What is a Sinus Elevation?
– (also known as sinus lift, sinus augmentation or sinus graft)
The maxillary sinus cavities are situated in the regions of the upper arch molars and premolars; the bone in the floor of the sinus cavities supports the roots of these teeth. Once molar or premolar teeth are extracted the bone starts to resorb, this process occurs over differing periods of time varying from patient to patient. In some cases the bone resorbs below that required for successful implant placement, an implant requires to be placed completely encased in bone. Prior to implant placement the volume and depth of bone available needs to be increased to successfully anchor dental implants.
There are two types of sinus elevation procedures; window method, generally carried out six months prior to implant placement and osteotome method, generally carried out at the time of implant placement. Bovine derived materials are used in the process of sinus elevation; these materials are treated and perfectly safe for this process. Sinus elevation is an uncomfortable process although generally not painful, some swelling and bruising can occur post-surgery.
What is GBR – Guided Bone Regeneration?
– (also known as bone restoration or bone augmentation)
Once a tooth root has been extracted the bone stimulus by the tooth root ceases and the bone can resorb in the region of the gap, after an undefined period of time this could leave insufficient volume or depth of bone for successful implant placement. In the case of insufficient bone volume or depth GBR needs to be carried out to increase the volume or depth of bone to a sufficient level to successfully anchor an implant. The same bovine derived materials are used as in the case of sinus elevation and GBR is generally carried out at the same time, as implant placement although in severe cases needs to be completed up to six months prior to implant placement. GBR is a moderately uncomfortable process although generally not painful, some swelling and bruising can occur post-surgery.
What is a Block Bone Graft?
In severe cases of bone loss a graft of bone harvested from the patient is required to restore the region affected. In many cases the volume of soft tissue in the region is not sufficient to accept a block bone graft and prior to the graft procedure a procedure known as a soft tissue graft is required harvesting soft tissue from the oral cavity; either the palette area of the inside of the cheek. It is very rare that block bone grafts are required; the procedure is very complex, quite uncomfortable and be quite painful with a healing period of 8 to 12 months.
What is a Dental Implant?
These are the replacement prosthetic teeth roots used to replace extracted natural tooth roots. Fitted at bone level into the jawbone; once fully stable (osseointegrated) they form a secure foundation for the final abutment (support post) and definitive restoration (crown/bridge or overdenture). Implants are generally made from grade 5 titanium as pure titanium is not strong enough for implant production. There are many producers of dental implants in the world, with various thread patterns, conical shapes and coatings but are very similar in general terms. The healing period for implants varies from patient to patient and is determined by bone quality and conditions, generally a minimum of three months up to a maximum of eight months is required before they can be loaded with the final restoration.
What is a Healing Abutment?
This abutment is placed once the implant a sufficiently stabilised. It prepares the soft tissue (gum) for the final abutment and definitive restoration ensuring that there will be no fluid present at the time of final fitting of the final abutment and the bonding of the final crown/bridge. The healing abutment is left in place for a period of four weeks after which it is removed and discarded at the time of impressions being taken.
What are Impressions?
The impressions are taken using a special wax like material; this provides a cast model of the areas requiring the final restorative work. These impressions are then sent to the dental lab, from which they create the final abutments and definitive restorations, crowns, bridgework or overdentures.
What is the Final Abutment?
The abutment is the post that is screwed into the dental implant to which the final definitive restoration (crown, bridge or overdenture) is fixed. If PFM crowns/bridgework is used for the definitive restoration then grade 5 titanium abutments are used. In the case of high aesthetic restoration using pure ceramic crowns/bridgework the abutments are bespoke created from white gold or ceramic. If the final restoration is an overdenture then special adaptor abutments are used.
What is the Definitive restoration (also known as final restoration)
The term definitive restoration describes the completed prosthodontic restoration of the implant and abutment, this would be either the crown, bridgework or an overdenture that is secured to the dental implant abutment, and the definitive restoration is the only visible part of the entire process, basically the prosthetic tooth/teeth replacing the missing natural tooth-teeth.