A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown. If you compare natural teeth to implant-supported replacement teeth, you’ll see they have the same basic parts. Both have a crown (the visible part used to chew food) and both have a root that holds the tooth securely under the gum and is anchored into the jaw. The difference is that the implant is made of titanium – the same time-tested material used by orthopaedic surgeons for artificial joints. A Swedish scientist and orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, developed the concept of osseointegration for oral rehabilitation more than thirty-five years ago. With his pioneering research, Dr. Branemark opened the door to a lifetime of renewed comfort and self-confidence for millions of individuals facing the frustration and embarrassment of tooth loss.
When you lose a tooth, you lose both the root and the crown and sometimes some of the surrounding bone. To replace the tooth, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon first replaces the root with a small dental implant, these are tiny titanium posts which are inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jawbone following which the bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts are attached to the implant which protrude through the gums; these posts are called “healing abutments” and are not your final restoration. A temporary tooth or teeth can be provided, for the sake of appearances, to fit over the healing abutment(s) whilst integration occurs. If all of your teeth are missing and a full arch reconstruction is being carried out, a variety of temporary treatment options is available to support teeth for appearances.
Time is required for bone to heal and grow around the dental implant – this is an essential part of the osseointegration process. The bone surrounding an implant bonds with the titanium over about 5 months creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. At this stage the healing abutment is removed and a permanent support post (final abutment) is then placed on the integrated implant by your restorative dentist and a new replacement tooth (crown) is fabricated to attach to this abutment. The end result should look and feel like a natural tooth.
“Don’t be afraid to Smile.”
For years I’d felt like a part of my body was missing — because my teeth were. My oral surgeon told me that dental implants would make me feel and look a lot better. OK, I said. Now, I’m thrilled. I can smile, eat anything, and enjoy a good laugh with my friends.
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Dr. Bowler is usually able to place implants as a single stage procedure. Implants placed in this way usually do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but they do require a minimum of five months of healing time before permanent artificial teeth can be placed.
Dental implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. Dr. Bowler performs the initial tooth extractions – this is often done as a small surgical procedure under local anaesthesia to minimise bone loss.There are rare situations where an implant can be placed at the same time as the tooth extraction but the actual implant surgery and bone grafting (if necessary) is usually done after an initial healing period in the extraction site of up to three months. Once your implant is integrated, the restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.
Case Study #1
Patient presenting with a missing upper left lateral incisor (21) replaced with an implant supported crown.
Healing abutment visible whilst implant integrating.
Dental implant seen on x-ray
Temporary tooth (pontic) bonded for cosmetics whilst implant integrating
Final restoration left lateral incisor
Case Study #2
A 60 year old male patient seeking a full lower fixed bridge to replace his long standing full lower denture.
4 implant fixtures seen on x-ray.
Intra oral view of prosthesis
Case Study #3
A 55 year old female patient presenting with an edentulous maxilla seeking a permanent implant retained bridge to replace her full upper denture.
6 implant fixtures seen on x-ray.
Facial view of full prosthesis
Case Study #4
A 60 year old male patient who has undergone a left sided TMJ total joint replacement to reconstruct an old malunited condylar fracture. He went on to have a dental rehabilitation using upper and lower implant retained crowns and bridges.