People are living longer, and they naturally want to maintain full use of their teeth and keep their beautiful smiles. However, even with regular checkups and terrific flossing and brushing, sometimes teeth do not last. This can be due to decay, injury, disease or simply getting older.
The good news is that dental implants can be used to rejuvenate your smile, dental function and oral health.
A dental implant is a synthetic tooth that can be surgically placed into the jawbone. The post or “root” is usually made of titanium, the same material used frequently in replacement hips and knees. It’s a metal that works well with the human bone. The synthetic tooth is fixed to the titanium post. It can either be attached permanently or can be removable. When the tooth is permanently attached it feels more stable and natural.
The best candidate for a dental implant is a non-smoker with good oral health and a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw and good, strong, gums.
Strategic Uses for Dental Implants
If you are missing a tooth and need it replaced, an implant with a replacement tooth will do the trick. If you are missing several teeth in a row, correctly placed implants can be used to support a set of replacement teeth, called a bridge. If you have lost all your teeth, implants can be used as anchors for a full denture.
Advantages of Implants over Conventional Bridges and Dentures
Whereas an implant is placed into the bone, conventional bridges and dentures are not. This instability can make it difficult to eat or smile without worrying. Implants look natural and feel and act more like normal teeth with the same biting force.
Other advantages of implants include the fact that, unlike conventional bridges and dentures, implants will last a lifetime and in no way compromise the health of your natural teeth.
Additional Implant-Related Services
Sinus Lift Graft
Sometimes the sinuses will get larger after the loss of the upper back teeth. Since a dental implant needs to be surrounded by bone, and sinuses are air-filled cavities, a sinus lift and bone graft must be done before an implant can be placed in the area. The sinus lift and bone augmentation procedure restores sinuses to their original size and replaces the bone that was lost due to the enlargement of the sinuses. This new bone graft takes about nine to twelve months to heal before the dental implants can be placed.
In the event the patient has insufficient bone to support the placement of implants a bone grafting can be done. During this procedure bone is taken from another area of the patients mouth, often the chin or the back of the jaw, and grafted into the area that needs it. The newly placed bone fuses with the bone already there, creating a strong support for the implant.
Development of the Implant Site
It is not uncommon to find bone loss in an area where an infected tooth has been removed. When this occurs bone grafting can be done at the same time as the tooth is removed. This is known as developing the implant site. Once the graft is healed, the implant can be positioned in the grafted area.
Computer-Aided Treatment Planning
Special computer software allows us to evaluate CT scans in three dimensions. This allows us to diagnose bone quality, bone quantity and bone location to ensure the best possible placement of each implant.
Dental Implant Maintenance
It’s important to keep your dental implant restored teeth clean and free of infection. Dental implants can attract and accumulate plaque and tartar in the same way as any other teeth. Talk to your dentist about caring for your newly restored teeth and professional cleaning schedule.
The better you care for your replacement teeth, the longer they last.
Contact our dental office and make an appointment. We are here to help: (802) 878-5591