A dental implant consists of two parts, no matter the restoration. First, there is the implant screw, which is placed below the gum and into the jawbone. Next, we have the abutment, a support structure that links the implant to the restoration. In most cases, we will need to schedule two separate surgeries to place each part. However, in certain circumstances we may be able to place the abutment at the same time as the implant, eliminating one of the surgeries. This also depends on the type of restoration you receive, whether it be a single crown, fixed bridge, or implant-retained denture.
Restoration of a Single Crown
The restoration of a single crown is the most basic form of implant treatment. During your surgery, Dr. Walmsley will make an incision in the gums, and place the implant deep within the jawbone. For the next three to six months, the implant and your bone will fuse together through the process of osseointegration. Osseointegration is largely responsible for the success of your implant-supported restoration.
Once osseointegration is complete, Dr. Walmsley will place the abutment during a second surgery. There are several types of abutments, all of which are designed to blend in with your natural teeth. After the abutment is in place, we will take an impression and send it to the lab. There they will fabricate your final restoration, in this case, a crown.
Restoration of a Fixed Bridge
The process for an implant-supported bridge is very similar to that of a crown, with one exception. A bridge consists of a false tooth, or pontic, that is held in place by two or more crowns. In most cases, Dr. Walmsley will place an implant for each missing tooth. When this is not possible, we will suspend the pontic between two implants.
A traditional bridge requires the complete reshaping of the surrounding teeth. Each tooth is then fit with a dental crown that is linked together by the pontic. Unfortunately, these bridges may lead to future complications, such as tooth decay or structural damage.
Restoration of an Implant-Retained Denture
Before the advent of dental implants, patients missing all or most of their teeth only had one option, dentures. A denture consists of artificial teeth set in a gum-colored acrylic base. Unfortunately, a traditional denture is insecure, which can cause embarrassing slips. Over time a denture may also become lose or ill-fitting due to bone deterioration in the jaw. To solve these problems, we use a series of implants to retain the denture. While it is still removable, an implant-retained denture reduces the risk of slips and trapping food particles underneath the base. The latter often leads to an infection. Plus, the implants will protect the underlying bone from future deterioration, a huge benefit of implants.
Schedule a Consultation Appointment
If you are interested in an implant restoration, please call (865) 248-2199, and schedule your consultation appointment now!