Are you missing one or many teeth?
Do you want a permanent solution to replace missing or rotten teeth?
Do you want to restore a missing tooth or go for a complete smile makeover?
In this article, I will outline three varieties of dental implants that we do to help our patients to replace a rotten or missing tooth or, if needed, complete brand new smile design.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a small, titanium post, sometimes referred to as a screw that is surgically placed within your jawbone just beneath your gum line. The screw (or post, if you prefer) will blend with your jawbone, creating a strong foundation for your tooth or smile restoration.
See the illustration below of a dental implant.
The intent of a dental implant post is to replace your tooth's missing root. It not only merges with your bone in your jaw like a root, but it promotes and preserves your bone structure.
On top of a dental implant post is the restorative tooth. Typically, it is a single dental crown replacing a tooth. It is often made in our onsite dental lab while you are in the dental chair.
For those with multiple missing teeth, dental implants with a bridge can be used and can even secure dentures.
As a prosthodontist, and working with dental implants on a daily basis for many years, it has been my experience that with proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime.
In my Guide to Dental Implants, I share how dental implants have a 98% success rate. For this reason, dental implants are widely recognized by prosthodontists worldwide as the #1 solution for permanently replacing missing teeth.
So which kind of dental implant is best for you?
"By far, the biggest indicator of success is having the right prosthodontist at the helm of your dental implant procedure. The right prosthodontist makes all the difference."
--- DR. REZA KHAZAIE, DDS, PROSTHODONTIST
Kinds of Dental Implants
A Single Tooth Dental Implant
A single tooth dental implant is most often used to replace a single missing tooth. It only requires one post and one dental crown.
A Single Tooth Dental Implant Process
- You will meet with me (Dr. Reza Khazaie, DDS, Prosthodontist) to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants. A good candidate is a patient in good general health, does not have diabetes, is not a heavy smoker, and has adequate bone density to support a dental implant. If you are a good candidate, a personalized treatment plan will be tailored to you.
- A titanium post will be placed within your jawbone using surgical-guided technology. You will not experience any pain during this procedure. Our goal will be to make you comfortable throughout the process. Your new post's estimated healing time to fuse with your jawbone is typically 3 to 4 months.
- If necessary, a temporary dental crown is created while you are in the dental chair and placed with an abutment on the post.
- Once you have healed, your new custom-designed crown replaces the temporary tooth. Your new tooth will feel and look just like your surrounding teeth.
Unlike other tooth restorations, a single tooth dental implant replaces your entire missing tooth from root to crown.
If you have one missing tooth or multiple missing teeth that are not adjacent to each other, then a single tooth dental implant is likely your best option.
However, if you have multiple missing teeth adjacent to each other, this is likely not the best solution.
Additionally, the next type of dental implant may save you money if you have multiple missing teeth.
Implant-Supported Bridge for Replacing Several Teeth
When you have multiple missing teeth adjacent to each other, you may find your best option is an implant-supported bridge.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge typically consists of two crowns on either side of your missing tooth gap with an artificial tooth held by those crowns in between.
Instead of having the dental crowns attach to teeth, an implant-supported bridge has crowns that connect to dental implants.
The process is very similar to a single tooth dental implant that I described above. However, the teeth missing in the middle of the gap will not receive a dental implant.
The main benefit of an implant-supported bridge is that we can securely replace multiple missing teeth in a row without the cost of replacing each tooth.
The downside is not all your teeth will receive an implant, and therefore you will have some bone resorption.
If most of your teeth are missing or rotten, the next option is the solution for you.
Implant-Retained Denture (All On 4 Dental Implants): To Replace All Your Teeth
If you are missing all your teeth or most of your teeth in an arch, either upper teeth or lower teeth, then an implant-retained denture is likely your best solution.
What are implant-retained dentures?
A denture is a fabricated arch of teeth that rests on your gum line. It provides you with the appearance of a full set of teeth.
Traditional dentures are known for a host of problems from slipping, falling out, clicking, and just not making it easy to eat or talk without complications.
To resolve traditional dentures' problems, an implant-retained denture is used to permanently secure your denture with dental implants (All On 4 Dental Implants).