Thanks to the field of oral implantology, or dental implants, a new standard of care has emerged and teeth can now be restored for both functionality and aesthetics. Dental implants can also help people with increased chewing capacity, and improved speech in addition to their appearance.
Tooth loss can result in shrinkage of gums and jawbones, and up until recently there were many folks with partial tooth loss who could not live normally. Dental implants and oral rehabilitation has opened the doors and mouths with increased treatment possibilities for many patients. Let’s face it – we need our teeth for chewing functionality and to eat, not just for looks.
Dental implants rely on the bone for support and are substitutes for natural tooth roots. If you are missing one or more of your natural teeth, oral implants might be the right solution for you. The chance for implants to integrate can for example be jeopardized by the presence of intra-oral bacteria and inflammatory reactions. People with adequate bone level and density who are not prone to infection and can maintain the best oral hygiene would be good candidates for dental implants.
There are varying types of implants that are available but the basic definition is that it is a device, or fixture, that is surgically placed into the jaw bone to replace one or several lost roots of teeth. Dental implants are designed to replace the root of a tooth. Implants are the surgically placed part which goes either into, or sits on top of the jawbone, while the actual tooth or teeth that go on top of the implant(s) are referred to as the prosthesis.
There are basically two distinct phases to the implant procedure, including a surgical phase, and a prosthetic phase. The surgical phase includes all that’s concerned with getting the implant into or onto the bone and getting it ready for the prosthetic phase. The prosthetic phase includes putting a single tooth or teeth on top of the implant(s). After the implant is placed into the jaw bone, a process that is called “osseointegration” allows the bone to grow and tighten around it. This process takes a few months, but after it has integrated with the bone successfully, the next phase can begin.
The second procedure includes a metal attachment that is placed to the implant onto which the final restoration replaces the missing tooth. Once the third part or the crown is screwed onto the abutment, the dental implant is complete.
If you are missing one or more of your natural teeth, no matter what age you are, dental implants may be your best solution. They are a long-lasting and pleasing alternative to missing teeth.
Implant Crowns: Nearly Natural Teeth
Medical advances have made implant dentistry a safe, effective way to regain fully functional dentition and a permanently-perfect smile. The proper placement of the implants themselves – including appropriate pre-surgical assessment, careful execution of all procedures, and thorough follow-up care – is only part of the process. For most patients, it is the aspect of implant dentistry that they can see – the implant crown – that matters the most.
The crown is the visible “tooth” placed atop the implant. The careful crafting and manufacture of this artificial tooth is of the greatest importance in determining the success or failure of the implant process, both functionally and aesthetically. To perform properly, the implant crown must:
- Be the perfect color to match adjacent teeth
- Be constructed from quality, wear-resistant materials
- Be precisely formed to fit perfectly in place between the adjacent teeth
- Be sized and angled precisely to enable a perfect “bite” without undue wear or abrasion against the opposing teeth
- Be fitted perfectly to the patient’s gumline
- Be precisely joined to the implant, ensuring security and stability
Implant Crowns vs. Traditional Crowns
Many of the same materials and techniques associated with traditional crowns are also used in the creation and placement of implant crowns. Like traditional crowns, an implant crown is most frequently made from ceramic, porcelain or resin. Like traditional crowns, the implant crown must be made and placed with a high degree of skill and care.
Unlike standard crowns, however, an implant crown is not “glued” to an existing tooth, but is instead attached to the implant – most often through the use of a threaded metal apparatus that screws directly into the implant. This provides the crown with the highest degree of strength and support. Usually, a single implant is paired with a single crown; in some instances, however, a single implant may be used to support two crowns, depending upon the particular patient, their needs, and the placement within the jaw.
Your Comfort Dental implant specialist can expertly assess your specific needs, create the perfect implant crown, and provide the expert fitting that results in a perfect bite and a happy, healthy smile.