A natural tooth consists of a crown (the part you see above the gum), and the root (the part hidden under the gum). It is the root in the jawbone that actually holds the natural tooth in place. A dental implant is a small man-made titanium fixture that serves as a replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. Titanium is used because it is the most compatible with our human body. The dental implant is placed in the bone of the upper or lower jaw and functions as an anchor for the replacement tooth. After the bone has grown around the implant, implants can hold a crown, bridge or overdenture just like roots hold natural teeth in place.

Implants provide additional support where teeth are missing without putting forces onto remaining natural teeth. They may be used to support the replacement of a single missing tooth or a complete functional set for individuals who have lost many or all of their teeth.

What are the benefits of dental implants?

Improved Appearance
When teeth are lost, ongoing shrinkage of the jawbone occurs making the face look older. Dental implants can slow or stop this process. Dental implants look and feel like your own natural teeth.

Improved Comfort
Dental implants eliminate the pain and discomfort of removable full or partial dentures. Since dentures sit on top of the jawbone and gums, continuous shrinkage of the jaw bone alters the fit of the denture resulting in slipping or rocking of the dentures. Exposed nerves and irritation of the gum tissue may add to the discomfort.

Implant supported replacement teeth are like natural teeth because they are anchored securely to your jawbone.

Gum irritation and the pain of exposed nerves associated with conventional full or partial dentures are eliminated.

Improved Speech
With ill fitting dentures, the teeth slip and slide around the mouth. The facial muscles become tense in an attempt to hold the teeth in place. This often results in mumbling, slurred speech or clicking noises.

Replacement teeth allow you to speak with confidence in a relaxed and natural ton

Improved Self Esteem
Considering all other benefits, dental implants can improve your self-esteem. You may feel better about yourself. You can regain nearly all the capabilities that most people have with natural teeth, giving you renewed confidence, and allowing you to enjoy life, do what everyone else is doing and not think twice about it.

Eat Better
The average denture patient with an excellent fitting denture eats at 15-20% efficiency when compared to a person with natural teeth. As the jawbone shrinks, your chewing efficiency is reduced even more, making it difficult to eat certain foods. Dental implants can restore chewing efficiency comparable to that of natural teeth.

This allows you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain, enjoy what everyone is eating and not think twice about it. A full upper denture covers the palate of the mouth and reduces the ability to taste foods. With dental implants, you can have the palate removed from your upper denture so you can taste and enjoy your food.

Convenience
Dental implants can eliminate the numerous embarrassing inconveniences of removable partial and full dentures. You will eliminate the use of gooey denture adhesives that must be re-applied throughout the day. You will no longer need to cover your mouth when you laugh or smile, for fear that your teeth will pop out or fall down.

Protect Your Remaining Natural Teeth
Dental implants are often more appropriate than a bridge for the replacement of one or more adjacent teeth. With conventional bridgework, the teeth surrounding missing teeth must be ground down. Dental implants often eliminate the need to modify these teeth, resulting in a conservative, yet esthetic restoration.

Are Dental Implants Safe?

My Dentist recently recommended osseointegrated dental implants. What are dental implants and are they safe?

Osseointegrated dental implants are the state of the art in modern dentistry. They are small titanium “fixtures” that take the place of the natural root of the tooth. Gently implanted into the bone, using local anesthesia, these very tiny titanium roots actually bond or integrate with a patient’s bone, more securely than natural root would. Most often, the osseointegrated implant is more stable than a natural tooth’s root. Upon these implants, a prosthodontist can build permanent teeth, custom designed and shaded to aesthetically suit each patient’s distinctive facial requirements.

Sophisticated research for more than three decades in the United States and abroad has recognized titanium for its biological compatibility with the human body. Studies have shown that the earliest patients treated with these modern osseointegrated implants continue to enjoy healthy, stable smiles.

Nearly all implant procedures are performed with local anesthesia in a comfortable dental chair. No pain is felt during the surgical procedures. Depending upon the number of implants placed, there may be swelling and/or tenderness for a few days following the surgery. Pain medication is usually prescribed which alleviates this discomfort. Patients generally prefer a soft foods diet for the healing period following surgery. Cold foods and tepid soups are suggested, as they aid in reducing swelling.

The entire osseointegration process and the building of the new teeth can be accomplished in as little as three months, though the upper teeth or replacing a complete denture with permanent teeth normally requires five to six months.

Dental implant patients range from age nine to 99. A single congenitally missing tooth can dramatically change the life of a child; the replacement of dentures in an older patient can make the golden years more fulfilling, and considerably gentler to both the digestive tract and the cardiovascular system. Generally, only patients with rare blood diseases, leukemia, or patients being treated with chemotherapy are contraindicated. Patients who have successfully undergone cancer therapy and received permission from their oncologist may benefit from implant treatment.

How long does it take?

 

The answer to this question depend upon the type of dental implant treatment provided.

“Teeth In A Day” treatment allows patients to have fixed teeth from the very first day of treatment.

Conventional dental implant treatment is described below:
The complete implant reconstruction process may take from 4 to 9 months and in some cases longer. Time is needed for your jawbone to grow around the implant and for your replacement teeth to be made. Procedures vary, but it usually includes two surgical steps and then the restoration is fabricated.

First, your dentist or a specialist places the dental implants into your jawbone. Bone cells grow around the implants that may take up to six months to occur. Your dentist or the specialist then makes a small incision in the gum tissue and connects a healing post to your implant(s). The gum tissue heals around the post for a period of 3-6 weeks or longer. Your dentist then attaches a post and makes the replacement teeth. It may take several visits and several months to complete the restoration process