In the hands of an experienced “team,” implants placed surgically in the right position not only allow for the fabrication of implant-crowns that look natural, but also function properly and are maintainable — indistinguishable from real teeth. In the wrong position or without proper forethought implants can create a nightmare for the restorative dentist and dental technician who make the crowns.
The key to implant success — can be summarized by answering two questions:
- Can an implant be placed in correct position to allow for natural aesthetics and proper tooth function?
- Is there enough bone and is it in the right place to allow tooth replacement with an implant?
Implant placement and positioning is dependant upon adequate bone volume and density, which are therefore critical to success. In experienced hands, implants are extremely successful. Documented research and clinical studies indicate success rates of over 95% — which is higher than any other tooth replacement option. Even in areas of low bone density success is quite common. Once integrated and functional, implant restorations can last a lifetime.
Success from Concept to Design
The concept and design of implants has been very well researched and tested. Implant tooth replacement systems often comprise separate and interconnecting units, which can allow the crown components to be removed and replaced if the need arises.
Once an implant is placed in the bone time must be allowed for the osseo-integration (bone fusion) process to take place, usually between two to four months. One of the primary reasons for early implant failure is “loading” them with biting forces too early. Only in carefully controlled circumstances where stability of the implant(s) can be assured, is it possible to place implant crowns early, with any degree of predictable success. The “Teeth In A Day” concept is somewhat misleading, because the crowns placed on the implants are functional, but most often temporary in nature. This is more commonly effective in the lower front jaw where the bone is denser and implants can be splinted (joined) to crowns atop the implants assuring their initial stability. It is a little less predictable in the upper jaw and for single tooth replacement, but still possible in the right hands and circumstances.
Form and Function — Consequences of Tooth Loss
We tend to think about teeth as individual units, your dentist even gives each tooth a name and number, but in fact they make up a complete system, each one adding to its neighbor to function as one. Think about how the keystone in an arch holds all the other stones or bricks in place. For purposes of description we can think about the human dentition (full complement of teeth) as being composed of the anterior (front teeth) and posterior (back) teeth. The anterior teeth (the canines and incisors) are used for cutting and tearing food, and the posterior teeth (the premolars and molars) are used for grinding and chewing.
Importantly, the posterior teeth also support the vertical height of the face. If they are lost, the face tends to lose height and close down; this is called “posterior bite collapse” [Figure 2]. Unlike implants, teeth move; not only do changes occur to the remaining back teeth affecting their spacing and biting function, these changes also put pressure on the front teeth which tend to move or splay forward.
All of these changes have implications for normal form (aesthetics) and function (bite). They also have ramifications for other facial and jaw structures which can affect anything from the skin to muscles and jaw joints. Appearance begins to change as the height of the jaw decreases, wrinkles increase and the corners of the mouth droop. Additionally, it can become difficult to eat food because the front teeth were not designed for chewing. This is to say nothing of the social consequences of tooth loss; smiling, talking, singing, laughing and enjoying a nutritionally sound diet — all leading to both poor general and mental health.
Benefits of Dental Implant Treatment
At Real Smile Dental Clinics in Miami, we specialize in implants. Let us know how we can help you.