A dental implant is specialized titanium cylinder that is placed into your jaw bone to support a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth.

Single Tooth Dental Implants

If you are missing a tooth, one implant can be placed to subsequently anchor a natural looking porcelain crown to replicate the missing tooth.

What are the advantages of a single-tooth implant over a bridge?
A dental implant provides several advantages over the traditional fixed bridge method of replacing a missing tooth. It will feel, look and function like a natural tooth, but without sacrificing the health of neighboring teeth. The traditional fixed bridge treatment for the loss of a single tooth requires that adjacent teeth (front and back of missing area) be shaped and reduced for crowns to act as abutments to support the crown (pontic) that replaces the missing tooth.

Because a dental implant replaces your natural tooth, it will preserve the bone where the tooth was lost. With a bridge, some of the bone that previously surrounded the tooth will resorb (deteriorate). Dental implants integrate with your jawbone, helping to keep the bone healthy and intact.

Furthermore, an Implant because it is independent of the adjacent teeth, is not affected by decay that may occur on adjacent teeth. On the other hand, with a fixed bridge (involves missing tooth and the two adjacent crowned teeth), should decay or other problems arise with the crowns holding the bridge, the entire bridge will need to be replaced.

How will the implant be placed?

The implant is placed into your jaw surgically under local anesthesia. Over the next three to six months, your bone is allowed to heal and integrate and bond to the implant. After the first few weeks, there are usually no restrictions regarding your activity. During this time, a temporary tooth replacement option can be worn over the implant site.

Once the bone healing is complete, the implant is uncovered to allow for the custom fabrication of your new implant crown that will be attached to your implant. After a short time, you will experience restored confidence in your smile and your ability to chew and speak. Dental implants are so natural-looking and feeling, you may forget you ever lost a tooth.

The modern dental implant is the closest replacement for a real tooth. We at ARIMA DENTAL CARE can provide you with this service from start to finish. No more going to a dental specialist (Oral Surgeon, or a Periodontist) with special fees. Coordination of implant placement and the crown that fits onto the implant is critical. Dr. Arima can plan and place the implant in the most favorable position, and subsequently, restore the implant with a crown that replicates your missing tooth.

If you are missing most, or all of your teeth in your upper or lower jaw, Dr. Arima can also replace them with the same precision and planning.

Dental Implants

Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is often closely associated with dental restorations such as bridge work and dental implants. In the majority of cases, the success of a restoration procedure can hinge on the height, depth, and width of the jawbone at the implant site. When the jawbone has receded or sustained significant damage, the implant(s) cannot be supported on this unstable foundation and bone grafting is usually recommended for the ensuing restoration.

There are several major factors that affect jaw bone volume:

  • Periodontal Disease – Periodontal disease can affect and permanently damage the jaw bone that supports the teeth. Affected areas progressively worsen until the teeth become unstable.
  • Tooth Extraction – Studies have shown that patients who have experienced a tooth extraction subsequently lose 40-60% of the bone surrounding the extraction site during the following three years. Loss of bone results in what is called a “bone defect”.
  • Injuries and Infections – Dental injuries and other physical injuries resulting from a blow to the jaw can cause the bone to recede. Infections can also cause the jaw bone to recede in a similar way.

Bone grafting is a highly successful procedure in most cases. It is also a preferable alternative to having missing teeth, diseased teeth, or tooth deformities. Bone grafting can increase the height or width of the jawbone and fill in voids and defects in the bone.

There are essentially two basic ways in which bone grafting can positively impact the health and stability of the teeth:

Jaw Stabilization – Bone grafting stabilizes and helps restore the jaw foundation for restorative or implant surgery. Deformities can also be corrected and the restructuring of the bone can provide added support.

Preservation – Bone grafting can be used to limit or prevent bone recession following a tooth extraction, periodontal disease, or other invasive processes.

Initially, the dentist will thoroughly examine the affected area in order to assess the general condition of the teeth and gums. If periodontal disease is present or the adjacent teeth are in poor condition, these factors will be fully addressed before the bone grafting procedure can begin. The dentist will also recommend panoramic x-rays in order to assess the precise depth and width of the existing bone. On occasion, a CAT scan may be recommended to determine the bone condition. Depending on these results, the dentist may also anesthetize the area and explore into the gum in order to determine what kind and how much bone is required.

There are several types of bone grafts. Your dentist will determine the best type for your particular condition.

Autogenous Bone Graft – Harvested from the patient’s own body (usually from the posterior part of the lower jaw or the chin). This method is usually preferred because it produces the most predictable results.

Allograft Bone Graft – Cadaver or synthetic bone is used in this type of graft.

Xenograft – Cow bone is used in this type of graft.

The bone grafting procedure can often take several months to complete. Bone is typically harvested from your own body (or on rare occasions obtained from a “bone bank”) and added to the affected site. This bone will fuse with the existing bone and the migration of cells will cause firm adhesion and cell growth. Supplementing the jaw with bone will result in greater bone mass to help support and anchor the implant(s).

During the surgery, the dentist will numb the grafting and extraction sites using local anesthetic. A small incision will be made to prepare the site for the new bone and it will be anchored into place. On occasion, a synthetic membrane may be used to cover the new bone. This membrane prevents soft tissue and bacterial invasions, and encourages new bone growth. The surgery does not require an overnight stay, and you will be provided with comprehensive instructions for your post-operative care. The dentist will prescribe medications to help manage infection, discomfort and swelling.

Sinus Augmentation

A dental implant is essentially an artificial tooth root which is attached to the jaw bone. Eventually, a replacement tooth or bridge will be firmly fixed to this root, restoring complete function to the tooth. The key to a successful and long-lasting implant is the quality and quantity of jawbone to which the implant will be attached. If bone has been lost due to injury or periodontal disease, a sinus augmentation can raise the sinus floor to allow for new bone formation.

In the most common sinus augmentation technique, a tiny incision is made near the upper premolar or molar region to expose the jawbone. A small opening is cut into the bone and the membrane lining the sinus on the other side of the opening is gently pushed upward. The underlying space is filled with bone graft material and the incision is closed. The bone which is used for this procedure may be from your own body or from a cadaver. Sometimes the dentist might use synthetic materials which can also stimulate bone formation. The implants are placed after healing has occurred; this will depend on the individual case. Sinus augmentation has been shown to increase the success of dental implant procedures.