Immediate Dental Implants: What Are They?
Implant dentistry is a safe, predictable method for replacing missing teeth. "Immediate dental implants" or the placement of tooth implants at the time of extraction is a great method of implant placement. This method can be considered when a single upper front tooth is traumatized, when one or two teeth have advanced decay, or when the remaining roots are too short to support a crown. The purpose of this method of tooth replacement is to maintain as much bone volume as possible. This means preserving bone height and width. The benefits to the patient after restoration of dental implants are a beautiful, natural-looking tooth without cutting down healthy adjacent teeth and being able to eat in comfort without the fear of having the tooth loosen or fall out.
An implant dentist can easily determine if a person is a candidate for the immediate dental implants method of replacing missing teeth. They will examine the teeth adjacent to the involved tooth for periodontal disease and take a traditional dental X-ray. Impressions of the teeth will aid in determining one's prognosis. Additional X-rays may be necessary to determine the exact bone width and height, as well as the root position.
Implant placement is performed with local anesthesia. The remaining root is removed and the gum tissue is gently displaced from the surrounding tissue. The dental implant site is prepared with small drills. Special equipment is used to gently place the tooth implant into the prepared site, after which the gums are replaced over the implant with sutures. A temporary tooth replacement is placed in the space where the tooth was removed. Post-operative discomfort is minimal. The sutures are removed in a week, and oral hygiene is resumed.
In the upper jaw, bone grows and adheres to the tooth implant within five to six months, while the immediate dental implants in the lower jaw require three to four months for proper bone formation. After healing, there is a series of visits when an implant dentist will make a tooth that will be attached to the implant. Within a few weeks after receiving the implant-supported crown, patients consider the restoration as their own tooth, rather than an implant.
Implants require good oral hygiene, dental maintenance, and periodic evaluation by a dentist. For further information regarding placement of tooth implants at the time of extraction, look in PubMed, searching the following key words: placement of implants at time of extraction, dental implants, immediate implants.
By William Becker, DDS
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