Dental Implants

A dental implant is a titanium cylinder that is placed in the bone of the jaw, simulating a tooth root, to which a dental crown or retention device for dentures can be attached to.

  1. Generally, there is a better than 90% chance that the dental implant will integrate successfully into the bone of the jaw and be strong enough to support teeth or a retention device under function.  If the implant does not integrate, the implant will remain loose in the bone and will require removal.  Once the failed implant is removed, a new implant can be placed without an increased risk of failure.
  2. Additional risk of treatment failure can be expected in patients with uncontrolled diabetes, patients who use tobacco products, and in patients who have received radiation treatment to the jaws in the course of treatment for head and neck cancer.
  3. If a tooth is being removed and is a non-infected, single rooted tooth, often the tooth can be removed and an implant can be placed at the same appointment. If you are a candidate then this will shorten the time till the final restoration is placed.
  4. When an implant cannot be placed at the same time the tooth is removed, then three to four months of healing is required before the implant can be placed.
  5. Occasionally, there is not enough bone to support an implant at the desired site of implant treatment.  A bone grafting procedure may be necessary prior to (or at the same time as) implant placement.  A bone grafting procedure may add to the time required for treatment completion. After a bone graft is placed then you will need to wait three to four month before the implant is placed.
  6. After an implant is placed, three to four months of undisturbed healing is necessary in the mandible(lower jaw) and four to six month of healing is required in the maxilla(upper jaw) before a crown or a retention device can be placed.
  7. After the healing period has passed, an abutment will be placed to extend the implant above the gum tissue so that a dental crown or denture retention device may be fabricated by your restoring dentist.
  8. Generally, teeth being replaced in the esthetic (or visible) region of the dental arch will require custom fabricated abutments and temporary crowns at a slightly increased cost compared to teeth in the non-esthetic (not visible) regions which can be stored with stock abutments at a lesser cost.  Implants being used to support a removable denture generally will require stock abutments.
  9. If custom abutments and temporary crowns are required, a precise dental impression will be taken at some point during the healing period.  The custom abutments and temporary crowns will be placed at the end of the healing period and be brought into function for a period of time, after which your restorative dentist will complete the permanent dental restoration.

After the crown or retentive device has been placed then we have the patient come back for a check up to evaluate crown. Then we will also have the patient come back one year after the final restorative work has been completed to evaluate and see if any changes have occurred over the past year. The reasoning for the multiple follow ups is that due to the mechanical aspects of the implant restoration, wear and fatigue may occur and require replacement or repair, as with any dental restoration. If implant failure is noted, it can be removed just like a tooth and be replaced at a later time.