A dental implant is a prosthesis that connects to the jaw or skull bone to secure a dental prosthesis such as a crown, bridge, or denture, or to act as an orthodontic anchor. The physiological process of osseointegration, in which materials like titanium or zirconia develop an intimate contact with bone, is the foundation for modern dental implants. A variable amount of healing time is required for osseointegration before either the dental prosthetic tooth, bridge or dentures are attached to the implant.
The health of the patient receiving treatment, medicines that impact osseointegration, and the health of the tissues in the mouth all have a role in the success or failure of implants. The implant and fixture will be subjected to a certain level of stress during normal function. Because biomechanical forces generated during chewing can be significant, preparing the location and number of implants is critical to the prosthetic’s long-term health.
Dental Implant Placement
Implant placement is decided by the location and angle of the neighboring teeth, lab simulations, or computed tomography with CAD/CAM simulations and surgical guides known as stents. Healthy bone and gingiva are required for long-term success of osseointegrated dental implants. Pre-prosthetic treatments such as sinus lifts or gingival grafts are sometimes required for maintaining ideal bone and gingiva after tooth extraction because both can atrophy. (Atrophy is the progressive degeneration or shrinkage of muscle or nerve tissue.)
The finished prosthetic can either be fixed, in which case the denture or teeth cannot be removed from the mouth, or removable, in which case the prosthetic can be removed. An abutment is affixed to the implant bracket in each case. The crown, bridge, or denture is secured to the abutment with lag screws or dental cement where the prosthetic is fixed. A correlating adapter is placed in the prosthetic where the prosthetic is removable so that the two pieces can be secured together.
Implant For a Single Tooth
Single tooth restorations are freestanding units that are used to restore missing individual teeth and are not attached to other teeth or implants. An abutment screw is used to connect an implant abutment to the implant for individual tooth replacement. The crown (dental prosthesis) is then attached to the abutment with dental cement, a tiny screw, or by fusing the two pieces together during creation. Dental implants can be used to secure multiple dental prosthesis, such as a fixed bridge or removable dentures.
Dental Bridge with Implant Support
An implant supported bridge (also known as a fixed denture) is a set of teeth attached to dental implants and unable to be removed by the wearer. They’re identical to traditional bridges, except that instead of natural teeth, one or more implants support and retain the prosthesis. Dental bridges often link to many implants and may also serve as anchor points for teeth. The teeth that are directly over the implants are referred to as abutments, and those that are between abutments are referred to as pontics.
Implant-supported dental bridges are similar to single-tooth implant replacements in that they attach to implant abutments. A fixed bridge can replace as little as two teeth (also referred to as a fixed partial denture) or as many as a whole arch of teeth (also known as a fixed bridge or as a fixed full denture). This prosthesis is fixed in both circumstances since the denture wearer cannot remove it.
A detachable implant supported denture, also known as an implant supported overdenture, is a detachable prosthesis that substitutes teeth and relies on implants for support, stability, and retention. Full dentures (as opposed to partial dentures) are most often used to reconstruct edentulous dental arches. With finger pressure, our patients can detach the dental prosthesis from the implant abutments. The abutment is designed as a small connector (a button, ball, bar, or magnet) that can be attached to corresponding adapters on the underside of the dental prosthesis to accomplish this.
For more information about our dental implants in San Antonio, contact us now. We’ll schedule an appointment and discuss the best options for your situation.