Dental Implant is a surgical fixture that is placed into the jawbone and allowed to fuse with the bone over the span of a few months. The dental implant acts as a replacement for the root of a missing tooth. In turn, this "artificial tooth root" serves to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Having a dental implant fused to the jawbone is the closest thing to mimicking a natural tooth because it stands on its own without affecting the nearby teeth and has great stability. The process of fusion between the dental implant and jawbone is called "osseointegration." Most dental implants are made of titanium, which allows them to integrate with bone without being recognized as a foreign object in our body. Over time, technology and science have progressed to greatly improve the outcomes of dental implant placement. Today, the success rate for dental implants is close to 98%.
When it comes to tooth replacement, generally, there are three options:
Removable dental appliance (complete denture or partial denture),
Fixed dental bridge (cemented)
Dentures are the more affordable option for replacement teeth but are the least desirable because of the inconvenience of a removable appliance in the mouth. Furthermore, dentures can affect one's taste and sensory experience with food. Dental bridgework was the more common restorative option prior to the relatively recent shift to dental implant treatment. The main disadvantage to bridgework is the dependence on existing natural teeth for support. Implants are supported by bone only and do not affect surrounding natural teeth.
Deciding on which option to choose depends on many factors. Specifically for dental implants, these factors include, location of missing tooth or teeth, quantity and quality of the jawbone where the dental implant is to be placed, health of the patient ,cost, and patient preference.
All- on- fourinvolves the placement of four implants used to replace all teeth in a single arch (upper or lower). The implants are strategically placed in areas of good strong bone, and a thin denture prosthesis is screwed into place. The All-On-4 technique provides teeth replacement that is stable (not removable) and feels like natural teeth compared to the older method of traditional (removable) complete dentures. Without a doubt, implant dentistry has allowed for more treatment options to replace single and multiple missing teeth with long-term stability and contributes to improved oral health.
The first stage of oral surgery often involves a tooth or teeth extraction. Oftentimes, the site of a dental implant still has an existing damaged tooth present. In order to prepare for placement of a dental implant, the tooth will need to be extracted. More often than not, an "alveolar bone graft" (cadaver or synthetic bone) is placed to achieve a solid base of bone for the implant. This site will be allowed to heal for two to six months
Once adequate, strong bone is present, the site is ready for the implant. At the implant placement appointment, the dental implant (titanium post) is placed into the bone with a special drill and tools. A "healing cap" is placed over the implant, the gum is stitched up, and the healing phase begins.
Healing time is usually anywhere from two to six months after the require healing period. The dentist will take an impression (mold)