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What are Dental Implants

Posted Dec 24 2008 3:12pm


of Implants


Does not involve other teeth


Very high success rate        


Stabilizes dentures


Dental implants have been around a long time; however only in the last decade have they become popular. The reason for this is that titanium has proven itself as a metal which is incredibly biocompatible, meaning that the body doesn’t reject it when implanted into bone. This metal has now been useful for many medical situations. In the case of dental implants, titanium fixtures are placed surgically into the jaw bone and left to integrate with the bone for several months. After full integration the upper portion of the implant fixtures are exposed and porcelain teeth or dentures are attached with screws and other metal components.


Patients with  loose lower dentures  are great candidates (for dental implants) since as little as two implant fixtures can hold the denture so that it no longer “floats” around causing soreness and difficulty with mastication
Implants can be used for replacing a simple tooth or a complete dentition. Patients with loose lower dentures are great candidates since as little as two implant fixtures can hold the denture so that it no longer “floats” around causing soreness and difficulty with mastication. The patient has the choice of having a removable denture or an un-removable screw retained denture. Since denture retention problems are more common with the lower jaw, dental implants are most commonly used in the mandible. Furthermore the lower jaw has a denser bone composition, thereby making it a more attractive and successful option. Success rates are as high as 95%-98%. The most attractive advantage of using implants for a single tooth is that the two adjacent teeth do not need to be involved. For example when replacing a single missing tooth with a bridge, the two adjacent teeth need to be reduced in size (filed) to accommodate the bridge. There are numerous examples where implants can be used and I encourage you to discuss it with your dentist. Just remember that dental implants enable you to have teeth that are literally screwed into your jaw. Think of it as having bionic teeth. 
This is not an option if you are a  smoker  or if certain  medical conditions  contraindicate this treatment modality. Also, sufficient bone to place the implant must be present, though in many instances, bone augmentation (grafting) can be performed to facilitate implanting, even in insufficient areas.

Please call our office if you wish to further discuss implant dentistry and it’s possible application to your dental need. 


Dental Implants-Additional Facts (Continued) 
 A natural tooth can be seen as existing of  two parts. A  root  (below the gum) and a  crown  (above the gum). Implants are substitutes for natural teeth, replacing the root of a natural tooth. They are today’s best alternative to your natural teeth. They offer you a  permanent and/or secure  solution for replacing one or more teeth.

They are made of  biocompatible materials, similar to that found in hip replacements and other orthopedic devices. The bone grows onto the implant and holds the implant in place, which can then be used to function as an anchor or support for traditional forms of dentistry, such as crowns, bridges or dentures.

Implants, as we know them today, have been in existence for at least twenty-five years. For the last ten years, however, success rates are consistently over 95% with proper personal and professional care.

Initially, you might feel dental implants are expensive. However, they represent a  more long-term  and  natural solution  than cheaper treatment alternatives, restoring your bite, your smile and your confidence. Hence, there is a greater initial investment, but they should last for years, particularly if you have an “ideal” case and  follow the advice you are given by the dentist and hygienist.

The cost of each implant case is different. Cost is a function of your particular needs. After a complete examination, your dentist will more specifically determine your dental needs and the best treatment alternative(s) for you. At that point, you can specifically address the question of cost and discuss the various financial arrangements that are available to you.


How are Dental Implants Placed

Prior to the placement of the dental implants, an extensive examination is carried out. The patients’ oral and general health are assessed, along with the quality and quantity of the bone. Once the evaluation has been completed, a full written treatment plan can be given.

The treatment is then carried out and is in  two phases.

Phase 1:  Using very accurate surgical techniques, an incision is made in the gum tissues and implants placed into the jawbone. The gum tissues are then closed and the  healing phase  begins. This may take anywhere from  2-6 months  to ensure a strong base. It is really a simple procedure.

Phase 2:  Creating and fixing the new tooth or teeth to the implant structure constitutes the  second and final phase. Implants can replace a single tooth, several teeth or all the teeth.

Usually, discomfort is not a problem. In fact, many have said that having a tooth removed was more painful!  For the placement of an implant(s), local anesthetic is often adequate and prevents any discomfort.

Recent advances by implant manufacturers are reducing the time for initial implant procedures. Treatment for the simple cases could take anywhere from 4-8 months, based on where the implants are placed and the type of restoration you desire. Do not compromise because your implants and the new teeth that they support should last for years
The Benefits of Dental Implants  
 Many patients will tell you that implants have changed not only their  smiles, their  overall appearance  but also even their  lives. Some of the benefits of dental implants are:

? Esthetically, they  look like real teeth, helping you to  “Smile with Confidence”.

? Functionally, dental implants  feel and act like real teeth.

? With implants, you can eat and chew again without pain or irritation.  Foods that were forbidden are now back in the diet.

? Implants can actually improve the taste of food. With less plastic covering the roof of your mouth, you can enjoy natural flavors and sensations again.

? Eat whatever you like! Implants improve your health with the  ability to chew a wider variety of foods.

? Express yourself clearly or simply be understood. Implants  increase the retention and stability  of your teeth.

? Implants eliminate the need for distasteful adhesives. There is no longer a need to use “glue” when the denture is anchored to implants.

? Lastly, implants can  help maintain your bone structure  and support the facial tissues. They can reduce or eliminate bone atrophy, which causes “shrinkage” or facial cosmetic changes.

  Who is Suitable for Dental Implants

Implant patients can be in their late teens or be mature adults in their seventies and eighties. They can have one missing tooth, several missing teeth or be missing all of their teeth. There are, however, certain conditions that have to be met.

? The patients have to be in  good health, and should  not be smokers.

? There has to be an  adequate amount of bone  present.

? The bone has to be of  adequate quality.

? If natural teeth are present, the  gums  around these teeth have to be  healthy.

? Patient motivation is essential.  Meticulous maintenance of oral hygiene is necessary  to keep the implants healthy and effective.
Treatment Options Available  
 Dental implants can be used in a variety of ways to restore the dentition. These are as follows:

? To replace a single missing tooth - a crown is attached to the implant.

? To replace more than one tooth - a bridge or a series of crowns is attached to the implants.

? To replace all of the teeth with a removable option - a denture is attached to a metal component which is attached to the implants.

? To replace all of the teeth with a non-removable option - a bridge is attached to the implants.


Maintenance of Dental Implants

Good oral hygiene is very important in the maintenance of dental implants. It is important to carry out  good home care  and to attend for  regular professional cleaning visits  by the dental hygienist.

To help you care for your dental implants, our dental hygienist will show you how to clean around them using a variety of aids. She will also recommend a program of dental hygiene visits, designed to suit your individual needs, for optimal dental health of your new teeth.
New Developments in Implantology  
 If sufficient initial stability can be achieved at the time of insertion of the implant, it is sometimes possible to place a temporary restoration at the time of surgery, or very shortly afterwards.

Another new development is the provisions of  ”Same Day Teeth”.  This is a procedure that provides patients who have no teeth in the lower jaw with implants and a denture on the day of the operation. There are however a  lot of preparatory stages required  and so the treatment actually takes longer than just one day.

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