Replacing missing or extracted teeth
Dental implants have become our favored way to replace missing teeth lost due to periodontal disease, catastrophic decay, or by an accident or injury. Dental implants act as substitutes for the roots of your missing teeth. Similar to artificial joints, dental implants are made of a specially treated titanium that is totally biocompatable. Human bone is actually attracted to the titanium and will grow towards and attach to the surface of these fixtures. These fixtures can be placed int
o the jawbone in the location of a missing tooth and will serve as a foundation or support for a replacement tooth crown that looks and feels and functions just like your natural teeth. Implants can also be used to secure, stabilize, or support dentures and bridges.
There are numerous advantages of dental implant treatment over other traditional treatment options. For instance, it is not necessary to drill on the bordering or adjacent teeth as would be the case while making a bridge, or to secure ugly metal clasps (the anchoring mechanism for a partial denture)that can eventually loosen the natural teeth. By utilizing titanium fixtures, people who are missing all of their teeth may be spared the many problems associated with traditional false teeth.
When a tooth is lost, it is normal for the jaw ridge to shrink leaving a defect. Implanted fixtures actually help preserve the gum ridge and the jaw bone-density by providing the stimulation that was previously provided by the natural tooth roots. This helps maintain the integrity of facial structures.
If you have missing teeth, dental implants may be the option that you have been looking for to restore the look and functionality of your teeth. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, we provide this option for patients who want to restore the beauty of their smile while replacing teeth that have been lost.
Planning for dental implants
Dr. Fondriest works very closely with local specialists who surgically prepare the receptor sites and place the titanium fixtures. He then delivers the
permanent restorations over the fixtures, which are not made with “one size fits all” universal parts off the shelf but rather are custom made to maximize the esthetics, cleansability, and longevity as well as producing a perfect bite.
High surgical skills are required when placing fixtures to make sure they are placed in the exact location within the boney ridge. Ideally, appropriate scans of the jawbone are taken and evaluated for jawbone quality and quantity by both the surgeon and restorative dentist teammates. Together, they will determine the ideal type and size of implant/s and the exact placement location/s. The prosthodontist or trained general dentist will then often make a guide for the surgeon to help ensure the proper placement of the fixture/s. When a tooth is lost and not replaced in a timely way, it is possible that the proximal teeth will drift into the open space. Due to the realities of life, treatment delays happen and commonly the space available is found to be too small for a normal sized fixture. In this scenario, the patient has a choice of either reopening the space with orthodontic treatment or having bridgework done to fill the space. Depending on the circumstances of prior treatment, there may not be a sufficient amount of jawbone volume at the desired location either. Gum and bone grafts are frequently done months prior to fixture placement to create the ideal circumstances. Success rates for quality full protocol implant restoration is very high, in the 96% rate for the upper jaw and 98% for the lower jaw.
Consumers must be cautious of heavily marketed “fast implant” treatment offerings.
Some prosthodontic-surgical teams will compromise standard and accepted treatment protocols to shorten treatment. Too good to be true treatment speeds usually are too good to be true. In an effort to shorten treatment time, many stronger and higher quality treatment solutions may be ignored. Outcomes can be compromised esthetically and success rates ARE substantially lower.
How dental implants work
When the future location of an fixture has been determined and quality and size of the boney ridge has been deemed sufficient, the surgeon places the titanium implant/s into the jawbone. Although the surgery can often be very technically difficult, it rarely is very traumatic to the patient. The vast majority of placement surgeries are much easier than the original tooth extraction. The healing process after placement consists of the gum and bone growing around and attaching to the fixture. The gum heals in one to two weeks but overall boney healing or “osseointegration” takes much longer. Until it does, the implant should ideally should be left undisturbed and unloaded (not subjected to any torque or chewing forces) to get maximum boney in-growth. Technological improvements to the surface of the titanium is shortening the time it takes for full healing or osseointegration. Some fixtures placed into the lower jaw can be loaded after only 3 months of healing.
Once osseointegration has been achieved, then a prosthodontist or specially trained restorative dentist will connect a crown to the implant with an intermediate connector. This intermediate connector, called an abutment, can be a generic mass produced “stock” item or a custom made “UCLA Abutment” that maximizes the esthetics, occlusal function, and hygienic cleansability of the attached crown. Your dentist will choose the amount of customization that is put into the intermediate abutment as well as the crown placed on
top of it. The cost of the lab bill and overall service generally matches the market and quality niche of the dentist.
Lake Forest Dental Arts may be what you need to restore your smile. Call us today at 847-234-0517 to schedule your appointment!