In 1965, a Swedish physician Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark revolutionized the dental field by placing a titanium implant in the jawbone of one of his patients. He recognized the problems associated with wearing dentures; and the resulting success and reliability of implants has changed dentistry forever. We now have the ability to replace missing teeth without a removable appliance, and without shaving other teeth down to fabricate a bridge.

  1. As an alternative to removable dentures, dental implants are strong replacements for missing teeth. They consist of a titanium fixture surgically placed in the jaw bone where a tooth or teeth are missing. On that fixture an abutment (support) is placed onto which a porcelain crown is either cemented or screwed in. The procedure is usually done in the dental office with a local anesthetic (same as for simple fillings).
  2. Dental implants are a good solution for replacing an unrestorable or marginally restorable tooth. Implants are so successful that often it is advisable to extract a tooth that needs extensive work, if that tooth will probably be lost in the future. Implants alleviate the need to grind down the adjacent teeth, which was commonly done years ago to build a fixed bridge.
  3. In patients that get a lot of cavities, the beauty of implants is that being made of titanium they cannot decay. It is still critical however to brush and floss, as implants can develop periodontal disease.
  4. If you have lost many teeth (or all your teeth), you do not need an implant for each tooth lost. To replace all the missing teeth in an arch (top or bottom), you probably can make due with 6-8 implants for each arch.
  5. A thorough examination, treatment plan and diagnosis are necessary before implants can be placed. It is important that the specialist placing the implants coordinate with the dentist restoring them prior to treatment. At times a CT Scan should be taken to determine where the best bone is to place the implants. Sometimes grafts or sinus lifts are necessary to secure enough bone. A frank conversation with your dentist about the costs, treatment time, and risks and benefits is strongly recommended before embarking on implant treatment.

At Dental Partners of Fifth Avenue, our in house periodontal specialist has twenty years’ experience in placing implants. By being in the same office, we work together in the operatory to achieve the best possible results. After the procedure, our in office ceramist will help fabricate a beautiful temporary restoration, and later the final porcelain crown.