Replace Missing Teeth with Dental Implants
In the event that a patient at our Albuquerque, NM, practice is dealing with a missing tooth, a dental implant is an option that we can utilize instead of a dental bridge, depending on the situation. A dental implant is a surgical grade titanium post placed in the jawbone, designed to replace a single tooth or multiple missing teeth. Dental implants may be restored with a single crown and abutment, a fixed partial denture, or an implant retained full denture.
 Natural tooth
 Dental implant
 Tooth crown
Unlike a bridge, an implant does not cause any damage to the surrounding teeth and is a reliable and efficient way of preserving the natural anatomy of the mouth and jaw. Because it functions as an artificial tooth root, dental implants can also help patients with loose fitting dentures due to the damaged structure of their jaw and mouth.
When properly maintained, dental implants are shown to last for a lifetime and are one of the most successful methods of helping clients deal with missing teeth.
Missing teeth- It’s never exciting to have a tooth pulled! It can also be very difficult and unhealthy to live life with missing teeth. In the unfortunate event you suffer from tooth loss, we have several options to help replace the function and esthetics of your missing teeth.
If you only need one tooth replaced, a dental implant is a great way to restore both the root and crown of the tooth that has been lost. When the root and the crown are both replaced, it helps preserve bone and protect the adjacent teeth long-term. This treatment option feels most like a natural tooth and is often the most esthetic option for a single tooth replacement.
Single Implant (Posterior - Healing Cap)
When a dental implant is not an option, usually due to insufficient bone, esthetic risk factors, or patient preference, an alternative option is a fixed partial denture, also known as a bridge. This treatment utilizes sound adjacent teeth to fix a crown in place of the missing tooth. This requires the adjacent teeth to be drilled on and prepared to support the final restoration that will support the fixed crown.
Bridge Versus an Implant
When a patient suffers from multiple teeth being lost, multiple dental implants can be utilized for the support and function of these areas.
A complete denture is when one or both jaws are missing all teeth. A traditional denture relies on bone and soft tissue to hold and support the denture in place during function, such as eating and talking. It is made from either acrylic, metal, or both, and it replaces the gum tissue, as well as crowns. It needs to be removed and rinsed after eating and at night, while sleeping. A patient may notice a change in fit of their denture if they lose or gain weight, suffer from dry mouth, or, most commonly, continue to lose bone in their jaw.
A bad fitting or loose denture can immediately become difficult to wear and often impacts the quality of life for the patient. Multiple dental Implants can be utilized to help hold a loose denture in place. This treatment improves speaking, eating, and confidence for the patient.
If a patient is missing more than one tooth, but not all teeth, a removable partial or dental implant fixed partial denture are available options.
A removable partial denture, like a complete denture, uses soft tissue, bone, and remaining teeth to help support the partial while it is in function. Dental implants can also be used to better support a removable partial if a patient should have limited or unstable remaining teeth.
A dental implant retained fixed partial denture is also known as an implant bridge. It works best when patients need two or more teeth replaced but do not have adjacent teeth to fix a crown to. This option can replace teeth, as well as soft tissue, if esthetically necessary.
Implant-Supported Bridge (Anterior-Impression)
An Immediate dental implant is a when a dental implant is placed immediately after the tooth is extracted. This treatment is selected when the site has ample bone and soft tissue. Common sites for this treatment are usually front teeth. Immediate placement of dental implants can also be utilized when a patient is losing their remaining teeth and a dental implant retained denture is the selected treatment.
When immediate placement of a dental implant is not indicated, the socket is often preserved with a bone graft and the dental implant is then placed three to four months after. Preserving the socket with a bone graft allows the socket to heal with little change in dimension, which allows the most optimal placement of the dental implant.
Once a dental implant has healed within the bone, which is usually three to four months after placement, it is ready for the abutment and crown.
The placement of a dental implant is based on the tooth or teeth it will be replacing. We use 3D x-rays to assist in the diagnostic planning for dental implants. This type of imaging shows all dimensions of available bone, as well as an accurate location of important anatomical features, such as nerves and sinuses. Use of this technology yields a predictable and safe outcome for our patients.