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What is an implant?

Dental implants are mechanical devices that have been designed to substitute for individual missing teeth. They function as an artificial tooth root, on top of which some type of dental prosthesis (a dental crown, bridge or denture) can then be placed.

The most common kind of implant placed by dentists is the endosseous root-form type.

  • Implants are used to replace individual teeth.
  • ¬†dental implant used to replace a molar.
  • The implant is embedded within bone tissue.

Components of a dental implant

The implant fixture

The fixture is that part of the implant that’s embedded in and becomes fused with the jawbone. It’s the portion that lies below the gum line and, for all practical purposes, can be considered to be an artificial tooth root.

The implant abutment

The abutment portion of a tooth implant is that part that lies at and above the gum line. It’s the part that supports and secures the dental work (crown, bridge, denture) that’s placed on it.

The dental prosthesis

The term “dental prosthesis” refers to the dental work (crown, bridge, denture) that the implant supports, which is cemented or screwed (i.e. crowns, bridgework), or else clipped or snapped (i.e. dentures), into place.

Determining implant site bone tissue quality and quantity.

  • The quantity (bone volume) and quality (bone density and architecture) of the tissue in the region of the planned implant.
  • Ensure that the planned location for the implant in the jawbone is distant enough from neighboring anatomical structures (teeth, nerves, sinuses, etc…).
  • Determine that there is no pathology associated with the area that will interfere with the successful outcome (placement, healing and osseointegration) of the device.

Evaluation methods

  • Routine clinical techniques: visualization, palpation (touching, feeling), and measuring the jawbones.
  • Dental x-rays.

Who makes a good candidate for a dental implant?

Factors that must be evaluated include:

  • The patient’s health (medical conditions, medicines, age).
  • Patient habits (smoking, tooth grinding, poor oral hygiene).
  • Jawbone quantity and quality at the placement site.

Other considerations:

  • Medical conditions that may interfere with an implant’s success.
  • Make sure your dentist has a complete list of all of your medications. Your dentist needs a complete listing of all of the medicines and supplements that you are taking.
  • As a general rule, placing tooth implants should be delayed until the age of 18 to 19 years. This age generally correlates with that time frame when an adolescent’s jaw growth and development can be considered to be complete.
  • Poor oral hygiene places the long-term survival of an implant at risk.
  • Smokers may have lower long-term implant success rates than nonsmokers. Many (but not all) studies have reported that the long-term success rate of tooth implants of smokers is lower than for those who don’t.
  • Bruxism (tooth clenching and grinding) may compromise dental implant success. Bruxism is a term that refers to the habit of clenching and grinding one’s teeth.
To learn more about Implants or to schedule an appointment, call Vickers Family Dental today 281-440-1200!