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Everything You Need To Know About The Dental Implant Procedure

Dental Implants Procedure

A dental implant is a surgical procedure performed to replace the root of a missing tooth. The implant fixture is placed into the jaw bone where it will fuse with the bone over the course of a few months through a biological process known as “osseointegration." An implant fused to the bone is the closest way to mimic a natural tooth because it stands alone, just like a natural tooth root, without affecting nearby teeth and provides outstanding support for dental prosthetics. Dental implants are typically made of titanium, as this metal will integrate with the bone without the body's adverse reaction, thinking it's a foreign object. A replacement tooth or bridge is then attached to the artificial root. The success rate of dental implants is around 98%.

When Would You Need a Dental Implant?

If you are missing a single tooth, multiple or all of your teeth, dental implants would be a good option to replace them. The purpose of dental implants is to not only restore teeth function, but to also improve the aesthetics of your smile.

There are generally three options when it comes to tooth replacement:

1. Removable full or partial dentures

2. Cemented fixed denture

3. Dental implants

Although dentures may offer a less expensive way to replace lost teeth, dental implants provide big advantages over the other options. Missing teeth are replaced without altering or affecting the surrounding teeth. Because these implants fuse with the jaw bone structure, they provide much better stability and feel more like natural teeth.

Types of Dental Implants

Dental Implants Types

There are three common types of dental implants on the market used for the dental implant procedure. They are:

- Endosteal implants

These types of implants are the most common type used. They are well suited for most patients, but a healthy jawbone is required in order for the post to fuse with the bone. The screw shaped posts are used as placeholders for the replacement tooth or teeth and are inserted into the area of the mouth where the new teeth will sit. Healing takes a little time in order for the fusion to take place, creating a strong foundation for the replacement teeth. The replacement tooth is placed once healing has occurred.

- Subperiosteal Implants

This type of dental implant is used if a patient doesn’t have a healthy enough jawbone for Endosteal implants, or if they do not want to undergo intense oral surgery required to add bone to the implant area. With this dental implant procedure, implants sit on top of the bone, but underneath the gum. A post is attached to a metal frame that has been placed under the gum, and the gum heals around the frame holding it in place. The replacement tooth is attached to the post once the gum heals.

- Zygomatic Implants

Zygomatic implants require the most complicated dental procedure, and therefore are the least common of the three. The implant is placed into the cheekbone instead of the jawbone, and should only be done if there is not enough jawbone for the Endosteal implant.

Before, During, and After Dental Implant Surgery

In the initial consultation and planning phase, a dental surgeon will visually examine the area of the mouth where the dental implant is needed. They will also examine dental images like x-rays and CT scans to determine the health and quality of the jawbone. At this point, a determination will be made as to whether or not more bone is needed at the implant site. Once it is confirmed that the dental implant can be placed, the patient will return for the surgical implant procedure.

Patients are typically given mild sedatives to relieve anxiety about the surgery, and a local anesthetic is administered to numb the area where the implant will be placed.

Often, the site where a dental implant is to be placed still has an existing damaged tooth present. The first step of oral surgery will require the tooth to be extracted to prepare for the placement of the implant. In most cases, a synthetic bone graft, known as an alveolar bone graft, will be placed in the area to achieve a solid bone base and allowed to heal for two to six months before proceeding. If no tooth is present and bone loss has occurred as a result, a different form of bone grafting, known as onlay bone grafting, will be required to be placed on top of the existing jawbone. This procedure is more intense and will require a longer healing time of six or more months.

In some cases, enough bone is present and once the existing tooth has been extracted, the dental implant placement procedure will take place at the same appointment. This procedure is known as immediate implant placement.

Once strong bone density is achieved, the site is ready for the implant. Special tools are used to place a titanium post into the bone. A temporary cap is then placed over the implant, the gum is stitched and the next phase of healing begins. During this phase, a temporary denture can be constructed to replace missing teeth for esthetic reasons. Healing time will depend on the health of the present bone and will usually take two to six months.

Once healing is complete, the dental implant will be tested to ensure it has successfully fused with the surrounding bone. If so, a prosthetic component called an abutment is attached to the post with a screw, and serves to hold the replacement tooth in place. The dentist will then make an impression of the mouth with the abutment in place in order to custom fit the implant crown. The replacement crown will then be either secured with a screw or cemented to the abutment.

What Type of Dentist Specializes in Dental Implants?

Any licensed dentist can perform implant surgery provided the treatment is done in the best interest of the patient and follows standard care practices. Dental implants are surgically placed in the bone, so a dental specialist that routinely performs surgery on the jawbone is a great fit for implant surgery.

Dr. Shaw works closely with Nobel Biocare, a preeminent supplier of dental implant solutions. He prepares the most complex cases using NobelGuide, an advanced digital diagnostic and treatment planning computer software. Dr. Shaw is a renowned Prosthodontist in Ottawa with a unique understanding of all the dental implant elements needed to create a beautiful, healthy smile.

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