What you need to know about implant dentistry
Implants are otherwise known as osseointegrated dental implants. An implant will completely replace a tooth that has been lost by embedding the replacement tooth into the existing bone structure by way of a titanium post. Implants are an excellent choice to treat instances of missing teeth, particularly when the age of the patient is relatively young, because implants are highly durable and look very natural.
A Brief History of Implants
For many years, dentists had numerous ways of restoring broken and diseased tooth structures above the gum; however, if a tooth was missing the supporting root structure, there was no predictable way to join an artificially fabricated crown to the underlying bone. In the 1950s and 60s, Swedish orthopedic surgeon Professor Brånemark began his research into bone development and remodelling and noticed by coincidence that titanium tubes that he placed within the bone became firmly embedded and were not easily retrievable. Later it was microscopically determined that the cells of the bone had grown around this metal and formed such a tight micromechanical union that the titanium had essentially become integrated into the bone. Titanium is one of a small group of metals which will not be rejected by the body and thereby permits osseointegration (intergration with the bone).
Professor Brånemark continued his research in the mouth and in 1965 the first human patient received an osseointegrated implant. Since that time, the field has opened up new possibilities for patients and dentists. Implants have allowed dentists to place individual crowns or bridges in areas that in the past could only be treated with removable dentures.
Today, titanium dental implants come in numerous shapes and sizes to correspond with different areas of the mouth. Under local anesthetic, the dentist will place the titanium implant into an appropriate site in the mouth. Typically, there will be a healing period of up to a few months when the implant is not disturbed and the bone is allowed to heal around and integrate with the implant. The patient will be regularly recalled during that period. The gap can be addressed by temporary measures if it is placed in an aesthetically sensitive area. Once the implant has been allowed to integrate, a crown is made that will fit over the implant and functionally fill the opening area.
There are a number of advantages in deciding to use an implant
* Durability – implants have one of the highest long-term success rates in dentistry
* Aesthetic quality / improved self-esteem – compared to removable dentures
* Feels more natural - compared to removable dentures
* Conservative - does not require preparation of adjacent teeth
* Ease of cleaning - can easily floss between an implant and adjacent tooth, unlike a bridge
As the use of implants becomes more common, dentist are now using implants to anchor difficult removable dentures, and as supports during orthodontics. In certain cases, implants can be placed and "loaded" immediately with a temporary crown. Discuss the use of dental implants with your cosmetic dentist.