- January 13
Edentulism is the condition of being toothless to at least some degree. Over the last 40 years, thanks to osseointegrated implants (titanium or titanium alloy screws which are placed within the jaw bones), it has been possible to recreate “artificial roots” able to support prosthetic restorations capable of restoring lost dentition. The surgical discipline, which places implants, is called Implantology.
The Periodontist, as a gingival and supporting hard tissue specialist, is the dental professional most indicated for the surgical replacement of missing teeth through the use of osseointegrated implants.
ARE IMPLANTS AN OPTION WHEN BONE IS MISSING?
In order to have a good final result using osseointegrated implants it is essential that the patient hassufficient bone volume in the correct position.
Unfortunately in some cases, following tooth loss, the remaining bone is inadequate for a correct implant placement. Fortunately, there are reconstructive surgical techniques to recreate lost bone which today can be employed with very high success rates. New techniques and new biomaterials have notably decreased the invasiveness of these procedures (in most cases it is not longer necessary to harvest bone from sites outside of the oral cavity) while at the same time increasing the probability of a good surgical result.
In the presence of small bony defects the reconstruction procedure may be performed simultaneously with implant placement. For larger bony defects it may be necessary to reconstruct the missing hard tissues in a preemptive surgical procedure, which precedes the actual implant placement.
COMPUTER ASSISTED OSSEOINTEGRATED IMPLANT POSITIONING:
The use of computer software dedicated to the field of Implantology allows for the construction of surgical guides or templates, which allow for extremely precise implant placement during the surgical phase of treatment. The greater precision and reliability provided by this computer guided technique in the positioning of osseointegrated implants, allows for a smaller surgical access (incision), and in some cases the implants are actually placed without any incision also eliminating the need for sutures.
INFECTION OF TISSUES SURROUNDING IMPLANTS:
The Periodontist is the dental professional best capable of handling the hard and soft tissues that surround dental implants, in order to render them in the future less susceptible to bacterial infections which can in a small percentage of cases lead to their failure and eventual loss (mucositis and peri-implantitis).
When a patient does present with gingival infections in tissues surrounding implants already placed in the past, for reasons, which may be analogous to the cause of gingival disease in natural teeth, the therapy indicated is also performed by the same specialist, the Periodontist.