Tooth Replacement – Dental Implants
Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures. Implants provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances.
Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth (usually titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by an Oral Surgeon or Periodontist – a specialist of the gums.
Dental implants restore function, health and confidence. An estimated 20 million people in North America suffer the physical and emotional effects of missing teeth. State-of-the-Art dental implant technology is making a difference. Dental implants are permanent replacements for missing teeth. They look, function and feel like healthy, natural teeth.
The process of getting implants requires a number of visits and sometimes over a period of several months. Unlike crown and bridge treatment, dental implants do not require the alteration of adjacent natural, healthy teeth. They also prevent bone loss and the movement of natural, healthy teeth. Dental Implants also provide long-term cost benefits. Due to the wide variety of dental implant treatment options and expanding dental insurance coverage, dental implants are a more realistic option than ever before.
Reasons for dental implants:
Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting nearby teeth.
Reduce joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space.
Restore a patient’s confident smile.
Restore chewing, speech, and digestion.
Restore or enhance facial tissues.
Support a bridge or denture, making them more secure and comfortable.
What does getting dental implants involve?
Getting implants requires a number of visits over several months.
X-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself onto the bone for up to six months. Jaw bone cells will permanently attach to the titanium implant (called osteointegration) giving us biological retention. In many cases, implants are stronger than original teeth.
Beware of misleading advertising that implies you can get an implant placed crown secured on top of the implant all in one visit. This is biologically not possible; you cannot speed up the osteointegration process.
When the gum tissue is ready, a special post is attached to the implant. The post is the support for the new porcelain crown. Today’s technologies often include zirconium abutments attached to the implant post, to assure that the new porcelain tooth possesses translucency properties similar to a natural tooth. After impressions are taken a crown is made and shaded to match your existing teeth. The crown is then slipped over the post and cemented. The final prosthetic crown appears as a natural tooth.
You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new implant.
If you are missing several teeth, implant-supported bridges can replace them. Dental implants will replace both your lost natural teeth and some of the roots. Dental implants provide several advantages over other teeth replacement options. In addition to looking and functioning like natural teeth, implant-supported bridges replace teeth without support from adjacent natural teeth. Other common treatments for the loss of several teeth, such as fixed bridges or removable partial dentures, are dependent on support from adjacent teeth.
Commonly if 3 teeth are missing, two implants act as the anchors (abutments) to support a bridge (segment of replacement teeth). The placement of implants and impression sequence are similar to the above example of a single tooth implant. The bridge once fabricated is cemented to the abutments so the prosthesis is secure and does not come out. Special care is taken in construction of the bridge to mimic natural adjacent teeth to restore esthetics and function.
In the long term, implants are esthetic, functional and comfortable. Gums and bone can recede around a fixed bridge or removable partial denture, leaving a visible defect. Resorbed bone beneath bridges or removable partial dentures can lead to a collapsed, unattractive smile. The cement holding bridges in place can wash out, allowing bacteria to decay teeth that anchor the bridge. In addition, removable partial dentures can move around in the mouth and reduce your ability to eat certain foods.