Dental Implants have been a treatment choice in modern dentistry for over 25 years. Prior to that time they were not considered to have predictable prognosis. In the early 1980s Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark from Goteborg, Sweden developed the Osseointegrated Implant. This titanium fixture fuses, or integrates, with the jawbone.
I have had the privilege of being one of the first restorative dentists in North America to work with this dental discipline. I have been restoring dental implants since 1985. For the past 15 years my dental practice has had both an oral surgeon and a periodontist on staff to surgically place the implants which I subsequenty restore with beautiful cosmetic crowns and bridges.
What is an Osseointegrated Impant?
In its simplest terms, it is a titanium cylinder which acts as a root replacement for the missing tooth it replaces. It can serve as the support for a single implant crown or two or more can act as supporting abutments for a fixed bridge. They can also support removable prostheses such as full dentures and removable partial dentures.
It is important to realize that replacement of teeth now have a gold standard of care. Traditionally when a tooth was lost, the gold standard of care was a fixed bridge. This involved preparing the tooth on either side of the missing tooth space for crowns (caps) and fabricating a fixed bridge supported by these two adjacent teeth. If dental implants were developed prior to fixed dental bridges, the fixed dental bridge would not even be a consideration. To prepare, i.e. irreversibly remove tooth structure from adjacent teeth, could possibly be considered absurd.
How does a dental implant/implant crown/bridge happen?
It is a simple, yet sophisticated process. First, the implant is surgically placed in the appropriate sight. The second phase is restoring the implant with the appropriate restoration (e.g. a crown) or, if the patient needs several implants, a bridge. If there is insufficient bone available in which to place the implants, additional procedures are indicated to prepare the site.
Each case needs to be evaluated and planned prior to beginning implant therapy. The complexity of the particular implant treatment ranges from simple to sophisticated. We are fortunate in our office, with our experience and successes, to offer dental implant treatment from the elementary to the more complex. In addition, all of the treatment can usually be performed in our office, eliminating the usual need to be seen at different locations.