More on Dental Implants

The ideal candidate for a dental implants is in good general and oral health, regardless of age. Adequate bone in your jawbone is needed to support the implant, and the best candidates have healthy gum tissues free of periodontal disease. However, there are procedures to enhance the quantity and quality of the bone for suitable candidates. If you get implants, you need to floss and brush daily, and get your professional cleaning as often as four times a year.

Implants aren't advised if you suffer from an uncontrolled chronic illness such as diabetes, as this can interfere with healing. If you're a smoker, you're a compromised candidate for implants; smokers are at greater risk for gum disease than non-smokers, and gum disease weakens the gum and bone tissue needed to support implants.

Evaluation

First, x-rays are taken to make sure there is adequate bone in the jaw to support the titanium cylinders. Then, we will create models of your mouth, which allow us to make precise measurements and pinpoint the exact location of the implant.

Procedure


Restoring your smile with dental implants is accomplished in two phases:

1. Surgical placement - Implants are left under the gums for several months while the bone attaches to them.

2. Restorative phase
- After healing, the implants are re-exposed and natural looking teeth are attached to them.
In some cases, the implants can bear new teeth immediately following the surgical implant placement, skipping the second phase.

1. You may be given medication to relax you. Your mouth is numbed. The gum covering the spot where the implant will go is lifted back and the titanium implant is placed in your jawbone. The gum is then sutured, completely covering the implant. You'll wear a temporary crown or bridge while the bone tissue in your jaw fuses to the implant; this process is called osseointegration, and takes months.

2. The second phase starts with surgical exposure of the implants. Another tiny incision is made in your gums, and a small extension is placed to raise it above the gum line. Your dentist will then start a series of appointments to create your new tooth or teeth. They usually include making impressions of your mouth. The last step is the placement of the tooth or teeth.

The ultimate success of implants depends on your home care, and the support they receive through regular checkups and cleanings.

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Timing

Start-to-finish, the procedure can take weeks to months. The lengthy part is called osseointegration, which is the fusing of the implant to the bone tissue.

Implants are extremely durable, so they're unlikely to ever break or crack. However, many newer dental treatments labeled "discretionary" are typically not covered by dental insurance, dental implants including.

Alternatives to Implants


Implants are often used to replace one or many missing teeth. If you decide against implants, there are a few other options:

• partial dentures - if you have some remaining strong teeth, a partial denture is held in place by clips or other special attachments

• bridges - if there are teeth remaining next to the affected tooth to use the neighboring teeth as anchors

• full dentures - if you now wear a denture, replacing or relining it may allow you to continue to use it

• delaying treatment - while you risk permanent bone loss and other changes, you may decide to wait while you consider your options.

Risks of No Treatment

Placing a dental implant after a tooth's been lost can prevent a chain reaction of problems that could affect the entire mouth. Teeth need each other for support.

When a tooth is lost, it changes the biting forces on the teeth next to the space, causing them to shift. When a tooth no longer has anything to chew against, it begins to extrude out of the socket. You can eventually end up losing that tooth, as well.

As your bite changes, it becomes increasingly difficult to chew your food, possibly damaging your jaw joint, the TMJ. It's much harder to clean teeth that have shifted. Harmful plaque and tartar collect in these new hard-to-reach places, causing cavities and the permanent bone loss that comes with gum disease.

Dental implants properties:

• Esthetic, secure and very natural-looking and feeling
• Conservative tooth-saving
• Highly predictable durable long term solution to a tooth loss.

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