Pradko, Gallagher & Slanec Family Dentistry

Implants

One of the best ways to replace a missing tooth is with an Implant. Unlike bridges and dentures, implants are anchored to the bone like a natural tooth. This prevents bone loss, which can be a problem with other tooth replacement options.

Implants consist of titanium screws with a rough surface. Titanium has the unique property of fusing well to bone, and the rough texture helps speed up the fusing process. Healing Caps and Abutments connect to the implant at different points during the implant process.

The procedure begins with a precision hole being drilled into the bone. The implant is then screwed into the hole. Typically at this point a healing cap is placed on to the implant and the patient is sent home. During the healing period, which can take up to six months, the titanium forms a very strong bond with the surrounding bone.





The healing cap can then be removed and an abutment is placed into the implant. An Abutment is a post were a crown can be placed. Once the crown is placed the implant procedure is complete, and the patient can function as they would with a normal tooth.

There are variations to the implant procedure, depending on the patient. There are times when the healing cap process is skipped and an abutment and crown is added right after the implant is placed. Usually the patient is directed to chew very carefully for a few weeks or even a few months while the implant fuses to the bone.

When adequate bone is not available a Bone Graft may be required. This often occurs in the upper jaw, where the sinus cavity has expanded into the area where the roots of the tooth used to be. To augment the bone in these areas a sinus lift is performed. This means that the sinus membrane is lifted up and the donor bone is grafted into the void below. This procedure often requires extra healing time so that the grafted bone can integrate with the existing bone. Once the bone is ready the implant can be placed.

Implants are very versatile and can be used to replace a single tooth, to support a bridge or even a full set of dentures. Patients with dental implant find them almost indistinguishable from real teeth. There are no special hygiene routines and eating and chewing feels natural.

When possible this is the best method for replacing missing teeth.

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