Implants are titanium screws inserted into the bone to act as a tooth root. Implants can be used to replace individual teeth or a whole set. This eliminates the need for bridges or removable dentures. Implants can also be used to make full dentures more stable.
In rare cases, an implant can be put in straight after extraction, if the jawbone is dense, wide and deep enough. If, however, there is a serious defect in the jawbone or severe inflammation, the implant can only be put in after a healing period of several weeks.
If there is insufficient bone supply, bone must be reconstructed either during or prior to implantation. In the latter case, implants cannot be put in until four months have elapsed. The maxillary sinus often sits very low in the posterior region, meaning the bone does not have enough vertical height to accommodate an implant, as the implant would project into the maxillary sinus. This can be remedied by performing what is known as a sinus lift (raising the floor of the maxillary sinus). This procedure involves carefully raising the Schneiderian membrane, which lines the maxillary sinus, and laying down bone-graft material (Bio-Oss) as a base. Implants can be put in place after eight months.
This procedure was devised by the company Nobel Biocare and allows implants to be put in place with little tissue damage and no swelling or pain. Using computer tomography, the drilling template and prosthetic elements are produced in a computer-assisted process, meaning teeth can be implanted in under an hour.
In rare cases, an implant can be loaded immediately. However, most implants require a healing time of 6–12 weeks before
they can be loaded.
6–8 weeks: ITI SLActiv Straumann
12 weeks: Nobel Biocare