February 4, 2019
When should my child see a dentist?
Welcome to issue twelve of YOUR DENTAL CARE News.
In our eleventh issue we discussed about Cosmetic dentistry…. If you missed this issue please visit our website http://www.procarefamilydental.com.au/news.
In this issue we will explore the world of implant dentistry. The topic is split into 2 parts. The first will address what is implant dentistry and how it can help those who need it. The final article will explore how implant prostheses should be maintained for life.
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The dental implant was first developed by Professor Per-Ingvar Branemark in the 1970’s. Professor Branemark was a physician and researcher in the field of orthopaedic medicine. Capitalising on the phenomenon of osseointegration, a process involving the fusion of foreign material to living bone, the first dental implant fixture was developed. Osseointegration is also used in orthopaedic medicine to replace hips and knees with titanium based componentary.
The use of dental implant fixtures gives the person back their smile or the ability to chew foods again with confidence after they have lost a tooth or several teeth.
Dental implant fixtures are titanium alloy ‘screws’ which are surgically inserted into the jaws to replace a single missing tooth or several missing teeth. The screw acts as a base upon which the single tooth or multiple teeth prosthesis is secured.
Figure 1. This shows the different components of a single tooth implant. The implant fixture is on the bottom, followed by the abutment and finally the crown at the top.
Replacing missing teeth with dental implant fixtures requires a minor surgical procedure, mostly carried out under local anaesthesia. The implant fixture is placed into the jaw bone, sometimes immediately after the tooth is removed, but in most cases the bone is allowed to heal first.
Following the insertion of the implant fixture the prosthesis will not be attached to the implant for a period of 6-8 weeks. However in some cases the prosthesis, either single or multiple teeth, can be fitted immediately. Each case will be managed on an individual basis.
Figure 2. Courtesy of gallery hip.This figure shows the sequence involved in replacing a single missing tooth.
Having established the integration of the implant fixture to bone, meaning the fixture has fused to the surrounding bone, the fixture is now ready to receive the overlying prosthesis. The dental laboratory uses the impression taken in the surgery to fashion the tooth or teeth to accurately seat on the implant fixture in the jaw. A small screw is used to secure the prosthesis to the fixture.
These fixtures are also used to secure full dentures from moving during chewing. The denture is either fixed in place by screws and therefore not removed, or they are removed like conventional dentures. The removable denture is secured using clips. The greatest benefit in doing this is the denture, especially the lower denture, does not move around whilst chewing or talking. This improves the overall comfort for the denture wearer.
Look out for the second article on maintenance of implant prostheses.
Keep on smiling!
Dr Roland Chong