Dental implants are essentially artificial tooth roots. They can replace a single missing tooth, multiple missing teeth, support a denture or restore an entire mouth. Dental implants are made of primarily titanium. Titanium is strong and is compatible with bone and oral tissue. Titanium post can hold a crown, bridge or over-denture just like roots hold natural teeth in place.
Implants are a durable alternative to dentures and can serve as anchors for bridges. They require the same maintenance as natural teeth; this includes brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups. An implant’s greatest advantage over conventional bridges, is that the adjacent teeth don’t need to be shaved to support a replacement for the missing tooth.
Adequate bone volume must be present in the area of the missing teeth in order to support the future implant. Following tooth loss, the patient’s bone and gums in the area of the missing tooth tend to shrink. In cases there is not enough remaining bone to support a dental implant, an additional procedure called bone grafting may be needed to rebuild the bone. This can be done as a separate procedure, or simultaneously with the placement of the dental implant. A straight forward implant, with adequate bone, would be less expensive than an implant and bone grafting procedure. In addition, more complex cases may require a CBCT (medical imaging) or a surgical guide.
Sinus lift surgery can help increase bone levels by raising the sinus floor and developing bone for the placement of dental implants. Several techniques can be used to raise the sinus and allow for new bone to form. A common technique is to make an incision, to expose the bone. Then a small circle is cut into the bone. This bony piece is lifted into the sinus cavity, much like a trap door, and the space underneath is filled with bone graft material. We will explain your options for graft materials. Finally, the incision is closed and healing is allowed to take place. The bone will be allowed to develop for about four to twelve months depending on individual needs, before implants can be placed. After the implants are placed, an additional healing period is required. In some cases, the implant can be placed at the same time the sinus is augmented. Sinus lift surgery increases your chances for successful implants, that can last for years to come.
What to Expect?
Following the placement of a dental implant, the implant must be allowed to fuse with the jaw bone, usually for a period of 3 to 6 months. Once the implant has fused to the bone, the final restoration could be connected to the implant. Sometimes, a temporary tooth replacement can be made for the healing period. Therefore, you won’t have to be without teeth during the process.