Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours are preserved.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental Implants Presentation
To provide you with a better understanding of dental implants, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to dental implants are discussed.
The implants themselves are tiny titanium screws that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts that protrude through the gums are then attached to the implant. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth. Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
For some patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums, gradually binding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. The implants are uncovered and small posts are attached that protrude through the gum and will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. When the artificial teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily lives.
Most implant surgery is performed in an oral surgeons office. In-hospital implant surgery is for the patients who have special medical or aesthetic needs or for those who need extensive bone grafting from the jaw, tibia, or hip.
What Types of Prostheses are Available?
A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing tooth; each prosthetic tooth attaches to its own implant. A partial prosthesis (fixed bridge) can replace two or more teeth and may require only two or three implants. A complete dental prosthesis (fixed bridge) replaces all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended. A removable prosthesis (over denture) is one that can easily be removed and re-attached to the implants by the patient. A fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by the dentist.
Why Dental Implants?
Once you learn about dental implants, you finally realize there is a way to improve your life. When you lose several teeth whether its a new situation or something you have lived with for years chances are you have never become fully accustomed to losing such a vital part of yourself. A Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, developed this concept for oral rehabilitation more than thirty-five years ago. With his pioneering research, Dr. Branemark opened the door to a lifetime of renewed comfort and self-confidence for millions of individuals facing the frustration and embarrassment of tooth loss.
Why Would You Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types of Restorations?
There are several reasons to choose dental implants. Why sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge a space? In most cases, placement of a single implant is the simplest and least invasive way to replace a tooth. Removing a denture or a “partial at night may be inconvenient, and dentures often slip, and can be uncomfortable and embarrassing.
Are You a Candidate for Implants?
If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history reviewed. If your mouth is not ideal for implants, ways of improving the outcome, such as bone grafting, may be recommended.
What Type of Anesthesia is Used?
The majority of dental implants and bone grafts can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, with or without general anesthesia.
Do Implants Need Special Care?
Once the implants are in place, they will serve you well for many years if you take care of them and keep your mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dental specialists.
Does Smoking Affect Implants?
It is very well established that implants placed in patients who do smoke have a significantly lower success rate when compared to implants placed in patients who do not smoke. If you are a smoker and would like to have implants, your oral and maxillofacial surgeon can advise you of smoking cessation programs that would allow you to enjoy your implants later.