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Dental Implant Treatment Plan: Glossary

Alveoloplasty

An alveoloplasty is the surgical shaping of the dental alveoli and alveolar processes (smoothening / re-contouring of the jawbone), done especially after the extraction of several teeth or in preparation for dentures

Connective / Soft Tissue Graft

A soft tissue graft covers an area of exposed tooth root surface with either grafted oral tissue or a bio-material. The covering of exposed root surfaces prevents further root exposure, decreases sensitivity, decreases the susceptibility to root caries and improves the aesthetic of the area.

Dental implant

A dental implant is a replacement titanium tooth root made from titanium, fitted to bone level. Once osseointegrated (stable), it forms a secure foundation for the final abutment and final restoration. There are many implant brands with various shapes, thread patterns and coatings.

Diagnostic wax-up

A diagnostic wax-up is the method or process through which practitioners can fully visualise the true restorative needs of their patients. It is one of the most useful aids to an implant dentist.

Abutment

An abutment is the connecting component that is screwed into the implant to which the final restoration is fixed. In the case of bespoke restorations, gold alloy abutments are used, in the case of aesthetic restorations, Zirconia abutments can be used. If the final restoration is an overdenture, special adaptor abutments are used.

Final Restoration

The final Restoration is the completed visible crown / bridgework / overdenture secured to the final abutment.

Guided Bone Regeneration (GBR) Once a tooth root has been missing for a period of time, the bone resorbs, leaving insufficient bone volume for successful implant placement. In such cases, a GBR is carried out to increase the bone volume to anchor an implant.

Temporary abutment / healing cap

A temporary abutment / healing cap is placed when the implant is stabilised and prepares the soft tissue (gum) for the final abutment and restoration. It ensures that fluid is not present at the time of the final restoration. The healing abutment is left in place for a period of 3 weeks after when it is removed and discarded at the time of impressions being taken.

Impressions

Impressions are taken using a special wax like material, providing a cast model of the areas requiring a provisional denture or final restoration. The impressions are sent to the dental lab that creates the final restoration.

Onlay Block Graft / Block Bone Graft

An Onlay Block Graft / Block Bone Graft is used in cases of bone loss, where a graft of bone harvested from the patient is required to restore the region affected.

Osteotome Summers Technique

The sinus cavities are in the molar and premolar regions whose roots are supported by the bone in the floor of the sinus cavities. Once a tooth root has been missing for a period of time, the bone resorbs, leaving insufficient bone volume for successful implant placement. In such cases, an Osteotome Summers Technique is carried out to increase the volume to anchor an implant. A minimum of 10mm of bone in this area is required to ensure long term success of an implant. Typically an Osteotome Summers Technique is performed when there is between 7-10mm of bone, if there is less than 7mm of bone a Sinus Lift Lateral Window Method is performed.

Provisional Denture

The function of a provisional (temporary) denture or bridge is to fill gaps during the healing period of an implant treatment plan.

Provisional Crown or Bridge

A provisional crown or bridge restoration prior to the final restoration may be used for an improved aesthetic outcome, especially for anterior (front teeth) restorations.

Provisional crowns allow one to better visualise the final outcome, thus allowing feedback and any necessary aesthetic adjustments to take place before the final porcelain crown is fitted.

Provisional crowns improve the aesthetic outcome of your final restoration by creating and improving the shape of the soft tissue, gum margins and papillae.

Provisional crowns may sometimes be placed in conjunction with a diagnostic preview and enhanced soft tissue management / contouring / detailing.

Sometimes, this is provided as an option. If a patient chooses to skip this procedure, it would be on the understanding that the aesthetic outcome will have aesthetic limitations (typically teeth appear longer than the adjacent teeth).

Radiographic Stent

A radiographic stent enables an implant dentist to visualise anatomic landmarks and their dimensional relationship to each other in two and three dimensions. CBCT scans and X-Rays taken with a radiographic stent are used in conjunction with an implant transparency overlay to determine the implant diameter and length required. First a vacuum form in the edentulous area of the proposed implant site is produced by the lab from impressions. A CT scan or x-ray is then taken with the stent seated in the patient’s mouth.

Ridge Augmentation / Manipulation / Splitting / Expansion

A technique used to increase the width, height and bone density of the maxillary alveolus (an area of the upper arch) to establish its predictability for successful implant placement.

Sinus Lift Lateral Window Method

The sinus cavities are in the molar and premolar regions whose roots are supported by the bone in the floor of the sinus cavities. Once a tooth root has been missing for a period of time, the bone resorbs, leaving insufficient bone volume for successful implant placement. In such cases, a sinus lift is carried out to increase the volume to anchor an implant. A minimum of 10mm of bone in this area is required to ensure long term success of an implant. Typically a Sinus Lift Lateral Window Method is performed when there is less than 7mm of bone, if there is between 7-10mm of bone an Osteotome Summers Technique is performed.

Socket Preservation

Typically performed at the same time as an extraction, a socket preservation is required i) when there is little bone (specifically the ‘buccal plate’) support, ii) when the buccal plate is defective, iii) for cosmetic reasons, in order to prevent gum shrinkage.

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