So what is the secret to dental implants' amazing success? First and foremost, the answer to that question can be expressed in one word - "osseointegration."
What Is Osseointegration With Dental Implants?
In the early days when dental implants were only a dream, the main blockage point in the research was to find a metal that would successfully bind to bone directly without an intervening material and without exposing the patient to risk of metallosis. That is, they were searching for a metal that would achieve acceptable levels of osseointegration.
Finally, in 1952, titanium was found to possess the desirable osseointegrating abilities; and by 1965, the first dental implant had been placed in a human mouth.
Osseointegration allows the titanium root of a dental implant - a screw-like bar of metal that connects the jawbone to the dental crown, to firmly and permanently fuse to bone. This provides the foundation for all the advantages that modern implants offer.
How Do Modern Dental Implants Work?
Multiple implants can usually be installed in a matter of an hour or two. Full post-op healing may take several months, but at that point, the implant tooth will be virtually indistinguishable from a natural tooth both aesthetically and functionally.
First, the periodontist will need to remove the old tooth if it is still in place. (An extraction can be done same-day as implant placement in many cases.) Next, a hole must be cut through the gums where the implant rod is to be placed. Then, the rod must be positioned either slightly into or on top of the bone.
Endosteal implants fit into a small hole drilled into the alveolar ridge, which is where natural teeth sit as well. Subperiosteal are placed on the bone but underneath the gums. Both implant types are made of titanium and fuse firmly and relatively quickly to bone matter.
Finally, the gum tissue is made to cover the implant rod, and a temporary crown is put on the rod's top. Later, a permanent dental crown will be put in its place.
Is Everyone A Good Candidate?
In order to qualify for dental implant surgery, you need to have relatively healthy bone and gums in the area where the implant or implants are to be placed. If you need periodontal treatment or bone grafts first, then implant surgery can still be done but must be delayed for a time.
Generally speaking, individual implants are used to restore "scattered" tooth loss, sometimes in conjunction with dental bridges. If you have no or few teeth left on one or both jaws, then four implants per jaw can be installed to enable implant-based permanent dentures.
If you suffer from tooth loss and believe dental implants may be right for you, contact Ormond Beach Periodontics & Implant Dentistry, in Central Florida, today for a free implant consultation!