Dental Implant Options
If you have missing teeth, dental implants offer a solution that maintains the look and function of natural teeth. A titanium implant replaces the tooth root, while a crown replaces the actual tooth.
At Implant & Periodontal Associates Northwest, we have extensive experience in both single and multiple-tooth implant procedures, including implant-supported partial and full dentures.
A single-tooth dental implant replaces a tooth without sacrificing the health of neighboring teeth. Because a dental implant replaces the tooth's root, the bone is better preserved. With a bridge, some of the bone that previously surrounded the tooth begins to resorb or deteriorate. Dental implants integrate with the jawbone, helping to keep the bone healthy and intact. They also look natural and are easier to clean and maintain.
In many cases, implants are placed as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, which may include other surgical or non-surgical procedures.
Dental implants can be used to replace single teeth, or to support full or partial dentures. The procedure begins by placing the implant, which looks like a screw, into the jaw. Over the next two to six months, the implant and the bone are allowed to bond together to form an anchor for the artificial tooth. During this time, a temporary crown (or replacement tooth) can be worn over the implant site.
Rooted into the jaw, implants replace missing teeth.
Often, a second step of the procedure is necessary to uncover the implant and attach an extension. A small metal post, called an abutment, completes the foundation on which the new tooth will be placed. Gums will be allowed to heal for a couple of weeks following this procedure.
Some implant systems come with the extension piece already attached, and do not require this second step.
If several teeth need to be replaced, full or partial dentures can be created by your dentist to attach to dental implants. These implant-supported restorations are more durable and less prone to slipping than traditional dentures.
Because part of the tooth root is replaced, implants also help preserve the integrity of the jaw and gum tissue, so there's less risk of the gum recession and bone loss that is common in people with multiple missing teeth. Not only can this gum recession and bone loss lead to a collapsed, unattractive smile and problems eating and speaking, but loose-fitting dentures can also expose the remaining natural teeth to decay-causing bacteria.
Dental implants represent a long-term tooth replacement solution that's aesthetic, functional and comfortable. Not only are they the next best thing to natural teeth, they help patients better maintain good oral health.
Tooth roots are often very long, extending deep into the bone structures of the face. When teeth need to be replaced with dental implants, this surrounding bone often has to be strengthened in order to provide the implant with a firm foundation.
A sinus lift is sometimes required for people needing implants in the upper teeth, whose roots can extend into the sinus wall. When these teeth are removed, it often leaves just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth.
In this procedure, the sinus membrane is lifted and bone tissue is inserted below the sinus floor. After several months of healing, the bone becomes part of the jaw, and dental implants can be inserted and stabilized in this new sinus bone.
If enough bone is available between the upper jaw ridge and the bottom of the sinus to stabilize the implant, the healing period is not necessary and the sinus lift and implant placement can be performed as a single procedure.
If teeth are badly decayed or damaged, in poor position, or lack sufficient support in the mouth, we will have to remove them in order to replace them with implants.
In a tooth removal procedure, we begin by numbing the tooth area with a local anesthetic. However, patients may feel a lot of pressure as we widen the socket to allow removal.
Some teeth require sectioning, a very common procedure done when the tooth root is curved, or so firmly anchored into its socket that it can't be removed in one piece. In this case, the doctor simply cuts the tooth into sections, then extracts it one section one at a time.
Patients who need a dental implant may have ridge irregularities of the upper and lower jaw, which can leave them with inadequate bone and tissue to perform the restoration. In these cases, ridge augmentations can be performed.
Not only do these procedures improve the appearance and ability to maintain the smile, they can increase the chance for long-term aesthetic and functional success of the restoration. We perform two types of ridge augmentation:
1. Soft tissue ridge augmentations. During this procedure, an incision is made to expose the bony ridge of the deficient site. A soft tissue graft, created from the patient's own tissue or substitute material, is inserted into the area. The gum tissue is put back into place, and the area is secured with stitches.
2. Hard tissue ridge augmentations create adequate bone tissue to support dental implants. They are often done in combination with a soft tissue augmentation. An incision is made and the gum tissue lifted away, after which a membrane or bone substitute is placed to build up the ridge. Depending on the size of the augmentation, the area is permitted to heal for six to 12 months, after which the implant can be placed. In some cases, no healing time is required, and the augmentation and implant placement can be performed at the same time.
For patients with multiple missing teeth in the upper or lower arches, this procedure uses four dental implants to secure a set of permanent replacement teeth that are stronger and more stable than traditional dentures.
Secure, permanent dentures, anchored by four implants.
In this procedure, failing teeth are removed and dental implants are placed in four strategic areas. These implants are different than those used for a single-tooth restoration, and typically do not require bone grafts to secure them. A specially designed bridge is attached to these implants, leaving patients with a new set of teeth that look and feel natural.
The All-On-4® Treatment Concept technique is an optimal solution for people who wear dentures, or who do not have the bone structure to support individual implants. The entire procedure can be performed in one day, with minimal discomfort or downtime.