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Cosmetic Dental Implants

Cosmetic dental implants are currently the most popular cosmetic dental procedure, but several factors must be considered.

couple with dental implants

Biomechanical factors

Success of implants over time is largely dependent on the amount of support they are required to support.  The periodontal ligament is responsible for detecting pressure in biting.  Because there are no periodontal ligaments in implants, the wearer tends to exert more pressure when biting and chewing.  To help counteract this additional force, the implants need to be placed so that the force can be evenly distributed across the prosthetics they support.  Failure to even distribute the force can result in the bridgework or implant components breaking or bone loss near the implant. 

In order to determine the ideal placement of the implants, the dentist must consider biological factors such as health, jaw and facial structures as well as mechanical factors.  Thicker stronger bone found in the anterior lower jaw have a greater chance of successfully integrating implants than low density bone found in the posterior upper jaw.  Patients with bruxism (teeth grinding) place excess force on the implants, increasing the chance of failures.

Implants must be designed to hold up to years worth of actual use in the wearer’s mouth.  Regulating agencies and dental implant manufacturers have developed a combination of tests to help evaluate the the long-term durability of implants in day to day use.  The tests involve striking the implant many time using force designed to replicate actual biting until it fails.

When a more precise plan is required than clinical judgment can provide, the dentist will create an acrylic model, known as a stent.  This is done before surgery and helps the dentist diagram the ideal placement of the implants.  Dentists may also choose to obtain a CT scan of the existing oral structures and use the scan to plan the surgery using CAD/CAM software.  Stereolithography can then be used to create a stent from the computerized results of the CT scan.  CT scanning can also help the surgeon locate and avoid damage to the inferior alveolar nerve, the sinus, and other vital structures.. 

Post-surgical recovery includes the process of securing dental crowns to the implant, including positioning of the abutments and prosthetics.

The prosthetic stage begins when the implant has osseointegrated, or at least has reached a point where it is reasonably certain that it will do so, and an abutment is used to bring the implant through the surface of the gums.  In the early loading stage, the practitioner may opt to use temporary teeth until osseointegration is well-established.  The prosthetic stage calls for equal parts technical expertise and surgical precision due to biomechanical factors, especially when several teeth are being restored.  The dentist will strive to restore the vertical measure of contact between upper and lower teeth and architectural strength of the teeth so they can effectively distribute force across the implants, as well as the visual quality of the smile.

 San Diego residents can find a good cosmetic dentist at: http://www.brightondentalsd.com/procedures/cosmetic-dentistry/


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