An implant is a titanium "root" which can be placed into the jawbone. Once integrated with your bone, the implant can be used to support a crown, a bridge, or secure a complete denture. Dental implants may be used to eliminate partial plates and dentures. Implants have been used successfully for over thirty years, have a high success rate and function and feel like your natural teeth. Dental implants are now the standard of care for replacing missing teeth. Dental implant treatment represents a slightly greater investment than conventional treatment; however, the benefits of implant therapy for most patients outweigh the minor additional cost involved.
Restored self-esteem and renewed self-confidence. Our patients who now enjoy the benefits of their new implant supported replacement teeth talk openly about their restored self-esteem and self-confidence as a result of a younger appearance, ability to eat the foods they want, increased comfort, and improved overall health.
Improved appearance. Since implants preserve bone, preventing deterioration of the facial structures and appearance is improved. When all the natural teeth are severely compromised or missing, there is nothing left in the jawbone to stimulate bone growth, the body senses that the jawbone is no longer necessary and begins to dissolve it away. This results in facial collapse.
After about ten years, it often becomes difficult to wear a denture because there is little bone left to support it. This results in the lips folding in, and the lower face shriveling up (witches chin) with wrinkles around the mouth making you look like a much older looking person. With dental implants, the appearance of these wrinkles caused by posterior bite collapse, or complete facial structure collapse are virtually eliminated.
Remove the embarrassment factor. Implant supported replacement teeth never have to come out, not for daily cleaning, not for home care hygiene maintenance (brushing and flossing), nor even during a hospital visit or other medical exam. They are permanent. Just like your new smile.
The mouth is restored as closely as possible to its natural state. By replacing the entire tooth, including the root, it is possible to replicate the function of natural teeth, with a strong, stable foundation that allows comfortable biting and chewing. In addition, nothing in the mouth looks or feels artificial. Dental implants are the closest thing we have to our natural teeth.
Your smile is improved when replacement teeth look more like natural teeth. Even when only one tooth is missing, long term aesthetics are usually much better with an implant supported replacement tooth than with a traditional tooth supported bridge. This is particularly important in the front of your mouth, where preventing a visible bone defect is critical for natural appearance.
Healthy adjacent teeth are not destroyed to replace missing teeth. Tooth replacement with traditional tooth-supported bridges requires grinding down the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth/teeth, so that the bridge can be cemented onto them and into place. This tooth structure can never be replaced and the long-term health of these "prepared" teeth is compromised. Partial dentures have clasps that hook onto adjacent teeth, putting pressure on the adjacent teeth as the partial rocks back and forth. Eventually these teeth can loosen and fail as a result of this unnatural pressure. Replacing missing teeth with implant supported crowns/bridges does not involve the adjacent natural teeth, so they are not compromised, damaged or destroyed.
Overall quality of life is enhanced with replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth. With implant supported replacement teeth, the appearance of the smile is more natural and the teeth function more like natural teeth. The result is increased comfort and confidence when smiling, speaking, and eating. If dentures and partials are replaced with implant supported teeth, the overall enhancement in quality of life is even more significant, with an ability to eat all types of foods, elimination of messy adhesives, and improved speech, comfort and appearance.
If removable dentures and partials are replaced with implant supported fixed bridges, the overall enhancement in quality of life is even more significant.
- Your eating habits will improve
- Messy and potentially toxic adhesives used to hold dentures in place are eliminated
- Unsightly destructive metal clasps common with partial dentures, which tend to damage adjacent teeth and gums are now non-existent.
Failing teeth can cause other health issues. It is well documented that periodontal disease is a bacterially induced chronic infection and inflammatory disease that does not resolve by itself. Unchecked, inflammation and infection contributes to heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Dentists and cardiologists have long known that neglecting your teeth can lead to more than just a toothache. Scientific studies indicate there is a link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. It has been shown that improving poor oral health can actually improve your overall health.
Convenient oral hygiene. Caring for an implant supported crown is the same as caring for natural teeth; however, it is one of the most frequently overlooked ingredients in implant success. It is recommended that you request an appointment to have regular dental check-ups and get annual x-rays to make sure the surrounding bone is supporting the implant correctly and to discuss and questions or current concerns you may have. These periodic visits will help keep your replacement teeth healthy for many years to come.
In order to place an implant, a couple of steps must be taken:
1) An incision is made into the gums using very precise measurements, then using a very small drill, the jawbone is given a "tap" that will allow the implant to be placed. After the implant is screwed into place, the gums are closed up and the healing process begins. This process can take approximately three to six months to ensure the implant has fused with the bone and created a sturdy base for the new teeth.
2) When the implant is ready, an abutment is attached to the implant, which allows for a new crown to be placed or a denture to be attached.
Do you have missing teeth? It is critically important to replace missing teeth. Eating and chewing with missing teeth can sabotage your bite and lead to incessant discomfort. Missing teeth can give rise to a mouth rearrangement that often results in facial changes that look decrepit.
A single tooth implant procedure may be done if a tooth has been extracted or is missing. A titanium implant base is placed into the jawbone to resemble the tooth root. We allow a period of time for the jawbone to heal over the implant base before fitting for a crown.
Next, an abutment is screwed into the base of the implant to allow for a crown to be fitted on top. Finally, a custom fabricated crown is placed over the abutment to function like a real tooth.
Multiple teeth implants may be placed if you need or desire to permanently replace an extracted or lost tooth. Titanium implant bases are placed into the jawbone to replace the job of the tooth roots. We allow a period of time to allow for the jawbone to heal over the bases before fitting for a crown. Next, abutments are screwed into the bases of the implants to allow crowns to be attached. Finally, custom fabricated crowns are placed over the abutments and will function like a real tooth.
In many circumstances, all of the upper or lower remaining teeth need to be removed due to advanced periodontal disease and/or dental decay. One approach is a full upper or lower plate; however, this treatment modality is not recommended. The treatment of choice is to replace the upper or lower teeth with caps that are in place permanently and supported by dental implants. A common goal of treatment is to have (12 teeth caps) supported by 8 implants. The 4 caps that are not supported by the implants are connected to adjacent implant-supported caps. With this optimal approach, the maximum amount of bone is preserved.
In many situations it is possible to remove the diseased and/or loose teeth and replace them with dental implants at the same time. In almost all situations simultaneous bone grafting is completed. This method of treatment reduces the number of surgical visits. It also speeds up the entire process enabling the implants to be ready to receive (caps/crowns) more quickly.
A mini dental implant (MDI) is an implant used to provide better denture stability in patients that cannot handle standard implant surgery, do not have enough bone to support a standard implant or are going from one prosthetic system to another due to continuing therapy.
The top of an MDI is shaped like a ball that allows a rubber o-ring to snap in over the ball when the denture is placed onto it. These types of implants can usually be placed in one or two office visits because there is no waiting on the jawbone to heal. In most situations the patient can walk out with their dentures the same day they receive their implants.
Before making the decision in going the implant route, ask yourself if there is another option. We offer many different implant alternatives.
The different alternative options to implants that we provide are:
- Tooth Supported Bridge
- Removable Partial Denture
- No Treatment
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