What are dental implants?
Dental implants as we know them today were invented in 1952 by a Swedish orthopedic surgeon named Per-Ingvar Brånemark. Today, they are considered the standard of care for prosthetic replacement of missing teeth in dentistry. A dental implant is a surgical fixture that is placed into the jawbone and allowed to fuse with the bone over the span of a few months. The dental implant acts as a replacement for the root of a missing tooth. In turn, this “artificial tooth root” serves to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Having a dental implant fused to the jawbone is the closest thing to mimicking a natural tooth because it stands on its own without affecting the nearby teeth and has great stability. The process of fusion between the dental implant and jawbone is called “osseointegration.” Most dental implants are made of titanium, which allows them to integrate with bone without being recognized as a foreign object in our body. Over time, technology and science have progressed to greatly improve the outcomes of dental implant placement. Today, the success rate for dental implants is close to 98%.
Why would you need a dental implant?
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or all of the teeth. The goal of teeth replacement in dentistry is to restore function as well as esthetics.
When it comes to tooth replacement, generally, there are three options:
1. removable dental appliance (complete denture or partial denture),
2. fixed dental bridge (cemented), and
3. dental implant.
Dentures are the more affordable option for replacement teeth but are the least desirable because of the inconvenience of a removable appliance in the mouth. Furthermore, dentures can affect one’s taste and sensory experience with food.
Dental bridgework was the more common restorative option prior to the relatively recent shift to dental implant treatment. The main disadvantage to bridgework is the dependence on existing natural teeth for support. Implants are supported by bone only and do not affect surrounding natural teeth. Deciding on which option to choose depends on many factors. Specifically for dental implants, these factors include
- location of missing tooth or teeth,
- quantity and quality of the jawbone where the dental implant is to be placed,
- health of the patient,
- cost, and
- patient preference.
A dental surgeon examines the area to be considered for the dental implant and makes a clinical assessment of whether the patient is a good candidate for a dental implant.
There are great advantages to choosing a dental implant for tooth replacement over the other options. Dental implants are conservative in that missing teeth can be replaced without affecting or altering the adjacent teeth. Furthermore, because dental implants integrate into the bone structure, they are very stable and can have the look and feel of one’s own natural teeth.
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What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
There are many advantages to dental implants, including:
- Improved appearance. Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.
- Improved speech. With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip.
- Improved comfort. Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
- Easier eating. Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
- Improved self-esteem. Dental implants can give you back your smile and help you feel better about yourself.
- Improved oral health. Dental implants don’t require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.
- Durability. Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
- Convenience. Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place.
What are the types of dental implants? Why are they used?
Historically, there have been two different types of dental implants:
1. endosteal and
2. subperiosteal. Endosteal refers to an implant that is “in the bone,” and subperiosteal refers to an implant that rests on top of the jawbone under the gum tissue. Subperiosteal implants are no longer in use today because of their poor long-term results in comparison to endosteal dental implants.
While the primary function of dental implants is for teeth replacement, there are areas in which implants can assist in other dental procedures. Due to their stability, dental implants can be used to support a removable denture and provide a more secure and comfortable fit. In addition, for orthodontics procedures, dental mini-implants can act as temporary anchorage devices (TAD) to help move teeth to the desired position. These mini-implants are small and temporarily fixed to the bone while assisting in anchorage for teeth movement. They are subsequently removed after their function has been served.
For patients who have lost all their teeth due to decay or gum disease of the upper and/or lower arch, an option is available to provide a very stable and comfortable prosthesis using a minimal number of implants. One such is example is the “All-On-4” technique that was named by implant manufacturer Nobel Biocare. This technique gets its name from the idea that four implants can be used to replace all teeth in a single arch (upper or lower). The implants are strategically placed in areas of good strong bone, and a thin denture prosthesis is screwed into place. The All-On-4 technique provides teeth replacement that is stable (not removable) and feels like natural teeth compared to the older method of traditional (removable) complete dentures. Without a doubt, implant dentistry has allowed for more treatment options to replace single and multiple missing teeth with long-term stability and contributes to improved oral health
Dental implant surgery
Dental implant surgery is a procedure that replaces tooth roots with metal, screwlike posts and replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function much like real ones. Dental implant surgery can offer a welcome alternative to dentures or bridgework that doesn’t fit well and can offer an option when a lack of natural teeth roots don’t allow building denture or bridgework tooth replacements.
How dental implant surgery is performed depends on the type of implant and the condition of your jawbone. Dental implant surgery may involve several procedures. The major benefit of implants is solid support for your new teeth — a process that requires the bone to heal tightly around the implant. Because this bone healing requires time, the process can take many months.
Why it’s done
Dental implants are surgically placed in your jawbone, where they serve as the roots of missing teeth. Because the titanium in the implants fuses with your jawbone, the implants won’t slip, make noise or cause bone damage the way fixed bridgework or dentures might. And the materials can’t decay like your own teeth that support regular bridgework can.
In general, dental implants may be right for you if you:
· Have one or more missing teeth
· Have a jawbone that’s reached full growth
· Have adequate bone to secure the implants or are able to have a bone graft
· Have healthy oral tissues
· Don’t have health conditions that will affect bone healing
· Are unable or unwilling to wear dentures
· Want to improve your speech
· Are willing to commit several months to the process
· Don’t smoke tobacco
Call us for your dental implants in Mira Mesa
San Diego Smile Center
10737 Camino Ruiz #120 San Diego, CA 92126
10737 Camino Ruiz #120 San Diego, CA 92126