When there are missing teeth in the jaw, dental implants are a great option for replacing them. The titanium implant mimics the root structure of a tooth and is bio-compatible so that the bone actually grows and attaches to it (osseointegration).
At Hometown Dental, we take a 3D x-ray (Cone Beam CT) to evaluate the amount of bone present in the area of the missing tooth. Using the 3D x-ray software, the implant placement can be accurately planned to ensure proper angulation and distance from adjacent structures. Combining a digital scan of the mouth by the CEREC camera with the 3D x-ray data, a surgical guide can be made in the office. This surgical guide is a tool to transfer the planned implant location and alignment from the x-ray to the mouth. That way, the implant can be placed in the ideal location as determined in the planning phase.
Placing the implant is a surgical procedure where the bone is prepared with specific drills to make the space to secure the implant into. Once the implant is placed in the bone, a healing cap is placed and the gums and bone are given time to heal. After an appropriate period of time, the implant is checked for stability and at that time, the procedure to make the crown for the top of the implant is started. We have the ability to make the implant crowns in the office on the CEREC machine or we can also work with a dental laboratory.
Implants are a very good treatment option as they can replace one tooth or even multiple teeth by placing a bridge or denture over top. If they are well maintained they can last decades in a patient`s mouth. Over time, the restoration over the implant made need replacement due to wear or fracturing, but often it can be removed and new restoration placed on the original implant screw.