What is Dental Implant

What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a surgical component that interfaces with the bone of the jaw to support a dental prosthesis such as a crown, bridge, denture, facial prosthesis. The basis for modern dental implants is a biologic process called osseointegration where the dental implant forms an intimate bond to bone.
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  • Crown

    A custom-made prosthetic made specifically to resemble a natural tooth while fitting harmoniously with the adjacent teeth.
  • Abutment

    The connective element used to attach a crown, bridge, or removable denture to the dental implant fixture.
  • Fixture

    The tooth root replacement that is accepted by the body and heals together with the bone tissue.
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Changes After the Tooth Loss
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The jaw bone irreversibly changes if a tooth is extracted and it is not replaced with a dental implant. Without chewing pressure to stimulate the bone, it begins to dissolve away the bone mass.
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In addition to bone loss, there is also shifting of the adjacent teeth towards the vacant space. Over time, this will create gaps between the other teeth in other parts of the jaw.
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When teeth are missing, the opposite teeth have no “counter acting force” and will shift towards the vacant space. This will affect the general anatomical orientation of teeth.
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The deterioration of the jaw bones affects the appearance of how the face “drapes” over the bone. This makes one look older with more non-age related wrinkles.
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Not only does tooth loss affect one’s beauty, it also affects one’s diet. A single tooth loss can limit what and how one can eat. Functionality is another loss that comes with a cost.
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Worst of all, there can be a loss in confidence and self-esteem, leading to the changes in one’s lifestyle. Such psychological effects range from very minimal to a state of anxiety. 
The Dental Implant Procedure
Most dental implant surgery procedures are performed in the dentist's office and occasionally in a hospital setting. Depending on each case and preferences of the doctor or patient, the implant procedure may vary.
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    Step 1

    The first step to any dental implant procedure is diagnosis & treatment planning. The doctor will perform a thorough evaluation of the patient’s general and local health conditions, patient’s biomechanical & anatomical structure and treatment certainties & uncertainties. Once those are established, the doctor will offer the best recommendations to the patient.

  • Step 2

    Right before the surgery, the patient will receive either a local anesthetic or general anesthesia. After the anesthesia comes into effect, the doctor will start the surgical aspect of the treatment. An incision is made and the implant site is exposed. A series of progressively wider drills will be used to gradually achieve the appropriately-sized socket for the implant. The implant is then placed securely into the created socket. 

  • Step 3

    After the surgery is complete, the patient will be given time to heal. It is extremely important that the fixture has completely and biologically integrated with the bone before continuing on to the next step. In the meantime, the doctor will fabricate a provisional restoration (temporary restoration) so that the patient does not have to be seen in public with a missing tooth. 

  • Step 4

    Once the surgical site is completely healed, it is time for the final restoration. An impression, a negative imprint of hard and soft tissues, will be created to be sent to the dental lab. The dental lab will use the anatomical information gathered from the impression to fabricate a customized prosthesis. The final prosthesis will be placed into the patient’s mouth to complete the dental implant treatment.

Implant Related Replacement Options
Each patient and case may require different techniques for successful dental implant surgeries and restorations.

Single Tooth Replacement

When only a single implant is needed, a fixture is placed and the prosthetics are made for the individual tooth.
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Before

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After

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Implant-Supported Bridge

An implant-supported bridge is a viable option for multiple missing teeth. The bridge connects the prosthetics to one another and ensures stability.
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Before

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After

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Implant-Supported Dentures

Where two or more implants are placed to provide stabilization of the denture and preserve the underlying bone.
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Before

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After

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