What A Dental Implant Is, And Isn’t

Posted on Jun 21, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Contrary to most assumptions, a Dental Implant is not a replacement tooth. The ‘restoration,’ or tooth that is supported by an implant consists of a crown, bridge teeth or a full denture. To understand a Dental Implant “system,” it is helpful to know its various components.

Although there are different types of implant systems, all work in in a similar fashion. An implant is a hollow, screw-like cylinder. The process begins by placing the implant in the jaw bone at a strategic point in the jaw bone. Once placed, the implant is covered over with gum tissue. For several months after, the implant goes through a ‘healing’ process. While this typically takes several months, you can wear a denture or temporary so you are never without teeth.

In this stage, the bone grows around the implant in a process known as “osseo-integration.” This secures the implant in the bone, which recreates the foundation of natural tooth roots to give biting and chewing stability. Once healing is complete, a post is secured inside the hollow core of the implant. This post will support your final replacement tooth or teeth.

A successful outcome in any Dental Implant treatment is in the selection and placement process. A Periodontist has specialized training in the diagnosis and placement of all types of implant systems. This means the implant system recommended for you will be the type most suited to your individual needs and goals.

An important aspect of implant success also relies on the assessment of bone mass. When the upper or lower jaw has insufficient bone to support the implant being placed, there is a risk of failure. Again, an implant requires careful selection and placement to be able to support the replacement teeth being attached. In some cases, as few as 4 – 6 implants can support a complete arch of teeth. This decision is best left in the hands of a periodontal specialist.

Severe bone loss can require bone rebuilding procedures prior to implant placement. This can be done by bone grafting or the application of a bone-rebuilding material. In some cases, particular implant systems designed with unique angles can provide support with minimal bone depth with no bone rebuilding necessary.

The best implant system for you can be determined after an examination. During this time, I’ll recommend options best for you and explain the process. Call (828) 274-9440 to schedule an appointment. Or, ask to begin with a Consultation.

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