Dental Implants and Bone Grafting
A dental implant is a device that is inserted into the jawbone to support a prosthetic tooth or teeth. Implants are made of a medical grade titanium or titanium alloy.
How are Dental Implants Placed?
Your dentist will purchase the implants in sterile packaging and place them in a small hole in the bone that was prepared as part of the implant placement procedure. The bone will fuse to the implant over a short period of time in a process referred to as osseointegration.
What Can Implants be Used For?
Implants can be used:
- to replace a single tooth that was previously extracted
- to replace a tooth that was never formed
- to retain a denture
- as part of a reconstruction plan to retain a prosthetic device
What is Bone Grafting?
Sometime after teeth are removed or at the time of the implant placement it is necessary to build up the bone density to increase implant success. The bone that is used can be one of four types.
- Autologous bone grafting uses your own bone. This can be from another area of the mouth, or another site in the body such as the hip.
- Xenografts use bone harvested from animals.
- Synthetic grafting uses processed bone fabricated in a laboratory; the bone is not from a living source.
- Allogenic bone grafting uses bone from another person (usually a cadaver).
One Stage Implant Surgery
One stage implant surgery is a procedure where the implants are functional on the same day as they are placed. This is often done when the indication for the implant is to retain a denture or other oral prosthetic.
Two Stage Implant Surgery
Two stage implant surgery involves two separate procedures. In the first phase the implant is placed in the bone and is covered with a cover screw and gum tissue. This allows for healing and time for osseointegration.
At the second phase, the implant is uncovered and the prosthetic phase is begun. This is when the implant is placed into function.
Caring for Implants
It is very important to clean your implants just as you would natural teeth. It is important to brush and floss around the prosthetic portion and keep plaque from accumulating around the gingiva near the implant sites.
One major source of implant failure is peri-implantitis. This results from plaque accumulating and bone loss around the implant.