By Dr Fass.
Most people, by this time, have heard of dental implants. But many in our office don’t really understand how they work and what they can be used for. It is always important to understand all your options when considering dental treatment, as well as options and pro’s and con’s of those options.
Implants are placed surgically and they consist of a roughly bullet shaped titanium rod with screw threads on the outside and a threaded hole in the middle to allow various attachments. The length and width of the implant are determined in advance by the surgeon, depending on the bone area and any other structures in the area such as sinuses and nerves or blood vessels. Once placed, the screw threads hold the implant in place while bone heals to the titanium. This process, called osseo-integration takes up to 3 months for full healing.
Once healed and uncovered, the next part of the plan begins. What is placed attached to the implant depends on the treatment plan that was explained and agreed upon during the planning stage. For a single tooth, an attachment that looks like a tooth that has been prepared for a crown is placed and screwed in place. A scan or impression is then taken and a crown is made and inserted, just as it would be for any normal tooth. Multiple implants can be placed to attach fixed bridges in the case of more than 1 or 2 missing teeth.
Replacing a whole arch of missing teeth with fixed bridges can be very expensive. Alternatives may rely on implants with devices attached that allow for removable dentures to snap in and out. They provide holding power and stability to full or partial dentures when there are multiple missing teeth, especially at the back of the arch where most chewing is done.
The real secret to success in any of these cases lies in the planning. Carefully coordinated discussion between the treating dentist, the surgeon placing the implants, and the patient are critical for the outcome to be successful. Implant supported cases can be more successful and more predictable than conventional cases if done correctly.
This article was published on 03-03-2023 in The Altamont Enterprise.