Whether you are missing several teeth or all your teeth, you may be a good candidate for an implant-supported full denture or bridge. Today, technological advancements in the world of prosthodontics has made it possible to replace an entire arch of teeth using just four dental implants. Replacing your missing teeth with multi-tooth dental implants instead of a traditional unsecured removable prosthesis prevents jawbone deterioration in the areas where your implants are placed using as few as 4 dental implants.
With multi-tooth implants or implant bridges, you can enjoy the three most important factors in chewing function. Retention means keeping the teeth in place and prevents dislodging. Stability means that the teeth are resistant to forces that move the teeth sideways or forward and back in your mouth (lateral movement). Support refers to the teeth being supported vertically so they can manage chewing forces against the teeth. With implants, the jaw bone supports the implants which support the teeth to chew with appropriate forces to break up all the foods you should be able to eat with natural teeth.
Once the root of your tooth is no longer housed inside your jawbone, the stimulation necessary to keep it healthy stops. This lack of stimulation leads to your body reabsorbing the bone. However, if, due to resorption, your jawbone is too soft or not thick enough to securely hold a dental implant, Dr. Ward can use a bone graft to strengthen it.
After your bone graft procedure, you will need to wait for the bone to strengthen before you have your implant surgery. This strengthening process can take anywhere from four to six months.
The first step in this process is the removal of damaged or failing teeth. If necessary, a bone graft is performed and the waiting period begins. After the waiting period, you will return to have your dental implants placed. There are many times where all of these procedures can be combined in the same surgery where the teeth are extracted, bone graft procedure is done and implant is placed in the same appointment. Because the bone will need time to mature and harden, the time to attach the temporary tooth or teeth to the implant varies and you and Dr. Ward will determine what your goals are and what risk tolerance you desire. Each case is different and needs an individualized treatment plan.
MULTI-TOOTH DENTAL IMPLANT PROCEDURE STEPS:
1. Dr. Ward will carefully make an incision in your gum tissue directly above the areas where your dental implants will be inserted.
2. A hole is drilled into the jawbone at the locations where your posts will be inserted. Just like a screw, these posts have threads. The threads add another level of stability.
3. Once your implants are inserted, Dr. Ward may provide you with temporary teeth to cover your implant sites until you have your permanent prosthesis placed. Your jawbone will begin integrating with the implant: A process known as osseointegration. This fusion process can take anywhere for two to six months.
4. Dr. Ward may choose to perform a second procedure in which the implants are uncovered and extensions are attached to them. Temporary healing caps and other connecting devices may be used to allow multiple crowns to attach to the dental implants.
5. As soon as osseointegration is complete, you will return to the office, where your permanent denture or bridge will be designed.
6. Once your custom-designed bridge or denture is ready, Dr. Ward will attach it to your abutments or, if you decided on a removable prosthesis secured with dental implants, your connecting device.