If you ever come across dental implants Leicester, you are probably aware that they come in two sections. The first is the titanium metal component that interacts with the jawbone and the second is the prosthetic component attached above it, which acts as the anchor for a denture or a single prosthetic tooth not dissimilar to a crown. An easily overlooked component that holds these two together is the connector, and its introduction radically changed the effectiveness and convenience of implanting as a procedure. This article looks more into how the connector was a game-changer.
Oral implants before connectors were a single unit; a rod of titanium with a composite polymer that had a synthetic tooth on one end and tapering with ridges on the other. They were, in essence, a single piece of metal that was much stronger than modern implants but with several serious drawbacks.
During the implantation procedure, the gum would be opened and either a vacant socket might be used or a hole would be drilled into the jawbone, into which the implant would be placed. As a single piece, the implant would immediately be exposed to the forces and stresses of talking and eating. Patients had to take great care not to disrupt their implant or put it under too much stress whilst it fully ossifies into place. Not only did this take longer, but there was a high risk of the implant being dislodged and ending up fixed in a misaligned or crooked orientation.
Connectors allowed the two pieces of the implant to be fixed together within the patient’s mouth, breaking up the treatment into an osseointegration recovery phase followed by loading.
During the osseointegration, the implant would be covered with gum tissue and therefore be shielded from being dislodged or disturbed whilst the new bone tissue could grow close to the metal and fix it in place. Only when confirmed by x-ray or other assessment would the implant be ‘loaded’ with the gum reopened and its prosthetic fitted via the connector. With a semi-permanent locking mechanism fixing it in place, it could be unlocked by a dentist if needed in order to remove the prosthetic in some future procedure.
Modern connector variations
Modern connectors have started to explore the idea of having joints, allowing the implant to not be perpendicular to the prosthetic tooth above it. By making the orientation of the implant independent of the orientation of the tooth that it is supporting, dentists have far more choice of where they place an implant for a particular tooth. This allows them to select the areas of your bone with the highest bone density and the greatest chance of success for the integrating.
These newer forms of connectors made patients who were traditionally excluded from oral implants (or would have required bone grafting before engaging in implantation) to be treated.
Such systems are now more widespread, so if you were previously rejected from receiving oral implants based on inappropriate jaw bone density, you should explore providers who use variable connectors in their practice.