Dental implants have become one of the best replacement options for missing teeth. Before the age of implants, the only way to replace missing teeth was to place dental bridges, partial or full dentures. With success rates well over 95% over 10 year studies, a well-planned and well-placed implant is a great option for teeth replacement. Dentistry has come a long way!
Dental implants are made from titanium metal that “fuse” to the jawbone. Once an implant is healed or osseointegrated, it is ready for a restoration.
A dental implant can have three parts:
- the implant that fuses to the bone
- an abutment which is a small post the fits over the implant at the gum level
- a crown that fits over the post. Sometimes the abutment and crown are fused together into one component
Dental implants can be used for a variety of reasons:
- To replace a single missing tooth instead of a dental bridge
- To replace multiple missing teeth with an implant-supported bridge
- To replace an entire arch, jaw, of teeth with an implant-retained or implant-supported denture
While dental implants are a solution for all people, there are some categories of patients that are higher risk for implants:
- Those with compromised medical histories
- Uncontrolled diabetics
- Patients with severe periodontal disease
The first step in implant planning is to determine the quality and quantity of remaining bone. If a tooth is going to be extracted and a future implant may be planned, a bone preservation graft is commonly indicated to help preserve the remaining bone.