Dental Implants have become one of the most popular, and predictable procedures for replacement of lost teeth offered in dentistry today. Dental implants have been proven time and again to be safe and effective for long term tooth replacement.
Dental implants are an artificial tooth root (usually fabricated out of titanium) that a dentist or specialist places into your jaw to support restorations that replace a single or multiple teeth. What can dental implants do for you? They can replace a single tooth, be support for a bridge, or as support for a denture (giving you more security and comfort).
Dental Implants were not always the predictable dentistry procedure we have come to expect. There was a time when dental implants were for all intents and purposes experiments in seeing what worked and what did not. In the last 15 years we have really entered the modern age of dental implants. They are considered almost routine in their nature now. Most dentists cannot imagine a day without them anymore as a treatment option for our patients.
The father of dental implants is Swedish professor Per-Ingvar Branemark. During his studies, he discovered that it was impossible for him to recover any of the bone anchored titanium microscopes he was using in his research at the time. The titanium had apparently bonded irreversibly to the living bone tissue. He was later able to demonstrate that titanium could be integrated into living bone tissue with a very high degree of predictability and without long term soft tissue inflammation or rejection of the titanium fixture. Professor Branemark called this process osseointegration.
The first real world application of osseointegration was the implantation of new titanium roots in an edentulous patient in 1965. Over thirty years later, the non-removable teeth attached to these roots were still functioning perfectly.
Dental implants are the ideal choice for patients in generally good oral health who have lost a single tooth or multiple teeth. The tooth loss can be due to periodontal disease progression, trauma, or any other reason. Dental implants are actually more tooth saving than traditional crowns and bridges, since dental implants do not remove healthy teeth structure or rely on adjacent teeth for support.
Sufficient amount of bone is needed to support the dental implants, and the ideal candidates are free of periodontal disease and have healthy gingival tissues. Dental implants are intimately connected with the underlying bone and gum tissues in the mouth. So, maintenance of dental hygiene is necessary for a positive long term prognosis. With technique and material advancements, dental bone grafts are now more successful than ever and can be used to augment your natural bone. Be honest with your dentist or surgeon regarding health issues or anything that could ultimately affect the success (or failure)of the procedure. There is an increased risk of failure in patients who smoke. For this reason, dental implants are frequently placed only after a patient has stopped smoking.
Dental implant success can be closely related to a surgeon’s skill, quality and quantity of the bone available at the site, and the patient’s oral hygiene maintenance. Dental implant failure is usually due to the failure of the implant to osseointegrate (fuse with bone) correctly. Dental Implants are considered failures if it is lost, mobile or shows noticeable bone loss surrounding the dental implant. Dental implants are not susceptible to dental caries but they can develop a condition called Peri-implantitis. This is an inflammatory condition of the gingival tissue and/or bone around the implant which can result in loss of bone and eventual loss of the dental implant. It is usually associated with chronic infection. Peri-implantitis is more likely to occur in heavy smokers, patients with diabetes, patients with poor dental hygiene and cases where the gingival tissue around the implant is thin.
More rarely, dental implants can fail because of poor surgical placement, not waiting for enough bone healing prior to placing crown restoration, or may be overloaded initially, causing failure to integrate. If smoking and positioning problems exist prior to implant surgery, dentists often recommend to patients that implants may not be the best option.Then they will recommend a bridge or a partial denture to replace the missing tooth.
Once restored, dental implants are very natural looking and the patient will not feel or notice any difference after it is healed. You may even forget you ever lost a tooth in the first place. A person’s self confidence is definitely affected by their smile. Perhaps you hide your smile because of spaces from missing teeth. Maybe your dentures don’t feel secure. Perhaps you have difficulty chewing. If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to smile, speak and eat again with comfort and confidence, there is good news! Dental implants are teeth that can look and feel just like your own! Under proper conditions dental implants can last a lifetime. Long-term studies continue to show extremely high success rates for dental implants in the real world.
-Cosmetics. When completed properly dental implants will look and feel like your own teeth. Another plus is that since dental implants are placed directly in bone they prevent bone loss and gingival recession that happens over time in areas where teeth are missing. No one but you and your dentist should ever know you have a dental implant.
-Dental Implants are Conservative. Dental implants allow the dentist to save your adjacent teeth from preparations. A traditional bridge requires the preparation of adjacent teeth. Using dental implants is a long term benefit to the patients dental health by saving their natural tooth structure.
-Increased Self Confidence. The wonder of dental implants is that they allow patients to talk and eat full of self confidence. Dental implants offer security and freedom.
-Highly Predictable. Dental implants have had a long track record of a very high success rate. Due to this they are an excellent option for tooth replacement.
After placement of implants and restoration with crowns or dentures, patients can expect a life long restoration that will be stable and cosmetic. Just because these products are man made does not mean oral hygiene should be forgotten and neglected. Dental hygiene must be maintained at a high level if the patient wants to ensure these restorations last. Follow up dental visits are required just as if you had your own natural teeth. If dental implants are well taken care of the patient should expect them to last a lifetime!