Implants are great treatment options for everything from a single missing tooth to a full arch denture. There are many ways you may come to have a missing tooth and your dentist can help you decide if an implant is right for you. Factors such as your health history and your desired outcome will be used in this decision as additional procedures may be needed. There are many types of implants that may help you get back the dental health and smile you deserve. Implants are generally the preferred choice rather than a bridge or a denture as they reduce the bone loss that normally occurs when a tooth is extracted. They also have a longer life expectancy than a bridge.
Implants involve the gum and jaw bone so procedures to first prepare them to receive the implant may be needed. Bone augmentation replaces missing bone that can shift and be lost with either your own bone or bone from another source. To prevent bone loss caused by a missing tooth, an immediate implant can be done in which an extracted tooth is replaced by an implant in one procedure. The final restoration of the tooth is not placed yet but the risk of bone loss is avoided. When multiple adjacent teeth are missing, a bridge implant may be done. This usually involves two surgical implants that will receive a bridge through multiple appointments. For loose, uncomfortable dentures, a mini-implant overdenture can be used to hold the dentures firmly in place by small surgical implants anchored in the jaw.
The first step is a cone beam x-ray. This is a three dimensional image of your jaw and scull. Dr. Kirschbaum uses this x-ray to first determine if an implant is the right choice for you and secondly to create a surgical guide which insures that the implant goes in the exact spot and at the exact angle that Dr. Kirschbaum determines best. At your next visit, the body of the implant is placed and either a protective healing cover or an extension for the crown to later be attached to is put on. The healing process must take place for the implant to properly fuse and a temporary tooth may be used during this time. Once healed, the extension, if not yet placed, will be attached and a series of appointments to create a final crown will begin. This can vary case by case but will likely involve removing the temporary and taking an impression to model the final crown. After the final crown is placed and checked for fit, you can head home with your healthy smile!
Call us at (860) 653-7596 with any questions!