Dental Implants

Delba J. Pena, DDS, PC | Hempstead, NY

Full Arch Implants

Full arch implants are an option for patients who are missing most or all of their teeth and are seeking to reconstruct their entire mouth for restored function and appearance. Missing teeth can lead to serious dental problems and can significantly inhibit a patient’s ability to eat and speak. Full arch restoration implants are most often placed with dentures or bridges, providing patients with a restored smile.

Benefits of a Full Arch Implant

In addition to the ability to eat and speak normally, full arch implants can reduce the risk of gum disease and other complications associated with missing teeth. Implants can help to prevent bone loss which helps to maintain patient’s facial structure. Patients missing most or all of their teeth may be considered as candidates for full arch reconstruction.

Full Arch Implant Options

Some of the most commonly used restorative materials for full arch implants treatment may include:

Fixed Bridge

Fixed bridges are considered the most advanced treatment, because they look and feel most like natural teeth. Fixed bridges are also the most common type of dental bridges and are either made out of porcelain fused to metal or out of ceramic.

Removable Dentures

Dentures can be removed if needed and are more affordable than bridges. Dentures are often used on patients who lack sufficient bone and tissue to support permanent devices.

Implant placement depends on the type of material chosen. The process may include two or more implants secured into the jawbone or the use of a ball or bar attachment which can be used to support multiple replacement teeth.

Full Arch Implant Procedure

During the full arch restoration procedure, several implants are secured into the jawbone to support the replacement structures. Only a few implants are needed, which reduces the severity and length of the procedure. This procedure may be performed on the upper arch, lower arch, or the entire mouth. The dentist will determine the ideal placement for each individual patient.

Dental implants are placed during a series of appointments over several months. During the first procedure, the titanium anchors or implants are placed into the jaw. Over the next three to six months, the anchors will heal and fuse to the bone, a period known as osseointegration. Small posts are attached to the implant to help provide stability for the replacement tooth. After the anchors heal, the patient is fitted for replacements, which can be installed during the next appointment. Implant surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure under local or general anesthesia.

Depending on each patient’s individual case, the entire full arch restoration process requires multiple office visits and can take up to a year to complete.

Full Arch Implant Results

Most patients find that full arch implants look and feel just like regular teeth. The strong, durable, and aesthetically-pleasing results allow patients to benefit from restored function, long-term oral health, and the confidence of a beautiful smile. Patients are able to eat, drink, and speak normally after treatment. Implants and the associated dentures, crowns, or bridges should be cared for in the same way as regular teeth. Patients should practice good oral hygiene and see their dentist on a regular basis.

Mini Implants

A dental implant is an artificial tooth that is attached to a titanium rod implanted in the jawbone. A mini implant is essentially the rod without the tooth attached. It can serve as a long-term anchor for a crown, bridge or denture, which relies on the support of the mini implant itself, rather than its integration with the jaw bone. A patient who would have needed a bone graft to be a candidate for a traditional implant may be able to receive a mini implant without the graft, and have the same long-term results.

Benefits of Mini Implants

Considered a developing treatment, mini implants have several advantages over traditional implants, which may include:

  • Implantation procedure is much less invasive
  • Less expensive than standard-sized dental implants
  • Provide a good implant option for senior citizens

Many patients use mini implants to replace small teeth and incisors, or teeth in narrow areas of the mouth. Mini implants work best as anchors for lower dentures, and are about half the price of regular implants.

The Mini Implant Procedure

Mini implants are titanium cylinders that act as a tooth root for a crown, bridge or denture. Regular implants require three to six months of osseointegration, the process in which the implant fuses with the bone. However, mini implants can be placed directly into the underlying bone, in one sitting, in a simple procedure that takes less than two hours. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia or light sedation to reduce any discomfort.

Most patients experience immediate results from mini implants and can often eat within a few hours. There are no sutures used during this procedure, and no need for the numerous follow-up appointments required by traditional implants.

Risks and Complications of Mini Implants

Mini implants are considered safer than traditional implants because of the shorter procedure time and the elimination of the osseointegration process. Infection, bleeding, gum damage and other problems are considered rare.

Zirconium Dental Implants

A recent dental restoration technique is the use of zirconium as an implant material. This is a completely metal-free substance which offers patients a number of advantages. Cosmetically, zirconium implants are very attractive because of their white color and natural appearance. While titanium implants have a metal base that gives them an opaque look that is often dark near the gum line, zirconium features a tooth-like translucency on a base colored to match the shade of the teeth.

Zirconium dental implants are made from a type of ceramic that is strong and long lasting. They do not require any metal to be implanted in the jaw bone either, so the entire implant is created from this naturally-occurring hypoallergenic material. This holistic alternative to metal easily integrates with the bone and contains no toxic elements. As an added benefit, less plaque sticks to the surface of zirconium than metal-based implants, so the nearby gums and teeth can remain healthier.

Patients should consult with their dentist to see if zirconium dental implants are available for their dental needs.

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