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Dental Implants
A dental implant is a post made of metal that is designed to replace missing teeth. It is usually made out of titanium and is placed surgically into the jawbone where the tooth is missing. Unlike a bridge, an implant is a more permanent solution.

You have several options when replacing teeth. Your options are no longer limited to crowns and conventional bridges or dentures. Dental implants are aesthetically pleasing and feel very natural. Implants are surgically placed below the gums over a series of appointments. With time, they fuse to the jawbone and serve as a base for individual replacement teeth, bridges or dentures.

Ceramic vs Metal Crowns With Implants
Through a process called osseointegration, implants offer stability because they fuse to your bone. Integration of the implants into your jaw also helps your replacement teeth feel more natural. Some patients have reported that the secure fit is more comfortable than alternatives. Dental implant candidates must have healthy gums and bone to support the implant.

Reasons for Dental Implants
•  Keep the look and feel of a real tooth where one is missing
•  Maintain healthy bone levels
•  Help support overdentures or bone anchored bridges (that are fixed and not removable)
•  Leaves neighboring teeth alone (either teeth that do not need to be ground down or teeth with stable restorations, ie. crowns)
•  Patients can clean normally
•  In patients who are suceptable to decay, implants do not decay

What Does a Dental Implant Involve?
•  Implant Site Preparation: To prepare the site, the gum tissue is opened to expose the bone area. If there is insufficient bone structure, bone grafting may be recommended. With healthy bone, a special drill is used to prepare the bone to receive the implant.

•  Bone Grafting

•  Placing the Implant: The implant is placed into the healthy bone and the tissue is sutured. The sutures are removed in seven to ten days. It is normal to expect three to six months to heal entirely. Osseointegration occurs over this time period allowing the implant to become part of the upper or lower jaw.

•  Implant Placement Into Socket

•  Attaching the Post: A special post (called an abutment) is attached to the implant when the gum tissue is ready. This abutment is the support for the new crown. Sometimes zirconium abutments, which are white, are used and may allow for a better shade to match to your existing teeth.

•  Placing the Crown: The new crown is made from impressions taken and shaded to match your existing teeth. The crown is cemented to or screw-retained to the underlying abutment. The final prosthetic crown appears and functions as your natural tooth.

Clinical Cases Illustrating Common Applications For Dental Implants

Posterior Dental Implant Supported Crowns

Clinical photos of a dental reconstruction utilizing dental implants 7 years post-placement.

Diagnostic films of a dental reconstruction utilizing dental implants 7 years post-placement.

Dental Implant Supported Dentures

Four implants placed in the lower jaw to support and and retain a bar overdenture.

Note the inside of the lower denture has retentive components which help the lock onto the bar.

In the upper jaw four implants were placed with two small bars to assist the natural teeth in retaining an upper denture. Both restorations feel and function like the patient’s natural teeth, yet are removable.

Single Tooth Replacement - Front Tooth

Pre-operative clinical and x-ray views of a root canal treated fracture lateral incisor.

After extraction of the fractured tooth and immediate placement of a dental implant a single crown replacement was fabricated 5 months after the placement of the implant.

Complete Upper Arch Reconstruction

Combined implant-tooth reconstruction in the upper arch.

Note the bone graft was placed under the floor of the upper jaw sinus to facilitate implant placement. This allowed for a palateless reconstruction.

In this particular case the patient can remove the restorations to clean around the posts, but the feel and function is that of a fixed restoration.

Implant Supported Posterior Crowns

Initial film of lower right recent loss of molar support tooth for a fixed bridge and upper left area missing posterior teeth with a low sinus. Overlay tracing of upper left cross-sectional images showing bone quality and low sinus pre-operatively

Implant retained crown and bridge work 3 years after restorative treatment.
Implants placed in the lower right posterior area and upper left posterior area in conjunction with a bone graft to move the floor of the sinus up and build bone height for implant placement.

Single Tooth Replacement - Back Tooth

Fractured root canal treated first molar. The tooth anterior to this tooth has no fillings, and the tooth posterior to this tooth has a sound crown.

Molar implant placed 6 months after extraction and socket preservation bone grafting. In the cross-sectional image to the right note the implant is lingual (on the tongue side) of the mandibular nerve canal to attain optimal implant length.

Final molar crown restoration.

Dental Implant Supported Lower Denture

Lower denture anchored by bar attaching four dental implants. Note the inside of the denture has connectors which snap on to the bar.

Patient Missing Incisors

Placed immediately before the crowns. 1 year post-op

3 year post-op

Dental Implants and Smoking
Smoking tends to lead to a higher rate of failure in implants, so dental implants may not the best option for patients who are active heavy smokers. We will help you determine whether dental implants will be a good tooth replacement option for you. Proper brushing and flossing will maximize the longevity of your new dental implant. Implants can develop bone loss like periodontal disease, so good personal oral hygiene and a commitment to close supportive periodontal care (cleanings and checkups) are important.

Dental Implant FAQs
Learn more about dental implants on our Patient FAQs page.

1 Scripps Drive, Suite 305
Sacramento, CA 95825-6206

Phone: (916) 641-1200
Fax: (916) 641-1400

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The Academy for Reconstructive Periodontics and Implant Dentistry | | (916) 641-1200
1 Scripps Drive, Suite 305, Sacramento, CA 95825