Despite improvements in dental care, millions of Americans suffer teeth loss - mostly due to truth decay, gingivitis (gum disease) or injury For many years, the only treatment options available for people with missing teeth were bridges and dentures. But, today dental implants are available.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. Less painful and better than tooth extraction, these implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth
What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
There are many advantages to dental implants, including:
Improved appearance. Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.
Improved speech. With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that your teeth might slip.
Improved comfort. Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
Easier eating . Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
Improved self-esteem. Dental implants can give you back your smile, and help you feel better about yourself.
Improved oral health . Dental implants don't require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.
Durability. Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
Convenience. Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing your dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep your dentures in place.
How Successful Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants have a success rate of up to 97%. With proper care implants can last a lifetime.
Can Anyone Get Dental Implants?
In most cases, anyone healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for an implant procedure. Patients should have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. They also must be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. Heavy smokers, people suffering from uncontrolled chronic disorders - such as diabetes or heart disease - or patients who have had radiation therapy to the head/neck area need to be evaluated on an individual basis. If you are considering implants, come in for a consultation.
The first step in the process is the development of an individualized treatment plan. The plan addresses your specific needs and is prepared by a team of professionals who are specially trained and experienced in oral surgery and restorative dentistry. This team approach provides coordinated care based on the implant option that is best for you.
Next, the root implant, which is a small post made of titanium, is placed into the bone socket of the missing tooth. As the jawbone heals, it grows around the implanted metal post, anchoring it securely in the jaw. The healing process can take from 6 to 12 weeks.
Once the implant has bonded to the jawbone, a small connector post - called an abutment - is attached to the post to securely hold the new teeth. To make your new tooth or teeth, your dentist makes impressions of your teeth, and creates a model of your bite (which captures all of your teeth, their type, and arrangement). Your new teeth are based on this model. A replacement tooth called a crown, is then attached to the abutment.
Instead of one or more individual crowns, some patients may have attachments placed on the implant that retain and support a removable denture.
Your dentist also will match the color of your new teeth to your natural teeth. Because the implant is secured within the jawbone, the replacement teeth look, feel, and function just like your own natural teeth.
How Painful Are Dental Implants?
Most people who have received dental implants say that there is very little discomfort involved in the procedure. Local anesthesia can be used during the procedure, and most patients report that implants involve less pain than a tooth extraction.
After the dental implant, mild soreness can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications, such as Tylenol or Advil.
How Do I Care for My Implant?
Dental implants require the same care as real teeth, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups.
What are dental implants and what can they do for me?
A dental implant consists of artificial teeth roots placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place. While high-tech in nature, dental implants are actually more tooth-saving than traditional bridgework, since implants do not rely on neighboring teeth for support. Dental implants are so natural-looking and feeling, you may forget you ever lost a tooth.
What are the advantages of dental implants over dentures or bridges?
Every way you look at it, dental implants are a better solution to the problem of missing teeth.
Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. Since dental implant integrate into the structure of your bone, they prevent the bone loss and gum recession that often accompany bridgework and dentures No one will ever know that you have a replacement tooth.
Dental implants don't sacrifice the quality of your adjacent teeth like a bridge does because neighboring teeth are not altered to support the implant. More of your own teeth are left untouched, a significant long- term benefit to your oral health?
Dental implants will allow you to once again speak and eat with comfort and confidence. They are secure and offer freedom from the irksome clicks and wobbles of dentures. They'll allow you to say good- bye to worries about misplaced dentures and messy glues.
The success rate of dental implants is highly predictable. They are considered an excellent option for replacement.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
The ideal candidate for a dental implant is in good general and oral health. Adequate bone in your jaw is needed to support the implant, and the best candidates have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease. Dental implants are intimately connected with the gum tissues and underlying bone in the mouth.
What is treatment like?
This procedure is a team effort between you, your dentist and your implantologist. Your Implantologist will consult with you to determine where and how your implant should be placed. Depending on your specific condition and the type of implant chosen, your implantologist will create a treatment plan tailored to meet your needs.
First, the implant, which looks like a screw or cylinder, is placed into your jaw. Over the next two to six months, the implant and the bone are allowed to bond together to form an anchor for your artificial tooth.
During this time, a temporary tooth replacement option can be worn over the implant site.
Often, a second step of the procedure is necessary to uncover the implant and attach an extension. This small metal post, called an abutment, completes the foundation on which your new tooth will be placed. Your gums will be allowed to heal for a couple of weeks following this procedure.
There are some implant systems (one-stage) that do not require this second step. Your implantologist will advise you on which system is best for you.
Finally, a replacement tooth called a crown will be created for you by your dentist and attached to the abutment. After a short time, you will experience restored confidence in your smile and your ability to chew and speak.
What can I expect after treatment?
As you know, your own teeth require conscientious at-home oral care and regular dental visits. Dental implants are like your own teeth and will require the same care. In order to keep your implant clean and plaque-fee, brushing and flossing still apply!
After treatment, your implantologist will work closely with you and your dentist to develop the best care plan for you. Periodic follow-up visits will be scheduled to monitor your implant, teeth and gums to make sure they are healthy.