Dental implants have changed the way we care for patients with missing teeth. In the past, tooth replacement options only restored those parts of teeth visible above the gum line. Dental implants replace both this visible portion of the tooth and the underlying root systems of missing teeth for a more natural feeling solution. If you’d like to find out more about your tooth replacement options at Lubbock Dental Care, contact our team to schedule a tooth replacement consultation today.
Dental implant tooth replacement is completed over 2 to 4 phases. The initial phase of treatment is the dental implant placement or bone preparation with grafting. This is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in most cases. We make a small incision in the gums and insert one or more titanium implant posts if the bone is adequate. Once in place, we attach a protective cap that will allow the gums to heal properly while maintaining the necessary opening to attach abutments, attachment pieces, and replacement teeth to the implant. Then, patients will need to allow the dental implant to fuse with the gum and bone tissue before returning for their restoration.
Within a three to six month time frame, a process known as osseointegration will occur. This is a word that describes the way the implant post fuses with soft tissue and supportive bone tissue to mimic the lost root structure. Once the implant is solidly anchored to the jawbone, we can attach one or more replacement teeth to achieve a full smile restoration. Patients missing just a few consecutive teeth will need to consider dental implant supported crowns and bridges. These restorations look and feel very similar to their traditional counterparts, but they do not rely on existing tooth structure for support. Instead, we can use an abutment, attachment piece, to connect your custom crown or bridge to an implant post. Patients missing a single tooth will need one dental implant post to support a crown. For three or more consecutive teeth, at least two implants will be needed to support the prosthetic. One dental implant is used to anchor each end of the bridge.
For more advanced tooth loss, we’ll use dental implants, usually between four and six, to support full or partial dentures. These implant supported prosthetics look similar to their removable, traditional counterparts. A gum colored base is crafted to fill gaps in the smile or fit snuggly against the gums, and this denture base supports the replacement teeth. However, attaching these dentures to implant posts rather than clasping to healthy teeth or relying on suction improves the overall stability of the prosthetic.
All-on-4 is a special dental implant technique that is typically recommended for those patients who need to replace a full arch of teeth, but who may not have adequate jawbone density to support traditionally placed dental implant posts. Instead of being placed along the jawline, the implants utilize the denser jawbone structure at the front of the mouth. Two implants are placed vertically to support the front of the denture, and two are angled diagonally into the front of the jaw to support the back of the denture.