What is implant dentistry?
Although humans have tried to replace missing teeth since ancient times, the breakthrough came in 1952. Swedish orthopedic surgeon Per-Ingvar Brånemark was researching bone healing. He had placed a titanium rod into a rabbit leg to help stabilize it during healing. When he went in to remove the titanium rod, he found the bone had fully fused and grown around the titanium, making it a part of the newly amended femur.
From that finding, Brånemark hypothesized that a similar result could be used to anchor artificial teeth. The modern dental implant was born. First placed into the mouth of a human volunteer in 1965, the titanium dental implant was approved by the FDA in the early 80s.
Today, dental implants are the gold standard for replacing a missing tooth or teeth, or for anchoring bridges or even full-arch dentures. The titanium implant base screws down into the socket of the former natural tooth root and the jawbone accept and grows around the implant. It becomes a part of the jaw. A post is attached to the implant and an artificial tooth to the post. That single implant functions and feels just like a natural tooth, and it will often last the remainder of the patient’s life.
Implant dentistry at Hampton Dental Associates covers the various options where we employ dental implants to replace missing teeth.
Who is a good candidate for dental implants?
Just about anyone is a great candidate for a dental implant. The key is bone mass. At Hampton Dental Associates we have a near 100 percent success rate with our dental implants because we are very careful about placement. If an implant is placed in an area where the patient has lost a good deal of bone mass, it may not be able to have adequate initial support and the bone may not fully grow around it. This will lead to implant failure once the patient begins using the implant with full force chewing and biting.
If a patient has been missing a tooth, or more often a number of teeth, their jawbone has not received the energy from chewing and biting, and it has likely resorbed (deteriorated). That doesn’t mean the patient cannot receive an implant, but it typically means some degree of bone grafting will be necessary to build up the bone mass before the implant is placed. In minor cases of bone loss, we may place bone graft material in the tooth socket at the time of the implant placement to bypass the extra time waiting for the bone graft to build new bone.
There is no age limit for receiving dental implants.
Who is a candidate for one-day implants?
One-day implants are used to shorten the process of placing the implant, which for full-size implants will take from 4 to 6 months. One-day implants not only shorten the process to a single appointment, but they also don’t require the patient to have a missing tooth in the space above where the implant base has been placed.
But they are not for everyone. One-day implants absolutely require enough bone mass to hold the implant base. At Hampton Dental Associates, we use CT scans to check if the patient has sufficient bone mass for one-day implants.
After placement, the patient must adhere to a soft diet for 8 weeks. This is the time it takes for the implant to become integrated into the jawbone. If the patient doesn’t follow this diet, there is a good chance the chewing forces will make the implant fail.
Who is a candidate for mini implants?
Dr. Richard Winter and Dr. Ariel Winter are well-known for their work and teaching on the use of mini implants. Mini implants are about half the diameter of traditional implants. As with one-day implants, they are not for everyone.
Mini implants can be a great first step while a patient is saving up to pay for traditional implants. The mini-implants can be placed and hold temporary restorations while bone grafts are progressing. They can also be used to hold partial dentures. These are the usual criteria necessary for a mini implant:
- The tooth that needs replacing was small
- It was a front tooth
- The missing tooth was a pre-molar
- The area in need of replacement is narrow and can’t fit a full implant
Mini implants cannot be used for replacing individual molars, as the chewing forces are too great.
How long do dental implants last?
Once the titanium implant base is placed into the socket of the former natural tooth root, the jawbone accepts the titanium and begins the process of fully growing around it. This is called osseointegration, and it takes months. Once the jawbone has fully integrated the implant base and the post and artificial tooth are attached, the implant now functions and feels just like a natural tooth. As long as your jawbone remains healthy, the odds are the implant will last the remainder of the patient’s life. If the artificial tooth/crown attached to the post is broken, it can easily be replaced and attached to the post atop the implant base.
Dental implants are far and away from the most successful dental restoration. They have a success rate of up to 98 percent! But the success of a dental implant or of an implant-supported prosthesis depends in large part upon the expertise of the dentist placing it. The dentist must ascertain if the patient has sufficient bone mass to adequately support the implant. The dentist must also determine the size of the implant to match the patient’s available space and bone mass. If an implant is placed into an insufficient bone mass, it can fail. This will then require a revision procedure.
That’s why our patients from Milwaukee and the surrounding areas have trusted our team at Hampton Dental Associates, led by Dr. Richard Winter, for their implant dentistry. Dr. Winter is a board-certified implant dentist with the American Board of Oral Implantologists/Implant Dentists, of which there are only 535 in the nation. His knowledge, training, and vast experience ensure the highest success with our dental implant placement.