Dental implants offer one of the best treatment options for those looking to replace missing teeth. Natural in appearance and far more comfortable than dentures or traditional bridges, dental implants can also last a lifetime with proper care.
Dental implants are a simple, long-term solution to restore your smile and improve your quality of life. A team of dental professionals will collaborate to ensure your restoration is a complete success. In fact, dental implant procedures have a success rate of over 95% and nearly five decades of research supporting them as a superior option for replacing missing or unsalvageable teeth.
What are Dental Implants?
This amazing innovation in dentistry allows dental professionals to restore attractive smiles with minimal discomfort to the patient. Dental implant procedures will vary for those looking to replace several missing teeth; however, the components of dental implants remain the same.
Dental implants are comprised of three components:
- A titanium post that ultimately fuses with jawbone
- An abutment that covers the protruding area of the implant
- A crown that fits atop the abutment, creating a beautiful, natural tooth
Twenty years ago, patients with a single or multiple missing teeth had few options besides a fixed bridge or partial denture, which require periodic replacement. Studies show that partial dentures can contribute to the loss of adjacent teeth in up to 30% of patients within 5-7 years of use, making dental implants a better, safer long-term solution.
Benefits of Dental Implants Versus Alternatives
A conventional denture versus dental implants is hardly a fair comparison. Patients who select dental implants will enjoy far more freedom, comfort, and convenience in their daily life. Dentures tend to make wearers feel older than they really are, and they have a tendency to slip and cause embarrassing social situations. Implants allow patients to have complete confidence to eat, laugh, and live life normally again.
One major complaint by denture wearers is the need for frequent adjustments to ease discomfort from ill-fitting prosthesis – a side effect ofgradual bone loss. Dentures may contribute to bone loss in regions where teeth are missing, allowing the bone to weaken and erode further, while a dental implant's process of osseointegration (the fusing of the implant) provides excellent stability just like a natural tooth.
The result of a dental implant procedure is a natural looking tooth that no one but you will ever know is an implant. Achieving these remarkable results requires only a few appointments with your dental professional.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Your initial appointment with your dentist will help you determine whether you are a good candidate for a dental implant procedure. Some considerations are:
Pre-existing conditions will be addressed on a case-by-case basis; however, with exception to growing children, dental implants are a likely solution for most individuals, even those with high blood pressure or diabetes.
Problem Teeth/Gum Disease
Problematic teeth and gums don't eliminate one from dental implant candidacy. In fact, most implant procedures performed on patients with previous periodontal disease or severe tooth decay are successful as long as the dental issues are addressed and managed appropriately.
Currently Wear Dentures/Partials
Dental implants can easily replace removable dentures or bridges and can even be utilized to stabilize and secure existing dentures to increase their comfort level.
Smoking can decrease the rate of dental implant success; however, smokers are not immediately eliminated from dental implant candidacy.
Severe Bone Loss
Very common among those with problem teeth and periodontal disease, bone loss can be remedied with the aid of a maxillofacial surgeon or periodontist through a bone graft procedure.
Dental implants are often deferred until children's jaw growth is complete, but circumstances do arise that will prompt a dental professional to recommended this procedure to be performed sooner.
Dental Implant Process and Scheduling
As a whole, the dental implant process can require anywhere from three to six months, much of which depends on how quickly the implant integrates into the bone. As soon as the decision is made that a dental implant is right for you through a comprehensive oral examination, a team will be organized to handle your care from start to finish.
Initial Consultation and Appointments for Dental Implants
Determining whether dental implants are the right choice involves an initial consultation where a set of x-rays and occasionally a CT scan will be used to evaluate the location of the future implant. Depending on scheduling, usually the next appointment is when your surgeon will place the titanium implant into the jaw. This requires a small incision at the implant site which is sutured after the procedure to heal.
Within three to six months, your dental team will determine when the area has healed enough to proceed with restoring the dental implant. At this point, the post, or abutment, is attached to the titanium implant and impressions are taken to assist the dental laboratory in creating your customized porcelain crown.
Follow up appointments and examinations with your providers are a critical component of the process. Your team of dental professionals will continue to collaborate to ensure that you receive the highest level of aftercare, increasing the chance of success.
Dental implants can help restore your natural smile and really give you something to smile about!Schedule an appointment for your dental implant consultation with NOVA in your area, and enjoy a new experience in implant dentistry.