By Will Sansom
|Ilser Turkyilmaz, D.D.S., Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry, directs the Dental School’s new Implant Clinic.
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The Dental School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio recently opened The Implant Clinic, a new patient care center. The clinic is under the direction of Ilser Turkyilmaz, D.D.S., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry.
The Implant Clinic offers state-of-the-art affordable dental and implant therapies with an emphasis on the expeditious completion of patient care. For more information or an appointment for an evaluation, please call 210-567-5433.
The new clinic augments dental implant services in the Dental School and provides additional dental services such as dentures and crowns. The Implant Clinic also will be an important training facility for post-graduate residents and fellows, Dr. Turkyilmaz said.
Dr. Turkyilmaz answered the following basic questions about dental implants:Q. What is a dental implant?A.
A dental implant is a small titanium screw that serves as a prosthetic replacement for a missing tooth. Natural teeth consist of the crown and the root. The crown is the visible section that is covered with white enamel. Supporting the crown is the tooth root, which extends into the jawbone. The root is the part of the tooth that is effectively replaced by an implant.
Implants consist of three parts. The implant device is inserted directly into the bone and a piece called an abutment connects the device to an overlying crown or denture.
Today's implants are predominantly made of titanium, a metal that is biocompatible and offers strength and durability.Q. How do implants stay in place?
Titanium has a unique property of fusing directly to bone — a process known as osseointegration.
In this process, bone cells attach themselves directly to the titanium surface, essentially locking the implant into the jawbone. This capability was discovered by a Swedish researcher, Per-Ingvar Branemark, in the 1960s. Placing dental implants into the jawbones by controlled surgical procedures allow them to “osseointegrate.”
Osseointegrated implants can then be used to support prosthetic tooth replacements of various designs and functionality, replacing anything from a single missing tooth to a full arch (all teeth in the upper and lower jaw). These replacement teeth are usually made to match the natural enamel color of each patient. This offers a completely natural appearance and a whole new smile. Q. Who needs dental implants?
“Many people have less than the full complement of teeth,” Dr. Turkyilmaz said. “Whether they were lost through an accident, disease or decay, dental implants are an excellent tooth replacement option for nearly everyone.”
Dental implants can be used when:
- A single tooth is missing — instead of a bridge
- Several teeth are missing — instead of bridges or partial dentures
- All teeth are missing — instead of dentures
“With dental implants you can eat most foods you want, depending on the type of implant restoration, because these new teeth are strong and stable,” Dr. Turkyilmaz said. “They look and feel like your own natural teeth and give you back your smile, as well.”
Approximately 2 million implants were placed and restored in the U.S. in 2010, Dr Turkyilmaz said. The success rate of dental implants is greater than 90 percent.