If you’re looking for the most advanced therapy available for replacing missing teeth, implant dentistry is probably for you. In the past ten years, implant dentistry has been perfected, allowing almost any patient with missing teeth to regain the look, feel and function of a natural smile. Eating, laughing and smiling are core functions of human socialization –why not explore the option of being able to do these things with ease?
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a permanent alternative to dentures and bridges. They replace both the root and the body of a missing tooth (or multiple teeth). A titanium steel peg is surgically implanted into the jaw, and a porcelain crown sits on top of the peg to create a functioning tooth. They are more comfortable than most other treatments for missing teeth and they address bone loss unlike any other method of replacement.
Reasons for Dental Implants
- Replace a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth
- Eliminate the need for dentures/bridges
- Prevent bone loss
- Allow a natural looking and feeling tooth to ensure worry-free eating, laughing and smiling
Candidates for Dental Implants
If you are between the ages of 17-100 years old, you may be a candidate for dental implants. Contact World Class Dentistry® for further questions regarding candidacy.
All cases are actual patients of World Class Dentistry®
Dental implants have come a long way and have been through numerous changes since their first discovered use that dates back to ancient Egypt. Today, the majority of dental implants are made of some form of titanium, the best being surgical-grade type 3 titanium, or ceramic materials.
Both types of implants pose unique challenges and require specific treatment protocols in placement to achieve a long-lasting result. With the help of today’s surgical guides, the selection, placement and restoration of single or multiple implants are highly predictable, so most dentists can offer dental implants. However, like the title of this article says, this is where experience makes a difference.
Here are a few of the major factors that affect longevity of dental implants, either titanium or ceramic.
First, the overall medical condition of any patient needs to be assessed. While age is not a factor, conditions like diabetes can be. Vitamin D3 levels are crucial to implant success and failure. If too low, like in most people, the bone will not integrate properly and the implant will fail. Certain osteoporosis medications, antibiotics and cardiac medications can lead to implant failure and several other painful and difficult-to-manage dental issues.
Patients with metal allergies, systemic diseases and general oral health issues, like periodontal disease, affect whether a dental implant will work or not. Keeping up with continuing education and study in these areas of concern should be a top priority.
Second, the standard of care today is the use of cone beam CAT-scanning equipment. It enables three-dimensional (3D) views of vital structures and knowledge about the location of available bone, the size of the sinus, major nerves and blood vessel locations.
Without available bone, a grafting procedure will be mandatory. The amount of bone, location of the surgery and size of the bony defect can all be determined with the use of the cone beam CAT scan machine.
With the use of the newest 3D software, a surgical guide can be fabricated to place the implant in the exact position needed. A second surgical guide can be fabricated to attain an ideal platform for a dental implant, by ensuring the correct amount of bone graft in the proper location. Most implantologists have their own cone beam CAT scan in the office. Some implantologists further have the ability to fabricate surgical guides right in the office.
Again, continual training and informational updating are a must.
Third, the type of gingival (gum) tissue in the area of implant placement will greatly influence the long-term success of the implant system.
The tissue in the area of the proposed dental implant needs to be 3 to 4 mm thick, in a band at least 2 mm wide around the implant and must be of a fixed, non-movable type.
If the tissue around the implant is thin and movable, then the implant and the area will be constantly sore and result in the failure of the dental implant within one to two years.
Fourth, the design of the abutment, the piece that holds the final crown to the implant, is a major factor in long-term success.
There are three important zones of design in the crown-abutment complex.
From the juncture of the abutment to the implant, up to 1 mm, the surface is a roughened metal, usually titanium. The next 2 to 3 mm is a highly polished zirconia, free of any stains or glazes. The final zone is that of the final crown where it meets the tissue and above. This is where the highly polished final crown with stains and glazes sits.
It is the first two layers nearest the implant itself that are critical for proper tissue adaptation and attachment.
Fifth, the aforementioned surgical guide is a must in today’s implant placement world. The guide allows placement of the implant in the exact, predetermined location, alignment and angulation to provide the best crown-abutment complex fabrication, for the greatest longevity and chance of success.
Dental implants replace missing teeth, but they are not the same as biological teeth. Instead, they are considered medical devices.
Natural teeth have a built-in shock-absorbing capacity, while dental implants do not. Thus, in normal chewing and eating, a natural tooth will move in and out of the bone on a microscopic level to balance and equalize forces. The dental implant, however, is rigidly fixed in the bone and does not move in and out. The forces generated by dental implants can be up to four times greater than those generated by natural teeth. Due to this fact, the occlusion, or how teeth fit and function together, requires strategic and accurate evaluation and adjustment before, during and after implant placement and placement of the final crown-abutment complex. This step allows for the long-term survival of the dental implant and crown-abutment complex.
These are only but a few of the critical issues a dentist must consider and be able to plan, guide, critique and perform when placing dental implants.
So like the title says, “This is where experience makes a difference!”