Reclaiming quality of life

Implantology is a sub-specialty of dentistry that has to do with the placement of synthetic dental roots in the jawbones. As normal dental training at the university does not allow for any additional specialty training, Dr. Michael Zehm began in 2005 in the course of continued education and since 2008 through an extra-occupational postgraduate program to concentrate on this topic. Alongside his daily work in the practice, these two courses of study spanned more than 3000 hours of training. He has regularly done operations in this specialty area in a dental practice in the Swiss Plateau since February 2011.

What is an implant?

Implants are synthetic dental roots that can be surgically introduced in all areas of the jawbone where teeth are no longer present. Modern dental implants are usually made out of titanium and have a cylindrical form. Individual teeth as well as partial areas (if more than one tooth is missing) can be replaced and even completely toothless jaws can be rebuilt. Implant structures can be used as a basis for firming up individual crowns or bridges, or can stabilize partial or complete prosthetic devices.

How is an implant installed?

A thorough medical and dental examination is carried through before every procedure Dr. Zehm utilizes modern digital volume tomography (DVT) for this purpose. Thanks to this new technology, implant analyses and planning can be carried out with a decidedly higher level of success.

Special focus in the planning stage is made on the surrounding structures (nerves, bone mass, maxillary sinus as well the neighboring teeth). Of very high importance is the condition of the tooth holding apparatus (see „Parodontology“). In case there is not sufficient bone mass available, additional measures are possible: absent bones can be rebuilt with the body’s own bone material or with synthetic bone material.

The surgical procedure is ambulant using local anesthesia. Depending on the diagnosis, the implant must first heal before it can be built upon or „used“. The length of this healing period can, dependent upon the complexity of the procedure, last from a few weeks to many months. One exception is the so called immediate load bearing, which usually takes place in the case of a dental emergency—here the implant is topped in the same sitting with a temporary dental crown.

Implants must be cared for in the same meticulous way that one cares for one’s natural teeth. Dr. Zehm and his team recommend a periodical, professional dental cleaning with the dental hygienists in order to avoid inflammation and infection. It is especially important with dental implants to have a professional dental cleaning at least two times annually.


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