A dental implant acts like a fixed tooth in your mouth. It is the closest alternative to a natural tooth which is available today. A dental implant is the most conservative option of all three alternatives. Implants are made of titanium and act like artificial roots which support a crown.
A patient presented at our clinic wanting to replace a missing lower molar tooth. The tooth had been extracted about 1 year before after a root canal treatment had failed. After an initial assessment it was decided that an implant was the best solution for replacing the missing tooth. Alternative treatments options were discussed with the patient. The alternatives to an implant are a removable partial denture or a fixed partial denture (also known as a fixed bridge) The patient was not keen on the idea of having something removable long term. The fixed bridge was also not an attractive option as it meant that the adjacent teeth would need to be reduced in order to accept a fixed bridge.
The patient underwent implant surgery. Radio-graphs are taken of the implant treatment progress to ensure optimal healing during the healing phase. The photos shows the 4 stages of implant placement. 1) shows the direction planned for implant placement 2) shows the final position of the implant immediately following surgery. The implant is then left like this for a period of 3-4 months for the bone to heal. 3) shows the dental implant after the healing phase when impressions are taken 4) shows the definitive implant crown fitted on the implant at completion of the treatment.
The sequence shown in clinical photos. Directly following surgery a healing abutment is placed onto the implant. This is left in place during the healing phase to ensure that the gum tissues heal around the future implant crown. A neat tissue collar develops around the dental implant healing abutment during the healing phase. Impressions are taken of the dental implant in order for a dental implant crown to be made. In this clinic case example a screw retained dental implant crown was made. The screw access hole enables the dentist to access the crown if needed.
The screw retained crown is a one type of design which is commonly used in our clinic. There are several advantages of using a screw retained crown. Firstly there is not dental cement used in this form of crown. This is considered more hygienic than cement retained crown. In some instances it can be difficult to ensure that excess cement does not accumulate under a cement retained crown. The screw access hole also makes it simpler to adjust the crown or remove it completely if needed. The disadvantage is that a small access hole is present on the crown. Even though this is filled with a tooth colored resin its still faintly visible
A dental implant is an excellent solution for replacing damaged, missing or infected teeth. The procedure is guaranteed in almost 95% of cases and hence is considered as the most predictable field of dentistry today. An implant is made of titanium and vary in lengths and widths. An implant is likely to last 10-15 years if placed properly. After having a an implant placed it is important to maintain excellent oral hygiene. Regular visits to your dentist and hygienist will ensure many years of optimal function.