Now there is an alternative for replacing a missing tooth, missing teeth or help anchor dentures securely. Implantology has been in dentistry for decades but only in the past 10 years or so has it become much more predictable and successful. There are now thousands of implants placed each year world wide with tremendous long-term success.

Implant Longevity

Just like your real teeth, implants require very careful cleaning each and every day. Regular dental hygiene appointments are just as important (if not more so). It is true that implants can’t decay, but they are susceptible to periodontal problems just like real teeth. Smoking is a factor with implant failure and should be discont inued for long term success. Other very important factors are the correct placement of your implant in secure bone and a very correct bite to minimize stresses – these decisions are made by the doctor directing your care.

There are implants that have been successfully used for over 30 years. Now, with a better understanding of fundamentals and studies performed, we expect implants to be 95%+ successful for 30 years and most likely a lifetime.

Placement technique

The implant itself is made from titanium. Titanium has a very high affinity to bone. After a careful medical and dental history is taken and evaluated. Proper models, x-rays and other diagnostic tools are reviewed and the decision to use an implant has been made – the actual placement occurs. At the time of the implant placement (an office procedure, usually under an i.v. sedation) an incision is made and a “core” of bone is easily and carefully removed that corresponds exactly to the length and diameter of the implant body. The implant is seated, the tissue repositioned and sutured into place. Most people who undergo this surgery say that the discomfort is minimal post operatively.

Bone before surgery

Bone before surgery

The implant ready for placement

Implant extending through gum

Now the implant actually “osseous integrates” (biologically fuses) to the bone. This process takes usually from 4 to 6 months.

During this time, the implant remains covered over and no forces are placed on it. Dentures may be worn during this healing time.

The implant top is exposed and an extension is placed so that the gums can heal to form a tight seal at the gum margin .

Tooth Replacement

The crown (cap) is placed over the implant extension through a series of very precise impressions and lab procedures.

Finally the finished crown is cemented or screwed into place on the implant


Crown placed over implant

Sequence to show implant procedure

X-Ray of crown joining implant

Denture Anchoring

impb1You don’t need 14 implants to replace all of the lower teeth, just a few implants correctly placed will support a denture. Most cases require between 2 and 5 implants to provide excellent results. Generally, if you want teeth that are not removed, it will require that more implants be placed. Because they’re more easily cleansed, we prefer that the implant supported teeth be removable. Another excellent reason for removable teeth is that they act like a shock absorber for the implants.

impbThrough a series of very precise impressions and lab procedures, a bar is made to precisely fit over the top of each implant extension. The bar has a shape that will accommodate plastic snaps to fit over it. These snaps are then transferred to the inside of the denture base. With the denture snapped into position, all the implants, bar and snaps are hidden by the denture acrylic.

Implants are a very exciting part of todays dentistry. If there is an opportunity for us to share any information or provide a consultation for possible implant placement, please do not hesitate to call.