Dental implants today come from a variety of manufacturers, most having their own unique designs and instrumentation for placing them. Implants are generally titanium, screw-shaped tooth-root replacements, onto which a final restoration (crown, bridge, removable partial denture of full denture) is attached. Many studies have been done on dental implants and much research continues to be done. What science has shown is that implants have high reported success rates (in the low to high 90% range), with most studies showing slightly higher success with lower implants than with upper implants.
Historically, implants were placed in the jaw and left to heal for many months before a second procedure was done to uncover the implants and to begin the restorative procedures. Implant manufacturers have made tremendous strides in shortening the healing times for their implants to a point now where implants generally fuse to the bone in approximately 6-8 weeks. Many clinicians now even advocate placing the implants on the day the teeth are removed. Although there are some advantages to doing this and statistically, success rates are comparable, studies show a significantly higher rate of complications when this is done. These complications can be minor, but they can also be major and can result in a compromised result or even in the need to remove the implant and start over. So although immediately placing implants can shorten treatment time by a few months, complications can result in extending the treatment time beyond what it would have been with a bit more conservative approach.
A major advantage of an implant is that because the implant and restoration is metal, decay will not be an issue in the future. Implants are susceptible to gum disease, however, and proper oral hygiene must be maintained around them to prevent disease. Infected implants can be very difficult to treat successfully so prevention of disease is the key to long-term success.
There are now many implant manufacturers in the marketplace, but some studies and practical experience has shown that not all are the same. We place implants from reputable manufacturers who have been in business for many, many years and have a track record of providing high-quality and well-designed products. As a result, we have had almost no problems relating to the implants themselves.
In order to restore missing teeth with implants, the implants have to be placed in the proper position. This position is determined by the adjacent teeth and more importantly, by the teeth in the opposing jaw. Careful and thorough examination, diagnosis and treatment planning is necessary to provide a healthy, aesthetic and well functioning implant- supported crown or prosthesis. We believe that the examination, diagnosis and treatment planning, is the most important aspect of implant therapy. Cutting corners here to save time or costs can result in years or decades of implant-related problems in the future!