What are Dental Implants?

In our days almost everyone heard about a dental implant, but when I ask my patients what do they know about dental implants, I get various answers that make me go ahead and clear up the subject. There are many implant brands and many dental implant types, but they all have something in common: they are man made fixtures designed to go into the jaw bone, fuse with the bone and then be the base for a tooth, dental bridge, a denture attachment or an attachment for an orthodontic appliance. All the implants have the shape of a screw.

The dental implants can be classified based on the material that they are made of in titanium or zyrconia implants. Based on the diameter they can be classified in narrow diameter( miniimplants) or regular implants.

Miniimplants are smaller diameter implants that originally were designed to temporarily stabilize lower dentures. After noticing that those implants integrate into the bone and partially fuse with it, the researchers developed designs that can be used to more permanently attach and stabilize the dentures. The only shortcomings of those implants are that they are not as stable as the regular sized implants and they can be almost exclusively used in the front of the lower jaw.

Regular implants have a diameter larger than 3 mm and they have various lengths, widths and shapes. They are the most used implants and they provide a huge service to the patients they are used on.

If a regular implant is used to replace one missing tooth, the implant is placed into the bone followed by a waiting period of 8-10-12 weeks for the implant to fuse to the bone. After that a connection part is placed on top of the implant(tmabuent). The abutment will make the connection between the implant itself and the crown(tooth). The abutment is one of the components that bring up the cost of the implant. If the implant is placed in the bone in the long axis of the future tooth, the abutment is not needed. In this case the crown is going to be a “screw retained crown”.

Based on the materials they are made from, the implants can be classified in titanium and zirconia. Titanium implants are the oldest implants due to the properties of titanium to be a bioactive material which promotes the formation of new bone on its surface. The end result is the bone fusing with the implant and the implant being “osseointergrated”(integrated, fully connected to the bone).

The zyrconia(a ceramic made from the oxidation of a metal called zirconium) implants came around recently announced as “holistic” or more biocompatible implants. They come from Europe where they are used more. In US only few dentists engaged in placing those implants due to the limitations and short history of zirconia implants.

Overall dental implants provide great service to the patients by replacing missing teeth. It is really a great service to restore the ability to chew, eat, speak, etc.. in patients who were missing this for a while. In the past the only restorations to rebuild those abilities were bridges, partial dentures and full dentures which had a lot of shortages.

If you need dental implants or you have some questions and concerns please call my Washington Township dental office, Sewell Dental Arts at 856-582-2220 for a free consultation. I will be happy to meet you and talk to you.