Implant dentistry is the area of the profession that studies the diagnosis, treatment planning, surgical placement and restoration of dental implants. This area has become very popular in the last years. It is not a new dental specialty. There are records of pre-Columbian implants placed by the Mayans. It was not until the 1950s that they became more popular. Prior to those years, many attempts were made to implant artificial teeth, blade and frame implants being the most popular. With time, their popularity decreased due to infection and body rejection.
In the 1950s, Dr. PI Brånemark, an orthopedic surgeon, discovered that titanium screws, when placed on bone, fused to it. This process is known as osseointegration. This discovery gave birth to the endosseous implant era. These are the kind we use today.
Dental implants can be utilized in many different ways. They can either replace a single tooth, many teeth or a whole dental arch.
Dental Implants Restorative Options
Single Implant Tooth Replacement
Whenever a single tooth is missing, the most conservative way of replacing it is by placing a dental implant.
#8 Implant crown (left)
Fixed Implant Bridge
This option is utilized whenever a patient is missing at least three consecutive teeth. Two implants are placed next to the teeth defining the edentulous space (“GAP”). Then, a bridge is designed to have it joining both implants. The longer the “GAP,” the more implants will be needed to support the bridge.
Removable Implant Partial Denture
This restorative option is used whenever patients are missing many teeth. The ideal way of restoring these mouths would be with individual implant crowns or bridges. However, other factors, such as extensive bone loss and cost can persuade these patients from such treatments. That is where these kind of partials come handy. They provide good function, good retention and acceptable aesthetics. The retention is obtained through male and female mechanism on the partial/implant interface.
Fixed Complete Denture (Hybrid Denture)
This treatment approach has become quite popular lately, mainly due to the steep learning curve and adaptation difficulties some patients experience with their conventional dentures, particularly their lower one. The placement of dental implants on the edentulous arch allows the restorative dentist to anchor a complete denture to the jaw. The results are unprecedented. Patients regain full chewing function, without any kind on biting force loss. The roof-less nature of the fixed upper denture allows patients to feel foods and drinks temperatures better, improving eating experience. Patients with this restorations can speak, sing and laugh without the fear of having their teeth coming out of their mouths. This is truly a quality of life improvement.
There are many different options within this category. Ranging between the amount of implants placed to the materials utilized to fabricate the restoration. Remember, every case is different. Dr. Luperon will evaluate your specific needs and design a treatment plan that suits you the best.
Full Arch Removable Implant Denture
By Bolivar Luperon