People are living longer than ever, and while regular brushing, flossing, and checkups allow many of us to maintain our natural smiles for a lifetime, sometimes our teeth just can't keep up. If you've lost a tooth (or a few teeth) due to injury or disease, dental implants can rejuvenate both your smile and your oral health.
An implant is a titanium alloy fixture in the shape of a post that is surgically placed into the jawbone. Titanium is the same material used in many replacement hips and knees, and a is well-suited to integrate with human bone. A replacement core and a crown is then fixed to the post.
The ideal candidate for implants is a non-smoker who has good oral health, including a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw, and healthy gums with no sign of gum disease.
Single or Multiple Implants
Implants are versatile. If you are only missing one tooth, one implant plus one replacement tooth will do the trick. If you are missing several teeth in a row, a few strategically placed implants can support a permanent bridge (a set of replacement teeth). Similarly, if you have lost all of your teeth, a full bridge or full denture can be permanently fixed in your mouth with a strategic number of implants.
Advantages Over Dentures or Bridges
Implants not only look more natural, but feel and act more like normal teeth, with a stronger biting force. And because they don't directly rely on neighboring teeth for support, implants don't compromise the health of your natural teeth. Implants are generally expected to last longer than bridges.
Consider your replacement teeth to be the same as natural teeth. They require the same daily brushing and flossing, and the same amount of regular checkups. Just like your natural teeth, the better you take care of your replacements, the longer they will last.
Autogenous Bone Grafting
Occasionally, ideal areas where dental implants are to be placed do not have sufficient bone quantity to predictably place the implants. In these cases, it is often necessary to "harvest" bone from another area of your mouth to graft into the deficient area.
Implant Site Development
When a tooth needs to be removed due to infection, it is not uncommon to have bone loss around the infected tooth. In these cases, various types of bone grafting can be done at the same time the tooth is removed to facilitate the placement of a dental implant at a later date.
Computer-Enhanced Treatment Planning
We use special 3D software that allows us to evaluate your bone quality, bone quantity, and bone location for the best possible placement of your dental implants. This also allows us to ensure an ideal result for your dental implants. In order to achieve this goal oftentimes, often times we use computer-designed surgical guides.
Once your dental implant restoration is completed, it is important to keep the area clean and free of infection. Dental implants can accumulate plaque and tartar just as teeth can. Whether you have just one tooth replaced by an implant or several, professional cleanings will be necessary to keep your implants healthy. The time interval for these professional cleanings will be determined by your individual needs.
Implant-supported dentures are over-dentures fixed to the gums by a number of individual implants. For patients with an uncomfortable or loose-fitting denture, stabilizing it with implants can be a more comfortable and functional solution.
Implants are placed in the jaw, where they are anchored firmly in the surrounding bone. Attachments are placed in the underside of the denture that connects to the implants. When placed in the mouth, the denture snaps onto the implants, keeping it stable and secure.
What are the benefits of dentures supported by implants?
- People who opt for implant-supported dentures are more confident when they talk, laugh, and eat in public. You'll never have to worry about your false teeth slipping or falling out while you eat or are engaged in conversation.
- Implant-supported dentures are far more comfortable because they are secure and feel like natural teeth. There is also less irritation of gum tissue; patients who have conventional dentures often suffer pain and canker sores.
- Implant-supported dentures look more natural than conventional dentures because less plastic is needed for retention. Wearing implant-supported dentures can also help your appearance in the long term by preventing jaw shrinkage and bone loss.
- Patients with conventional dentures have difficulty with speaking clearly. Slurred speech and clicking noises are common problems. Implant-supported dentures can help you relax and talk easily with a more clear and natural voice.
- Best of all, with implant-supported dentures, there is no need to use denture adhesives.