrative anesthesia and, if necessary, antibiotics to prevent infection following the procedure.

Like any restoration, implants require diligent oral hygiene and proper care to ensure they last a long time.