Dental Implants

An Option in Smile Restoration

Nothing can take the place of a healthy set of teeth, but when disease or an accident ends in tooth loss, it's good to know you have some options in restoring your smile.

For some people, dental implants offer a feel and look very similar to their own teeth.

 

Can you pick the Implant?

 

 
 

What are Implants?

Implants are metal posts or frames that are surgically placed beneath your gums. After placement, the implants fuse to the bone of your jaw and act as artificial tooth roots.  gums. After placement, the implants fuse to the bone of your jaw and act as artificial tooth roots. 

What are the benefits of Implants?

One key advantage of implants is that they fuse to the jawbone, offering stable support to artificial teeth. Dentures, bridges or individual teeth mounted to the implants won't slip or shift in your mouth-an especially important benefit when eating and speaking. This secure fit also helps replacement teeth feel more natural than conventional bridges or dentures.

Can anyone have Implants?

Candidates need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant-and they must commit to keeping these structures healthy. Meticulous oral hygiene and regular dental visits are critical to the long-term success of dental implants. Because implant placement involves more than one oral surgery, candidates must be in overall good health. Certain chronic diseases-like diabetes, osteoporosis or chronic sinus problems-may interfere with proper healing and could prevent the bone from attaching to the implant. Long term medication use and certain behaviors, like smoking, also may affect the stability of the implant over time.

What are implants made of?

The implant itself is made of metal-usually titanium as it has proven to be very compatible with bone and other tissues. The surfaces of some implants are treated with a substance that helps them adhere to the bone. Just like conventional crowns, bridges or dentures, the replacement teeth mounted on the implants are made of porcelain, porcelain and metal, or polymer resin.

Are there different types of implants? With proper patient selection, the ADA considers two kinds of implants safe:

  endosteal; and 

 

subperiosteal

Like tooth roots, endosteal implants extend into the jawbone. A sufficient amount of bone is required to support this type of implant.

Afrer placement, the gum tissue may be stitched over the implant for a period from three to six months. During this time the bone attaches to the implant in a process called osseointegration. A second surgery would be needed to attach a post to the implant. Artificial teeth then can be attached to the posts-individually, or grouped on a bridge or denture.

A subperiosteal implant can be used if there is not enough bone present to support an endosteal implant. The subperiosteal implant is a metal frame that fits on the jawbone beneath the gums. As the gums heal, the implant becomes fixed to the jaw. Posts, which are attached to the frame, protrude through the gums. As with the endosteal implant, artificial teeth then are mounted to the posts.

Is there any way to build up the bone in my jaw to support implants?

Some studies suggest that implant placement can be successful in augmented bone. Bone substitutes -either synthetic or natural-can be placed under the gums. Over a period of about six to 12 weeks, these materials can stimulate new bone growth.

 

Implant-supported Bridge

 

 

BEFORE

 

 

 

A BRIDGE IS ATTACHED TO IMPLANTS

 

AFTER

 

Would I need to see a specialist to have implants placed?

Implant placement is not one of the dental specialties recognized by the ADA.

Implants can be placed by general dentists or specialists-like oral and maxillofacial surgeons, prosthodontists or periodontists. Any dentist who places implants, however, should have special training in the procedure. When seeking a dentist qualified to place implants, you should ask:

  how much training the dentist has in this procedure
  how many implant patients he or she has treated;
  how long the dentist has been working with implants

What else should I know about implants?

As with any medical or dental procedure, implant placement is not always successful. You and your dentist should discuss complications related to healing factors that could influence long-term retention of the implant.

Placing the implant and allowing the bone to fuse with the implant will take some time. The entire procedure can take place over a few months and usually involves more than one surgical appointment. Your dentist may be able to make a temporary bridge or denture that you can use during this healing period. Placement and adjustment of the artificial teeth also may require more than one fitting.

Implant placement also can be costly, and some insurance carriers do not cover this procedure. When considering implants, you should check with your insurer to determine how much of the cost will be covered under your plan.

How can I tell if implants are the right choice for me?

 Talk to your dentist. He or she is familiar with your oral health and history, and will help you determine whether dental implants are an option for you.

As part of a thorough evaluation, your dentist will check the condition of your mouth, the supporting bone in your jaws and the way your upper and lower teeth fit together. The dentist may gather additional information by taking dental X-rays or making models of your teeth. This information will help determine whether you are a good candidate for dental implants.

 
 

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