Dental implants provide individuals with a long-term, esthetically pleasing way to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth. They act and feel like natural teeth and, with proper maintenance, dental implants can last a lifetime. Before this option was available, patients chose bridges, partial dentures, and full dentures for replacment of missing teeth. These options, in most cases, will need replacement.
In our practice, Dr. Jason Johnson has received additional training in the preparation, placement, and maintenance of dental implants including a three year residency at the University of Minnesota. Please feel free to ask questions via email, telephone, or an appointment can be scheduled for a complimentary implant evaluation.
Dental implants, a majority of the time, are the most predictable and ideal option to replace teeth.
To be a candidate for dental implants, individuals should have good overall health and oral health. The implant site must have sufficient bone depth and width in the jaw. If necessary, bone grafting can accomplish this. The mouth should be free of periodontal (gum) disease to lessen the risk of infection and complications. Patients who smoke are at a higher risk of failure so smoking cessation is recommended.
Since periodontists are experts in treating the bone and gum tissue that implants rely on for support, they are the ideal professionals to place and maintain your dental implant(s).
A dental implant(s) is an artifical tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a crown, bridge, or denture. They will look, feel and act like natural teeth. Your dentist and periodontist will work closely in determining when, where, and how your dental implant(s) will be placed. A treatment plan tailored to your specific needs will be discussed with you. Often times, bone grafting is necessary prior to or in conjunction with placement of an implant to ensure there is sufficient bone levels to hold the implant. After an implant is placed and, in most cases, there is a healing period before the restoration can be started with your general dentist.
As with natural teeth, it will still be necessary to brush and floss to keep the tissues and bone healthy around the implant. With proper maintenance and home care, implants can last a lifetime.
If you are missing or will be losing a single tooth, one implant and crown can replace it. The dental implant will replace the lost root and tooth. The popularity in dental implants has rapidly become the treatment of choice when replacing missing teeth.
In the past, treatment options for a single missing tooth were limited to bridges or partial dentures which eventually need replacement. A single dental implant does not compromise the integrity of adjacent teeth. With a tooth supported fixed bridge, neighboring teeth have tooth structure ground off or removed making it possible to cement abutment crowns over them. Removable partial dentures are occasionally used to replace missing teeth but must be removed for cleaning trapped food and are easily broken.
The root form of a dental implant also helps to preserve the bone. With a bridge or removable partial denture, the bone that previously supported the tooth will resorb (deteriorate) creating a concavity. Dental implants integrate with the jawbone, keeping the bone intact and healthy. Often times, the gum tissue around the teeth supporting a bridge recedes exposing the root surface which is susceptible to decay. In addition, this gum recession can visibly expose the metal base of the crown. Dental implants are esthetically pleasing and easily maintained.
If you are missing several teeth, an implant supported full bridge or full denture is an ideal replacement option. Dental implant root forms can be strategically placed in the jaw at multiple locations to anchor a denture. This is one of the most significant advantages of an implant supported denture. Without dental implants,a traditional denture wearer is likely to experience ill fitting dentures. Those dentures eventually will become loose and can fall out or lose suction when eating. Dental implant supported prosthetics are stable, comfortable, and feel natural.
The first step is placing the implant, which looks like a screw or cylinder, into the jaw. Local anesthetic is used to keep the area numb similar to when restorative care is provided at your general dentist. The implant site is covered with gum tissue and sutured. The implant is left to heal and integrate with the bone for 3-6 months. During this time, a temporary replacement option can be used if desired.
Once proper healing has occurred, your periodontist will uncover the implant(s). At this point, your general dentist can attach an abutment (extension) to the implant. The abutment is a small metal post that will be the foundation of your crown, bridge, or denture. Now you are ready to proceed with the finishing step and have your restoration completed with your general dentist.
In some cases, a one-stage dental implant is used. These implants already have the abutment attached. The type of implant system to be used will be discussed between you, your dentist, and your periodontist to determine the best system for you.
Implant Supported Bridges and Dentures use essentially the same steps as a single tooth implant. However, in addition to the abutments, there is typically an attachment device for the bridge or denture to clip onto. This is dependent on the number of implants placed and your restorative plan. There is an amazing difference between traditional bridges, partials, and dentures and implant supported prosthetics.
March/April 2011 AARP The Magazine The Bionic Mouth
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