Dental implants can provide a long-term solution when you are missing one or more adult teeth. Three types of dental implant treatments are available, depending on how many teeth are to be replaced, your oral health, personal preference, and budget.
This article outlines the different types of implant treatments and explains how they can help restore your dental health. As a brief reminder, a dental implant consists of a titanium or zirconia post implanted into your jawbone, which soon fuses in position. It closely replicates a real tooth root, stimulating and preserving the surrounding bone, and is strong enough to support a dental restoration. The restoration may be a single crown, bridge, or denture.
Single Implant Crown
When only a single tooth is missing, or teeth are missing in different areas, you will need to have single dental implants inserted into the jawbone. A single implant crown is non-removable and is either cemented or screwed onto the dental implant. If it is screwed, the screws go directly through the crown, so the holes are covered with tooth-colored composite resin and cannot be seen.
What Is the Process for a Single Implant?
The process is very straightforward, and you will need an initial consultation, a dental exam, and diagnostic tests to determine if this is the best option before we create your custom treatment plan. The plan is based on your diagnostic tests, including a cone beam CT scan.
Once the plan is complete, we create a surgical template or stent so your implant can be inserted using computer-guided technology. We ensure the process is entirely painless, and placing a dental implant may take as little as half an hour to an hour.
The implant then needs time to heal with your jawbone, typically 3 to 6 months before we attach an abutment onto the implant post. We can then fabricate your implant crown so that it looks and feels like a real tooth and is fixed onto the abutment permanently. You can care for your new implant tooth exactly like a real tooth, brushing and flossing around it to ensure it remains strong and healthy.
If you have multiple missing teeth in the same area of your mouth, where they were originally adjacent to each other, a better option might be an implant bridge.
An implant bridge is more economical when multiple teeth are missing, or natural teeth aren’t strong enough to support an ordinary dental bridge. It comprises two crowns at either end of the gap fitted onto dental implants. The artificial teeth or pontics are attached in between the implant crowns.
What is the Process for an Implant Bridge?
The process for an implant bridge is similar to a single dental implant, except not every tooth missing is replaced with a dental implant. Once the implant bridge is made, it is most likely screwed onto the dental implant abutments.
An implant bridge can replace three or more teeth that were adjacent to each other. It can even replace a complete arch of teeth.
Another option is to have an implant-retained denture.
An implant-retained denture is a removable prosthesis that can be an economical and effective method to replace an entire arch of teeth. Unlike a full-arch implant bridge, where multiple implants are needed, an implant-retained denture can be supported with as few as four dental implants.
What is the Process for an Implant-Retained Denture?
Planning and placing the dental implants is similar to placing implants for a crown or bridge. Once the implants are in place, they must be left to heal, and if you currently wear an ordinary denture, this may be adapted to wear during healing. After the implants are fully healed, a custom denture is created with special attachments on the fitting surface that clip onto special abutments attached to the dental implant posts.
Which Solution is Best for You?
The answer is simple if you only have a single missing tooth. When multiple teeth are missing, the choice may not be so straightforward. When asked which they would prefer, most people would almost certainly opt for non-removable teeth, such as an implant crown or bridge. However, when all natural teeth are missing, an implant-retained denture can be a very cost-effective solution that provides a high level of satisfaction.
An implant-retained denture will improve biting strength compared to an ordinary denture, although it won’t be as strong as an implant crown or bridge. But it is affordable, and the resulting implant-retained denture will look and feel good. It can also be simpler to care for as it is removable.
When you visit Riverside Oral Surgery for dental implant treatment, we present all possible options and explain each clearly. We can show you examples of each type of restoration and the materials that can be used to fabricate them. We firmly believe in providing as much information as possible so your final choice is fully informed and provides the outcome you expect and desire.