What is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are small anchors made of a biocompatible metal called titanium that are placed in the jawbone. Dental implants are the replacement of tooth roots in the mouth. Once placed, the anchors begin to fuse with the bone over the course of a few months. After the fusing process, known as osseointegration, abutment posts are inserted into the anchors to allow for the permanent attachment of the replacement teeth.
Implants are the best solution for simulating the look, feel, and function of natural teeth. Dental implants do much more than replace missing teeth, they also help maintain the health of neighboring teeth more predictably and reliably. They also help maintain bone structure, provide the ability to chew healthy food and give patients the confidence to smile.
Implant Supported Bridges
What are the advantages of an implant supported bridge?
Because of the natural look and feel and the functional stability provided by the implants, implant supported bridges are an effective solution to replace multiple missing teeth.
A traditional bridge uses teeth on either side of the missing tooth space for support, and preparing teeth for crowns can weaken them. Because these teeth serve as attachments, they are subject to additional forces that can damage both healthy and compromised teeth or bone tissues.
A dental implant supported bridge replaces missing teeth by placing two or more dental implants rather than adjacent teeth. These implants avoid putting any additional stress on your natural teeth and help preserve the health and function of the surrounding bone tissue and teeth.
Fully Edentulous (Toothless) Solutions
For patients missing many or all of their teeth, implant retained or implant supported dentures may be an alternative to traditional dentures. These solutions can simulate the look and feel of natural teeth and stay fixed in place with the implants acting as anchors. Using implants for retention or the support of dentures allows for a smaller and more comfortable base and less shifting of the prosthesis during use.
Available for full or partial dentures, implant supported dentures require the placement of two or more dental implants to secure the dentures in the mouth. With implant supported dentures, there is no plate covering the roof of the mouth, so speaking and eating are more natural and comfortable than with traditional dentures. If a removable denture is selected, the denture will “snap” onto the implant and can be removed for cleaning at night.
This procedure is a unique implant solution that allows patients with a completely edentulous (toothless) upper or lower arch to replace all of the teeth in that arch using only four to six implants as anchors. For qualifying patients, Dr. Ferrin may be able to complete the removal of all teeth and the placement of a temporary arch on the same day.
An implant retained denture requires the placement of four to six dental implants as “anchors” to provide a sturdier fit and minimal mobility for your denture. No adhesives and pastes are needed to secure your new denture, so you can eat and speak with comfort and confidence.
Guided Dental Implant Placement
Using Sirona® Orthophos SL 3D technology allows Dr. Ferrin to more accurately place dental implants using minimally invasive techniques that improve patient comfort and healing while maintaining the highest standard of treatment and restoring your smile.
The 3D digital guidance provided by this specialized software helps Dr. Ferrin plan the implant placement procedure. It also allows the patient to visualize the implant’s future location and its support for the final restoration. Once planning is complete, Dr. Ferrin uses this 3D-guided implant technology to create a customized surgical guide that provides greater precision and accuracy during implant placement.
Mini Dental Implants (MDIs)
When small spaces or inadequate bone mass in the jaw prevents traditional implant placement, a mini dental implant (MDI) may be a great alternative. Mini Dental Implants are similar to regular implants but, as the name suggests, are significantly smaller in diameter, and the placement procedure is minimally invasive, often requiring only local anesthetic and no sutures. For this reason, MDIs can usually be placed with the final replacement tooth on the same day.
How are mini dental implants different from standard dental implants?
In traditional implants, an abutment is attached to the titanium implant screw, and the restoration is then placed on the abutment once osseointegration with the surrounding bone structure occurs.
Approximately half the diameter of a traditional implant, MDIs utilize titanium posts rather than screws. MDIs use a ball and socket attachment system instead of an abutment piece to support the final restoration.
Similarities between MDIs and full-size dental implants:
- The implant is inserted into the jawbone.
- The implants, once inserted into the jawbone, are fixed in place.
- The implant serves to replace the tooth root and anchor replacement teeth.
- The placement of the implant can prompt bone regeneration around the placement site.
- The implant can be used to support one or more teeth for crowns or bridges and can also help provide support for removable lower arch dentures.
MDIs may be preferable to full-size dental implants in the following situations:
- There is insufficient bone mass in the jaw to support a full-size implant screw.
- The space to insert the restoration is small (such as an incisor).
- Children or young adults with congenitally missing teeth and small mouths may require MDIs.
- Minimally invasive techniques are needed due to health or other reasons.