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Dental Implants

A dental implant is a titanium cylinder of varying configurations implanted in the bone of the jaw, simulating a tooth root, to which a dental crown or retention device can be attached.

  • Generally, there is a better than 95% chance that the dental implant will integrate successfully into the bone of the jaw and be strong enough to support teeth or a retention device under function.  If the implant does not integrate, the implant will remain loose in the bone and will require removal.  Once the failed implant is removed, a new implant can be placed without an increased risk of failure.

  • Additional risk of treatment failure can be expected in patients with uncontrolled diabetes, patients who use tobacco products, and in patients who have received radiation treatment to the jaws in the course of treatment for head and neck cancer.

  • If the tooth being removed is a non-infected, single rooted tooth, often the tooth can be removed and the implant placed at the same appointment.  This shortens the time from tooth extraction to implant restoration.
  • When a dental implant cannot be placed at the same time the tooth is removed, a two to three month healing period is required before the implant can be placed.
  • Occasionally, there is not enough bone to support an implant at the desired site of implant treatment.  A bone grafting procedure may be necessary prior to (or at the same time as) implant placement.  A bone grafting procedure may add to the time required for treatment completion.
  • After the implant is placed, three to four months of undisturbed healing is necessary before the implant(s) can support the new tooth (teeth) or retention device.
  • Once the healing period has passed, an abutment will be placed to extend the implant above the gum tissue so that a dental crown or denture retention device may be fabricated by your restorative dentist.
  • Generally, teeth being replaced in the esthetic (or visible) region of the dental arch will require custom fabricated abutments and temporary crowns at a slightly increased cost compared to teeth in the non-esthetic (not visible) regions which can be restored with stock abutments at a lesser cost.  Implants being used to support a removable denture generally will require stock abutments.
  • If custom abutments and temporary crowns are required, a precise dental impression will be taken at some point during the healing period.  The custom abutments and temporary crowns will be placed at the end of the healing period and be brought into function for a period of time, after which your restorative dentist will complete the permanent dental restoration.

Once the dental implant is integrated into bone and restored to function successfully, the longevity of the dental implant is indefinite.  However, the dental implant can be lost in the same fashion that a tooth can be lost, i.e. via gum or bone infection or trauma.  The mechanical aspects of the implant restoration can wear and fatigue with time and require replacement or repair, as with any dental restoration.  Should the implant need to be removed, it can be removed much like a tooth and after an appropriate time interval, be replaced.

Oral Surgeon Utah