Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth which look, feel and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.
In the past, patients with tooth loss due to genetics, disease, or injuries had to either live with missing teeth, or have dentures. Later, bridges were developed and for many years were the standard of care for the replacement of missing teeth. However, bridges could not adequately treat a missing tooth that was at the back of the mouth or help the patients who were missing all of their teeth. Bridges offer limited aesthetics and most importantly, we have found that drilling the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth to facilitate a bridge is the beginning of a long, slow death of those teeth. Although bridges can be a viable solution for some patients, research over the past decades has revealed that the average lifespan of a bridge is approximately 11 years, which is not ideal for patients.
Since dental implants were first developed in 1965 by Professor Per-Ingvar Branemark (founder of Nobel Biocare), they have become the gold standard for replacing missing teeth, considering their success rate of over 96%. Dental implants are ideal for patients who wish to have the functionality and aesthetic appearance of natural teeth. Dental implants not only improve the appearance and functionality of the teeth, but increase comfort and confidence when smiling, speaking, and eating, improve the ability to taste foods, preserve facial structure, increase convenience of maintaining proper hygiene, and improve overall health of the patient.
Dr. Reynolds is highly qualified and experienced staff are dedicated to providing a lifelong smile for our patients. Our professional staff has the most advanced and up-to-date imaging equipment/software to help us fully assess your needs and treatment options with dental implants. In order to assist our staff in making the best clinical decisions for treatment, our office has a 3D Cone Beam Scanner which allows us to fully assess the jaws and surrounding bone to determine jaw depth and potential acceptance of implants; 3D Virtual Implant Placement software which allows our doctors and staff to virtually place an implant in the jaw before surgery; and 3D CAD/CAM programs to create surgical guides and models for placing implants.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are small titanium posts, which are inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors are surgically placed into the jawbone and act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium implants, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth while preserving the bone. Small posts are then attached to the implant (called abutments), which protrude through the gums and provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
Over time, loss of teeth results in loss of bone. Implants help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing. Natural teeth have a relationship with the jaw bone (alveolar bone) that the roots go into. The bone stabilizes the tooth and the presence of a healthy tooth maintains the bone.
(Images Courtesy of www.nobelbiocare.com)
Dental Implant Presentation
The Surgical Procedure
Traditionally, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums, gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time.
After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Dr. Reynolds will uncover the implants and attach small posts, which will act as anchors for the artificial teeth that protrude through the gums. Your dentist will then create crowns to be placed on the implants. When the artificial teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure usually takes four to eight months and most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.
Advances in Planning Surgeries
3D CAD/CAM– Nobel Clinician is a powerful 3-D CAD program which can take CT information and create a virtual fully rotatable representation of the patients bone structure and impose various sized implants in any 3-Dimensional position. Using 3D CAD/CAM imaging, our practice is able to produce a highly accurate implant placement guide which can facilitate placing implants and the final crown in the same visit. These guides can either be produced by Nobel Biocare for complex implant cases, or fabricated in our own lab. The guides allow our team to pre-plan the implant surgery using a mold made from the patients’ mouth and then place an implant analog (replica) into the designated site to ensure a perfect fit for the patients’ surgery.
Dr. Reynolds sometimes uses medical modeling to help plan extensive implant and bone graft surgeries. Medical modeling produces highly accurate physical models derived from medical imaging modalities such as CT and MRI. Sophisticated software is used to view and extract information to create a virtual 3D model of a patient’s bone structure. After the virtual model is created, they produce the final model in physical form. Completed models are then measured and checked for accuracy. Dr. Reynolds uses the exact model of your bone and teeth structures along with nerve location to plan bone grafting and the positioning of the implants in your bone.
(Images courtesy of Nobel Biocare)
Single Stage and Immediate Loading Implants
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, doctors are able to place single stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but may require a minimum of six weeks of healing time before artificial teeth are placed. There are even situations where the implants can be placed at the same time as a tooth extraction – further minimizing the number of surgical procedures. Advances in dental implant technology have made it possible, in select cases, to extract teeth and place implants with crowns at one visit. This procedure is called “immediate loading”.
Implants are a team effort between an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and a Restorative Dentist. While Dr. Reynolds performs the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting if necessary, the restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. Our practice or your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis (a part that resembles and acts like a tooth or teeth) needed during the implant process.
What types of prostheses are available?
A removable prosthesis (Over Denture) attaches to a bar or ball in socket attachments, whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by the dentist. The removable implant supported denture allows the denture to be removed by connecting to special caps connected to the implants.
(Images courtesy of www.nobelbiocare.com)
Dental Implant Overview
(AAOMS Informational Video on Dental Implants)