Dental Implants

A remarkable achievement in dental science, implants are permanent restorations anchored in the jaw. For the right patient missing the right tooth, implants can restore the natural feeling of your own teeth. Most people who seek out dental implants want to steady a shifty denture, or bridge a large gap of several lost teeth. Whether a single-tooth implant or implants for an entire jaw, they can be an attractive alternative to fixed bridges or partial dentures.

Trying to replace missing teeth has intrigued mankind since ancient times. Dentists of today have a great technique to help millions of people who have lost teeth due to gum disease, decay, and accidents.

Dental gum diseases and decay have been substantially reduced due to dentistry's great emphasis on preventive dental care. Nevertheless, the results of a national study indicate that millions of individuals still are without complete sets of teeth.

The answer for those people who have lost their teeth and want a natural, comfortable and functional feeling smile is dental implants. Dental implants can allow people to reach their optimum dental health. 

Implants come in different forms, shapes and sizes and are described according to their position, what they are made of and their design. The three most common forms are subperiosteal, blade and root, all of which are performed surgically.

The subperiosteal implant, which is used mostly on the lower jaw, rests on the bone and is probably the oldest form of implant still in use today.

The blade is a flat piece of metal which is placed in the bone. The root form implant is the most common form of implant used today. They are conical in shape, threaded or non-threaded, coated or non-coated with a special material. They are also placed by using a surgical procedure.

The most likely person for an implant is the one missing one or more teeth. The age range can vary, with most patients over the age of fifty. The dentist can replace a single crown, a bridge, or a complete set of teeth. The most important thing is a positive outlook.

The surgery for the placement of the implant requires planning by the dentist. Where the implant is placed determines where the final restoration will be. Therefore, the dentist will take X-rays and models to do the proper planning. Sometimes a CAT scan is used to give the dentist even more information. The dentist should do a complete medical history and may even speak to your physician. The dentist will also discuss the complications of implant placement. The most common ones are: failure of the implant "to take", lip numbness, and infection. These problems are few in number and occur rarely, but must be discussed openly and all your questions answered.

Most implants require two surgical procedures. The first is to place the implant fixture itself into the bone. After this is done, the bone must be allowed to heat for four to six months. During this time the bone weaves its way around the implant and directly on the implant surface. This is called osseointergration. After the implant has integrated, it is uncovered by a second procedure, so the dentist may use it to do the tooth replacement.

Patients are generally surprised how pain-free and easy the surgical procedures go. Relatively few dentists are trained to practice implant dentistry but the number is increasing. The national standards in the field of implant dentistry is being worked on by the American Dental Association.

Currently, most educational programs are provided by implant manufacturers. These programs orient the dentist toward the particular system the manufacturer sells. Dentists who are heavily involved in implant dentistry are usually able to place and/or restore more than one brand of implants.

The implant treatment can be done in several ways. The "team approach" is where an oral surgeon or periodontist performs the surgical part of the procedure. The restorative dentist coordinates the effort by planning the placement spots for the implants. After the implants are healed and uncovered the restorative dentist then put things "back together." The restorative dentist has another important member of the team. This is the person who makes the teeth themselves. The dental technician is the team member who provides the implant prosthesis that connects to the implant. The technician is a valuable member of the team because without him the dentist would be making the final restoration

The advantages of implant surgery can dramatically change a person's life. The ability to smile, chew and function with confidence and without embarrassment can lead to an whole new outlook on life with a new sense of freedom.

The world of implant dentistry is not experimental. With the help of your dentist and a strong desire, you too can enjoy its advantages.