Success with implants is predictable. I know you may be looking at the x-ray and thinking ‘What is that?’. You may not be familiar with implants. So let me take a few moments to explain.
About thirty five years ago a researcher in Sweden, Dr. Ingmar Branemark, discovered that when he used a titanium cylinder in his research subjects (dogs) bone would grow around the titanium. He was studying blood circulation at the time. He made the genius leap from research to use titanium for dental implants. Dr. Branemark, not only introduced the used of titanium implants, he also introduced revolutionary techniques for surgical placement of implants. Innovation in implant therapy is non-stop and today’s implants are much improved over Dr. Branemark’s first implants.
First, why choose an implant? In the past when some one was missing a space we would prepare the adjacent teeth for crowns, take an impression and make a bridge. This works well for when people are missing as single tooth. But it always bothered dentists and patients alike that we may be drilling on a healthy tooth or two to replace the missing tooth. When I was in dental school I had this procedure done but today instead of a bridge we would use a single implant.
I extracted the first molar for Mrs. M because it was not restorable. I allowed three months healing time for bone to grow in the extraction socket. I then placed the implant. This particular implant is a BioHorizons implant. We waited 3 months to allow the bone to grow around the implant. The implant was uncovered and we made a crown to fit on the implant.
Studies show better long term success with a single implant being used to replace a tooth than a three tooth (unit) bridge. It doesn’t mean you have to use an implant to replace a single tooth. There are many factors involved. When deciding what type of treatment you should discuss implant and bridges.