Natural tooth structure in bone and gum left, artificial replacement implant in bone and gum right.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are basically artificial roots made of biocompatible titanium upon which a crown is placed to regain a missing tooth or teeth in form, function, and esthetics.
Is there anything else that I need to know about before getting an implant?
On the top jaw, or maxilla, there are limitations and anatomical landmarks that have to be considered. These include your sinuses, the floor of your nose, and the condition and density of the bone and gum in the region that the implant is to be placed. On the lower jaw, or mandible, the primary considerations are the location and distance of several nerves and blood vessels that exist in the area where the implant will potentially be placed. Dr. Nick Yiannios typically uses 3-D imaging to objectively ascertain if any of these complications exists prior to undertaking implant placement, so that measures can be taken to circumvent any potential complications (see sample video demonstrating screening via 3-D imaging at the bottom of this page).
Are there different kinds of dental implants?
Yes. There are a plethora of different shapes, sizes, and brands available. Dr. Nick Yiannios has worked with many different types of implants in the past 20 years and will be able to decide which type is best for your situation.
What is the success rate for dental implants?
Well above 90% across the board. Many factors dictate the potential success or failure for the dental implant, including oral hygiene habits, general health, social habits such as smoking (decreases prognosis), as well as the initial quality, quantity and thickness of bone and gum tissue at the time of surgery.
Can Dr. Nick Yiannios do my dental implant?
In most cases, yes. On occasion, referral to either a periodontist or oral surgeon is indicated for complex cases.
Can Dr. Nick Yiannios do the crown that sits on top of the implant?
Of course he can. He usually does them the same day you come in with his CAD/CAM technology, creating the permanent crown in one visit with beautiful and strong porcelain.
A diagrammatic representation of the bone loss that may occur after natural tooth extraction. Note placement of bone grafting material, which over time, allowed for adequate thickness of bone growth to allow subsequent placement of a dental implant.
What is bone grafting?
When a tooth is extracted and we plan on placing an implant, it is prudent to augment the thickness of bone by doing a bone graft. Basically, we place sterile bone in the hole where the roots used to be to encourage that the bone will grow in place of the root, rather than allowing the extraction site to heal naturally, with a concurrent loss of bone height and thickness. A bone grafting procedure helps to ensure that there will be plenty of bone to allow subsequent implant placement several months later. The implant should be placed within a year’s time or so, otherwise the grafted and augmented extraction extracted site will melt away over time, eliminating the advantage of ample bone thickness that was once there after the graft. Grafting ideally is accomplished the day the tooth is removed.
Here is a diagrammatic example of deficient thickness of bone from an extraction site years ago (far left) making implant placement impossible without bone grafting. A bone grafting procedure was implemented to increase thickness (middle), which allowed for subsequent implant and crown placement (far right).
What is the goal of dental implant therapy?
To give you your tooth back of course! The loss of a tooth or teeth is not to be taken lightly. The remaining teeth may take excessive loads, tip, and/or fracture over time, leading to a domino effect of more trouble than most would care to deal with. The end result is highly dependent upon precise positioning of the titanium implant relative to where the porcelain crown will need to be. The most precise way to manage this is via 3-D guided implant placement following the design of a properly shaped crown in the missing space via CAD/CAM virtual placement, BEFORE the implant surgery:
See the following video that Dr. Nick Yiannios compiled illustrating one of his guided dental implant cases to replace a lower right first molar tooth: