What are dental implants?
Dental implants are titanium alloy root replacement cylinders that aid in the restoration of missing teeth. They can successfully be used to replace single, multiple, or all missing teeth.
When properly planned, implant tooth prosthetics can provide a highly esthetic and functional replacement of lost teeth.
Dental implants can improve your appearance, speech and chewing ability. Implants can be used to secure permanent or removable dental bridges and dentures. Because implants are permanent, you don’t have to use adhesives like those that hold dentures in place. And, unlike dental bridges that require a provider to remove parts of nearby teeth, all of your healthy teeth stay intact. Dental implants do not get cavities.
Dental implants will greatly restore the a quality of your life, similar to having natural teeth. They can help rebuild the dignity and self esteem you may have lost as a result of missing teeth. Dental implants can eliminate the need for removable dental prostheses or dentures.
Learn more about dental implants
Who is a candidate for dental implants?
Anyone who is missing one, multiple, or all their teeth may benefit from dental implant therapy. Ask your dentist regarding the possibility of dental implants in your treatment options.
What is the basic process for dental implant therapy?
Dental implant treatment follows a basic process. There is a planning phase, a surgical phase, and a restorative phase. The planning phase includes a thorough examination, proper planning of the proposed tooth/teeth replacement, and surgical preparation. The surgical phase includes any necessary bone augmentation procedures and the placement of the titanium root replacement into the correct position of the jaw bone. This is accompanied by a healing period to allow the implant to properly integrate. The restorative phase includes the fabrication of a tooth prosthesis that attaches to the implant. Once the prosthesis is finished and approved, it is attached to the implant.
What treatments are available with dental implants?
Examples of possible dental implant therapy include:
- Anterior tooth replacement
- Single posterior tooth replacement
- Multiple teeth replacement such as an implant bridge or retention and stability for an implant assisted removable partial denture
- Complete teeth replacement such as multiple implant bridges, hybrid prosthesis (teeth in a day), All On Four, bar and attachment over-dentures, and stud implant over-dentures
Who should I see if I want dental implants?
Dental implant therapy should always be directed by a properly trained restorative dentist such as a Prosthodontist. Prosthodontists receive extensive training and clinical experience with restorative dental implant therapy as part of their specialty training. Many of the possible complications with dental implant therapy can be prevented and avoided with proper preparation and planning. By doing so, tooth replacement therapy with dental implants may achieve the best possible long term success, function, and aesthetics. Proper planning should be completed as soon as possible when considering dental implant therapy. When possible, planning should be accomplished prior to the loss of your tooth/teeth. Early planning will allow for preservation of the jaw bone, decreased delays in treatment, and better long term success of the implant.
What are the advantages of dental implants?
Preservation of jaw bone following tooth loss
Once a tooth is lost, the jaw bone quickly begins to atrophy. The longer a jaw bone is missing a tooth/teeth, the greater the bone atrophy. If dental implant therapy is desired later on, it is often more difficult and expensive due to the need to develop adequate bone for dental implant therapy.
Maintenance or restoration of ability to chew and function similar to natural teeth
Dental implant restorations/replacing missing teeth have the ability to provide full chewing function if properly planned and performed. It is only through dental implant therapy that one may restore their mouth to full function which may be minimized or lost due to missing teeth.
Very predictable long term result
In most cases, dental implant success is greater than 95%!
Eliminate risk of cavities
Dental implant restorations are not susceptible to tooth decay.
Preservation of adjacent teeth tooth structure
In the past, missing teeth were replaced with bridges. This involved reducing the adjacent teeth of a missing tooth site and then cementing a bridge to replace the missing tooth and reduced teeth. Dental implants allow a tooth replacement without having to adjust the adjacent teeth in many simple situations.
Restoration of confidence and self esteem
Dental implants can replace missing or worn down teeth, which not only improves your oral health but boosts your confidence and self esteem as well.
What is the history of dental implants?
Dental implants are one of (if not the greatest) innovation in dental therapy. The concept of dental implant treatment has been around for hundreds of years, however, modern dental implant therapy was developed in the late 1950’s by a Swedish Orthopedic surgeon by the name of Per-Ingvar Brånemark. His work with bone marrow circulation lead to the development of the titanium root replacement cylinders that we use today. Dental research and literature suggests modern dental implant therapy has a success rate of greater than 95%.
Are there any contraindications regarding dental implant therapy?
There are few contraindications for dental therapy. Some potential contraindications may be severe systemic disease, a compromised immune system, uncontrolled diabetes, previous radiation therapy to your jaws, history of IV bisphosphonate medication, or extreme lack of jaw bone. When planned properly, these conditions and situations may not be indications for dental implant therapy. It is important for you and your dentist to review your health in order to determine if dental implant therapy is right for you.