Like the natural root, a dental implant provides the foundation for a dental crown that feels, looks, and functions like a natural tooth. A dental implant is a titanium structure that is placed in the bone and forms a bond with the bone through a process called osseointegration which can vary from 3 to 4 months. Once osseointegration has occurred, replacement (artificial) tooth is placed.
Commonly, the teeth are lost due to poor dental health and gum disease. Leaving the missing teeth unreplaced may not sound too serious, but the consequences of not replacing the teeth include:
- The teeth adjacent to your missing tooth can drift into the space which will alter your bite,
- The loss of your missing tooth’s root can cause your jawbone to shrink and resorb, making your face appear prematurely older; and,
- A missing tooth in the front of your mouth can affect your smile and your self-confidence.
In many situations and whether you are missing one or several teeth, dental implants can be the most pleasingly esthetic solution because they are the most like natural teeth. Implants provide benefits over traditional bridges since there is no need to grind down healthy adjacent teeth. In addition, the implants functions as a root to help prevent bone deterioration and preserve facial structure, and delivers long lasting function.
Dental implants also provide support and stabilization for dentures, making the dentures more secure and comfortable. The benefits of implant and tissue supported dentures are:
- Help to preserve the bone
- Increase stability of the dentures
- Eliminate the need for adhesives
- Help to reduce discomfort/pain from ill-fitting dentures
- Improve chewing ability, speech, and self-confidence
During the consultation visit, Dr. Endy will assess your general and oral health, and a detailed clinical and radiographic examinations for dental implants. In some situations, CAT scan, a 3-D image of patient's jaw, will be necessary for proper planning of the dental implant treatment. In some situations, dental implants can be placed into extracted sockets. Your specific conditions and needs will be assessed and discussed in details. Dental implant procedure is an in-office procedure using local anesthesia, and if the instructions are followed carefully, it can be accomplished with minimal or no discomfort.
Periodic follow-up visits will be scheduled to monitor your implant, teeth and gums to make sure they are healthy. Longevity and success of dental implants depend on good home oral care and regular professional care at your dental and periodontal offices. Dental implants are highly successful treatment as long as the patients follow up with dental professionals and practices daily, effective oral care and maintenance.
When a tooth is disease and/or infected, the bone that holds the tooth in place, the alveolar bone is often damaged, resulting in a bone (alveolar ridge) deformity when the tooth is removed. Even in absence of disease and/or infection, the ridge deformity (ridge resorption) can occur as result of natural healing following the extraction of a tooth. The ridge deformity (ridge resorption) following an extraction can be minimized by a procedure called socket preservation procedure. During the socket preservation procedure, bone grafting material is placed in an extraction site at the time of the extraction to preserve the ridge integrity, in a preparation for a dental implant.
When the teeth have been missing for a long period of time, the alveolar ridge can atrophy, resulting in an insufficient bone for dental implants. In a situation like this, ridge can be augmented to increase bone width and/or volume by utilizing various bone grafting materials and surgical techniques so that dental implants can be placed.
In the upper posterior (molar) areas, bone can be insufficient in quantity due to the close proximity to the sinuses. This is very true when the teeth have been missing for a long period of time in the upper posterior areas. In situations like this, the ridge under the sinus cavity can be augmented to increase bone height and volume by raising the sinus floor for the placement of dental implants.