Dental Implants are the most natural replacement for
missing teeth and provide the finest restorative results
in dentistry. Dental Implants look and feel like your own
teeth, allowing you to smile and eat meals like you used to.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into
your jaw to hold a crown or bridge. Implants are an ideal
option for people in good oral health who have lost a tooth
or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury or an
extraction that was never replaced. With proper care and
regular maintenance visits, implants can last a lifetime.
Long-term studies continue to show improving success rates
Dental Implants vs. Bridges
Dental implants are now the standard of care for replacing missing teeth as they preserve the jaw bone, while dentures and bridges do replace missing teeth but do not preserve the bone and cause unnecessary damage to teeth.
The average bridge lasts seven to ten years. In addition, there are irreversible negative affects that occur when a bridge is placed: the adjacent natural teeth will have to be drilled down, whether they have fillings or not. The missing tooth space is initially small but increases to a large gap after time. Recurrent cavities are very common around the bridge abutments (supporting teeth) and then the bridge needs to be redone – thus resulting in more tooth drilling and destruction.
Advantages of Dental Implants
- Aesthetics: Implant-supported crowns look and feel like your own teeth.
- Maintaining Teeth: Adjacent teeth do not have to be reduced or damaged to place the crowns, as they do for bridges.
- Confidence: Implants allow you to chew, eat and speak with confidence.
- Reliable: Dental implants are highly predictable.
Placing Dental Implants
Dental implants can be restored with individual crowns, bridges, partial dentures or full dentures. The implants, or titanium posts, are placed in the jawbone where teeth are missing. The implants are then allowed time to “osseointegrate”- time for the bone to bond to the post to create a strong foundation. The second phase usually needs four months of healing time, and then the periodontist uncovers the implants, allowing the general dentist to take impressions to make the permanent prosthesis.
Replacing a Missing Tooth
The periodontist inserts a dental post (dental implant) into the jawbone to replace your missing tooth root. This post becomes solidly fixed into your jaw (like a natural tooth root). Your general dentist then places a crown into this artificial tooth root that looks, feels and functions like your natural teeth.
Replacing Several Missing Teeth
Traditionally, several missing teeth would have been replaced
with a removable denture. Now, dental implants are used to
firmly anchor the dentures to the jawbone. This prevents the
slipping, irritation, and pain associated with removable partials
and dentures. This also prevents the tedious removal of
dentures for overnight soaking and cleaning; and eliminates
the need for dental adhesives.
Implant-supported dentures feel much more like natural teeth
and allow you to enjoy eating the foods you previously avoided.
When you chew, the natural tooth roots and implant posts
stimulate the jawbone and prevent it from shrinking. Dental
implants help prevent bone loss and help preserve your jawbone
and its appearance.
The key to implant success is having sufficient jawbone to secure the implant. Grafting of the maxillary sinus provides higher success rates of implant placements in the upper back tooth area where historically insufficient bone quantity and close proximity to the sinus have led to failed implant placements. The sinus lift is a procedure performed in accordance with dental implants placements where the the sinus floor is raised and bone is placed into the sinus cavity. At that time, dental implants can be placed and the bone can heal.
*Photos courtesy of Biomet 3i