Dental implants are tooth root replacements that provide a stable base for removable or permanently replaced teeth. Although tooth replacements are created to match natural teeth, dental implants are typically metal screws, blades and cylinders since they are hidden once implanted.
The Implant Team
Dental implants require a few different elements, including technology, science and a team of professionals. Aside from a willing patient, the team is made up of a restorative dentist that creates the implant crown as well as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who places the implant in the patient’s jaw. Once the implant is placed, the restorative dentist prepares an impression of the jaws. These impressions are used to create a model which crowns and dentures are made from. Patients are checked by both dentists before, during and after the implant procedure in order to provide the most accurate and thorough care.
Credentialed Implant Dentists
Several professionals can place dental implants. However, implant experts earn credentials from the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) where they are educated, trained, examined and tested on their competence. AAID suggests questioning your implant dentist before they begin restoring your teeth.
Questions for Your Implant Dentist
- How many implant procedures have you done?
- What is your success rate?
- What is your training and education in dental implant treatment?
- What treatment options do I have for tooth restoration?
- Which technique do you recommend for me?
- What are the risks of these techniques?
- What are the benefits to these techniques?
The Implant Procedures
If there is only one tooth that needs to be replaced, a single implant and a single crown will be placed. If several teeth are missing, your dentist can insert bridges to support multiple implants. Considering implants have the highest success rate when placed in jaws with strong bones, your dentist may suggest sinus augmentation. This process involves raising the patient’s sinus floor and inserting bone to hold the implant placement.
Jaw Deformities and Dental Implants
Those who have deformities in their jaws often have bones that are deemed inadequate for implants. In this event, a dentist may urge a ridge modification. This technique lifts the gums away from the ridge and exposes the bone defect. The defect is filled with either real bone or bone substitute, which builds up the ridge. This method not only increases the likelihood of receiving successful dental implants, but has also been known to improve physical appearances.