Mini Implants in Maxillary Lateral Incisor Procedure Explained
Mini Implants in Mandibular Procedure Explained
Dental implants are titanium fixtures which are surgically placed into the jawbone in order to provide the “roots” upon which artificial teeth (prostheses) can be placed. An implant can support a single crown, part of a bridge, or a full or partial denture, depending on how many teeth are missing and being replaced.
When teeth are missing or must be extracted due to gross decay, periodontal disease, trauma or genetic issues, implants can provide the most natural treatment option.
Regardless of the type of prosthesis ultimately placed over the implant(s), dental implants have many advantages:
- Dental implants prevent bone loss, bite collapse and signs of premature aging in the area of the missing tooth or teeth
- Dental implants offer a significantly more natural fit, feel, functionality and aesthetic look versus other alternatives (such as traditional bridges or regular dentures).
- Unlike traditional bridges, dental implants do not require unnecessary drilling of adjacent teeth to support the prostheses
Implant placement surgery on its own is most often performed in a single visit. However, it is among the most complex of dental procedures and requires proper pre-operative diagnosis, planning and follow up. More broadly, the replacement of missing teeth with implant supported prostheses can take up to one year in treatment, in order to allow for proper healing and bone grafting.
Prior to the Implant Placement
- The tooth has typically been extracted or lost at least 3-4 months prior to the implant placement surgery. Most likely, bone graft and protective membrane was also previously placed.
- A 3-dimensional CT scan is done shortly before the implant placement. The CT scan allows the surgeon to precisely determine if there is sufficient bone to support the implant; and to determine the optimal size and position of the implant post.
Implant Placement Surgery
- The patient is numbed using local anesthesia in the area where the implant(s) will be placed.
- The gum in the area of the missing tooth is cut open allowing direct access to the jawbone.
- A hole is drilled deep into the bone where the implant fixture will be placed.
- If necessary, additional bone graft is placed around the titanium.
- If possible, the implant healing abutment is also placed.
- The gum is sutured back.
- A temporary artificial tooth may be placed if required for aesthetic reasons – particularly if it is a front tooth that is missing.
Once the implant post is placed, a process known as osseointegration begins. Osseointegration is the physical growth of dental bone around and into the surface of the dental implants. This very critical process is the reason why dental implants offer the most naturally feeling and looking option for missing teeth.
Follow-up Visits & Post-Operative Care
- A personalized diet of soft and cold foods must be observed for a few weeks following the implant placement.
- Approximately 2 weeks after the implant placement, the sutures are removed and the healing evaluated.
Second Stage Implant Surgery
If the healing abutment could not be placed at the time of implant placement, a second stage implant surgery is done approximately 3-4 months after the initial placement. If additional bone grafting was done at the time of implant placement, 4-6 months of healing may be necessary.
- The patient is numbed using local anesthesia in the area where the implant is.
- The gum is cut open in order to expose the dental implant.
- The healing abutment is attached and tightened.
- The gum is sutured around the healing abutment.
After a short healing time (2-4 weeks), the patient is ready to move to the final stage of restoration – fabricating and placing the artificial teeth. The abutment allows for the implant fixture to be connected to the implant-supported crown (or bridge / dentures).
Implant placement is a surgical procedure. As such, some level of discomfort is typical, including:
- Swelling in the area of the implant for up to 10 days following the surgery
- Minor bleeding
- Minor pain
- Bruising of the gums or skin around the implant site.
WHY DO SOME IMPLANTS FAIL?
A more serious complication of implant placement surgery is known as “implant failure.”
A failed implant is an implant that becomes loose, painful, and eventually comes out. The process is often accompanied by a feeling of bad taste in the mouth, and puss coming out of the implant site.
While the implant failure rate is very low at less than 2% for the overall population, some patients have higher odds of losing their implants. Pre-existing conditions such as advanced gum disease (periodontitis), smoking and certain medications impacting bone density will make the patient more susceptible to implant failure. Poor oral hygiene is also an contributing factor.
When an implant does not osseointegrate, the implant must be removed, new bone graft placed, and a new implant placed.
To ensure the longevity of the implant, the patient must focus on maintaining good oral hygiene. Proper brushing and flossing, particularly around the implant site, and a regular professional dental cleaning are a must. Failure to maintain good oral hygiene significantly increases the risk of peri-implantitis (an infection of the bone and tissue surrounding a dental implant), which leads to bone loss and implant failure.
Insurance coverage for implants varies significantly across dental plans, and some plans don’t offer coverage at all. Other plans offer coverage but only if the tooth has been extracted while insured with the same policy. When coverage is available, it usually varies from 50% to 75%. The best way to determine the insurance coverage for implants is by submitting a pre-authorization request. The office of Dr. Mazen Natour will handle all insurance matters for its patients. Please call us if you have any questions about your coverage.