MUSCLES: ' Can an implant do more than replace one tooth? '
Dr Skerpan: Yes. To get the general "gist" of implants, please see the fun office VIDEO @ 'DR SKERPAN & SERVICES' within this website! Also there are a couple of pictures at the bottom of this blog.
--Back to the answer. Think of an implant as replacing the root, &/or as a support-in-the-bone for something above the bone. So theoretically, an implant can serve to: 1. replace one tooth--building a single-tooth with a single-implant 2. replace several teeth--building a fixed-bridge with a couple of implants OR 3. replace many teeth--building a "snap"-removable ora "fixed"denture with multiple implants placed in both sides of the jaw (upper or lower).
MUSCLES: ' "Oh, puppies!"....Hopefully, that will be explained much better sometime. For now, do implants do more than replace teeth? '
Dr Skerpan: Again yes, and yes. Hopefully, in the future we can "dig" deeper regarding the different ways implants are used to build teeth back. But for now, just understand that implants replace the roots (i.e., they add a support-structure in-the-bone for something to be built above-the-bone)! Importantly, they also "trick" the bone to think something is there again. With "something" there, hopefully the bone is stimulated with less chance to resorb.
MUSCLES: ' "Resorb"? '
Dr Skerpan: Basically, when the teeth are removed, the bone sees no reason to be there anymore--and it "eats" away.
MUSCLES: ' "Eats"?! Oh, I think I see. My teeth (& implants) need to be held by bone. If there is nothing to give my bone "purpose", my bone "eats" itself away. So---my teeth need my bone, and my bone needs my teeth. '
Dr Skerpan: Essentially right. And implants are the best bet to date for "simulating" root-structure in the bone. Bottom-line: Implants keep the bone around so the bone can support them. Only with the bone's rock-solid-support, can implants ever support the load which must be put upon them.
This lab-model serves to simulate how an IMPLANT would appear after placement in the bone. The implant must be surrounded & supported by STRONG bone BEFORE it can take the load of the remaining tooth-structure on top.
The right of this X-Ray shows a lower-implant newly placed in the bone. The "healing-cap" on the top-of-the-implant is for PROTECTION, while the bone HEALS around the implant for 6-8 weeks. NOW the bone will have a reason to "stay" around---and the REMAINING tooth can be finished after healing.
Doggy Tidbit of the Day: ' Teeth need bone--and the bone needs teeth. If I want to keep "eating" away, I can't let my bone go "eating" itself away. '