A Complete Guide to Dental Implants
I am confident you will find my Complete Guide to Dental Implants as an excellent resource and help in learning about dental implants.
In this guide, I will cover a lot of information. I will share my knowledge, life-changing stories, and information around dental implants, cost of dental implants, advantages and risk of dental implants, and before and after photographs of patients who received dental implants.
My name is Dr. Rana Shahi, DDS, MS, MSD, and owner of LA Periodontics & Implant Specialists --- which is one of the leading periodontal and implant centers in Los Angeles and Brentwood, California.
So if you're searching to learn as much as you can about dental implants, I hope that you will find my guide helpful in that pursuit.
DR. RANA G. SHAHI
Diplomate, American Board of Periodontology
DDS, MS, MSD
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants have become the treatment of choice for people missing one, a few, or all of their teeth, and for those with failing teeth or severe periodontal disease. Dental implants perform and look more like natural teeth. They are rooted in the bone, there is no artificial plastic on the roof of the mouth, and the need for adhesives and denture creams is eliminated. More important, the use of dental implants does not impact healthy, adjacent teeth.
Dental implants are a popular type of cosmetic prosthetic designed to replace damaged or missing teeth.
The implant prosthetic is composed of four parts: a metal post, abutment, crown, and retaining screw.
Together, these components constitute the artificial replacement tooth, or implant prosthetic. Technically the implant portion of a replacement tooth only refers to the metal post which is inserted or embedded into the underlying jaw bone and hidden beneath the surface of the gums. However, it is common for both patients and doctors to refer to the entire assembly as a single dental implant unit.
Implant is inserted into the jaw bone
Healing process of the bone (osseointegration)
Dental abutment is placed on the dental implant
Ceramic crown is placed which replaces the original tooth
Structure of The Dental Implant
The primary structure of a dental implant consists of four parts: the metal post, abutment, crown, and retaining screw. Let's look at each structure.
The metal post can be composed of inert, biocompatible metal. Typically, this will be titanium. The post is inserted into the jawbone and allowed to osseointegrate into the surrounding bone.
The abutment is attached to the end of the metal post and is exposed just above the gums. It can be either a part of a monolithic metal post or a separate piece. The role of the abutment is to provide a connection point and support for the crown.
The crown is the visible portion of the artificial tooth and is designed and crafted to look like a natural tooth. Materials such as porcelain are used for their resilience and aesthetic qualities.
The retaining screw is what holds the entire assembly together. Typically, this is a small threaded screw that is put in place last. It is inserted through the crown and attached to the abutment.
How Do Dental Implants Stay In Place?
Modern endosteal dental implants are designed to mimic a tooth’s roots. They are inserted directly into the jaw bone where it is allowed to osseointegrate into the surrounding bone structure.
Osseointegration is the direct structural and functional connection between living bone tissues and an introduced biocompatible material. At the microscopic level, bone cells grow into imperceptible pores on the surface of an implant, forming a secure and permanent mechanical bond.
Once osseointegration is complete, the implant effectively becomes a functional extension of the bone itself. The process of osseointegration itself is quite complicated, and many factors may influence the formation and growth of bone tissues that are in contact with an implant.
Successful structural osseointegration of an implant is critical to its success or failure.
Types of Dental Implants
There are two primary types of dental implants available to consumers today: endosteal implants and periosteal implants. A third type, transosteal implants, are much costlier and rarely used today as they were developed before the discovery of osseointegration.
Endosteal implants employ a metal post which is inserted, or implanted, into the underlying jawbone and allowed to osseointegrate. This implant forms the foundation for the attachment of replacement crowns.
For the most part, the vast majority of patients looking for replacement teeth will receive a solution that utilizes endosteal implants.
Periosteal implants are very different. These consist of a metal framework which is surgically placed beneath the gums and soft tissues and on top of the jaw bones. Unlike endosteal implants, periosteal implants are not embedded directly into the jaw bone and instead become affixed as the gums heal. They work somewhat like a saddle and require extensive soft tissue intervention to put in place.
Types of Implant-Based Teeth Replacement Solutions
At LA Periodontics & Implant Specialists, we consider implants to be the gold standard for replacing damaged or missing teeth. Primarily, we offer two types of implant-based solutions: conventional individual implants and All-On-4 Dental Implants.
Individual dental implants are the conventional solution for missing teeth. They are particularly useful for replacing one or two missing teeth. Its implant supports each tooth prosthetic. As a result, replacing many teeth as is the case in full-mouth reconstruction can require a large number of individual implants.
All-On-4 Dental Implants is known as an implant-supported bridge solution. Rather than individually surgically inserting one implant per tooth, with the All-On-4 dental implant treatment, four implants per arch can support all 32 teeth in a person’s mouth through the use of an intermediary bridge prosthesis. This allows for a significant reduction in total implants necessary, which is highly advantageous for both doctors and patients.