Did you know that dental implants are designed to act as a replacement for your natural tooth or teeth? They are frequently the ideal and best treatment option to replace missing teeth. More and more now people are getting dental implants. They are a long-term solution that is inserted and anchored in your jawbone, just like your natural teeth.
Thirty years ago, when patients lose their teeth, they have had no alternative but to use a fixed bridge or removable denture to allow them to eat, speak clearly and smile. However, fixed bridges can damage your adjacent neighbouring teeth and can only replace 1 or 2 teeth usually. Removable dentures themselves are often uncomfortable, must be removed, and are not a permanent solution. They can also lead to bone loss in the area where the tooth or teeth are missing.
Instead of using your adjacent teeth as anchors such as fixed bridges or resting on the gum line, implants are placed into your jawbone and its titanium metal fuses with your bone through a process called “osseointegration.” They do not slip out or make noises that show you have “false teeth”. Implants also do not develop cavities like your natural teeth. Often recurrent decay and periodontal gum disease can cause your fixed bridgework to fail earlier. Implants last longer than bridges.
In addition, unlike fixed bridges or removable dentures, dental implants will not harm your neighbouring natural teeth and will not cause bone loss in the jaw. With proper maintenance, they can last you a lifetime. Nearly everyone that can undergo routine dental care can successfully have implants placed in their jaw bone. Implants have an overall success rate of about 95%. Because dental implant surgery is, basically, surgery; it is best done by a trained surgeon.
Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon has the surgical expertise and training to manage all your dental implant placement needs. This includes proper treatment planning using the latest implant planning software available and 3D imaging studies to investigate your bone quantity and quality for implants. Furthermore, your oral and maxillofacial surgeon can perform the complex bone grafting surgeries to enable you to have successful dental implants.
Today there is another option for patients who are missing permanent teeth. Rather than resting on the gum line like removable dentures, or using adjacent teeth as anchors like fixed bridges, dental implants are long-term replacements that your oral and maxillofacial surgeon surgically places in the jawbone. Composed of titanium metal that “fuses” with the jawbone through a process called “osseointegration,” dental implants never slip or make embarrassing noises that advertise the fact that you have “false teeth,” and never decay like teeth anchoring fixed bridges.
Because dental implants fuse with the jawbone, bone loss is generally not a problem. After more than 20 years of service, the vast majority of dental implants first placed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons in Canada continue to still function at peak performance. More importantly, the recipients of those early dental implants are still satisfied they made the right choice.
If properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime.
WHAT IS A DENTAL IMPLANT?
A dental implant is designed to replace the missing root and to hold the artificial crown of the tooth in place. Natural teeth consist of the crown and the root. The crown is the visible part of the tooth that you can see in the mouth. Supporting the crown is the root of the tooth that extends into the jaw bone. The dental implant effectively replaces the root part of the tooth.
Basically, a dental implant provides a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth. The implant is composed of titanium, titanium alloy or ceramics, which are generally well-tolerated by the human body and heals together with the bone tissue to form a new, stable tooth root. The term “osseointegration” describes a process by which the implant forms a stable union with your jaw bone to support the teeth.
Implants can be used to replace
- one individual tooth
- more than one tooth, or
- all the teeth
Anatomy of a Dental Implant
A dental implant is basically a small titanium screw inserted into your jawbone
There are three parts to what is commonly described as an implant. For a dental implant that is replacing one single tooth: there is the implant component itself which is inserted into and fused with the jawbone; the abutment which fits over the top of the implant and protrudes from the gum line; and the crown which is connected to the abutment and replaces your natural crown.
Replacing one tooth
You might need to replace a missing tooth because it was lost from an accident or because it was never present from birth. A single tooth replaced by a dental implant does not have to harm the neighbouring teeth like conventional fixed bridges
Replacing several teeth
If you have lost several teeth there are two solutions: separate crowns on dental implants or a bridge attached to several dental implants.
Replacing all teeth with a fixed prosthesis
If all your teeth are lost in one or both jaws, you can choose a permanent solution where all the teeth are placed by a bridge anchored to several implants. Depending on your bone quality and quantity, your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will inform you how many implants are needed for a fixed implant bridge. This solution is designed to be much more stable and convenient than conventional removable dentures.
Replacing all teeth with a removable prosthesis
If all your teeth are lost in one or both jaws, you can choose a removable prosthesis that is connected to two or more dental implants. The number of implants that you need will depend on your bone quality and quantity. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon has the expertise to help you plan your prosthesis. Implant supported removable prosthesis has the advantage that they can be removed for oral hygiene. Unlike traditional removable dentures, these implant supported dentures are much more stable and can clip on to your implants so you don’t have to worry about them moving or falling out!
There are many reasons why you should choose a dental implant over traditional methods of replacing a tooth.
- they offer reliable stability for a natural looking solution to your missing tooth or teeth
- they help maintain your bone
- your adjacent neighbouring teeth don’t have to be ground down to make a traditional bridge
- their overall success rate and longevity versus traditional methods
Before implants became the standard care, many people who are missing a tooth had to have a fixed bridge to replace the missing tooth. The problem with fixed bridges is that they require the cutting down of healthy neighbouring teeth. This process may damage these teeth more and may even require root canal treatment in the future. Then there is the chance that the fixed bridge may have to be replaced once, twice or more over the course of a lifetime. Some studies have shown that there is a failure rate of up to 30% in teeth located next to a fixed bridge or removable partial denture. Implants will replace your missing tooth without harming the adjacent teeth. Implants will restore the aesthetic form and function of your missing tooth. With a fixed bridge, bone loss will continue in the missing tooth area. Bone is maintained only by the presence of natural teeth or implants. In other words, implant placement can prevent further bone loss in the future. With almost 50 years of clinical research to back them up and overall success rate of about 95%, dental implants are frequently the best treatment option for replacing missing teetDental Implants vs. Conventional Dentures Many patients who have selected dental implants describe a quality of life that is much more comfortable and secure than the lifestyle endured by those with fixed bridges or removable dentures. Dentures often make a person feel and look older than they are, cause embarrassment in social situations when they slip and click, and restrict the everyday pleasure of eating comfortably. When they count the benefits they enjoy as a result of their dental implants, patients say their implants Implants eliminate the day-to-day frustrations and discomfort of ill-fitting dentures. They allow people to enjoy a healthy and varied diet without the restrictions many denture wearers face. With a sense of renewed self-confidence, many people rediscover the excitement of an active lifestyle shared with family and friends and the chance to speak clearly and comfortably with co-workers. For all these reasons, people with dental implants often say they feel better… they look better… they live better.
DENTAL IMPLANTS VERSUS CONVENTIONAL DENTURES
You don’t need to worry about your dentures coming loose anymore. You can say goodbye to your denture adhesives. You don’t have to worry about sore gums from d For most people who are missing most or all of their teeth, they are looking for a denture replacement solution that is more stable that can improve their quality of life compared to conventional dentures. Dental implants are the solution. These are called implant-supported dentures. Patients that select implants to support their dentures always feel more comfortable and happier with their dentures. Implants eliminate the day-to-day frustrations and discomfort of ill-fitting dentures. A fixed denture is a dental implant bridge that is supported for four or more dental implants. They can replace all the teeth that are missing in your mouth and make your permanent dentures feel very much like your natural teeth did. They are permanently fixed in your mouth and don’t need to be removed. A removable denture can also take advantage of dental implants. These dental implant-supported dentures can be removed for cleaning like conventional dentures. However, these dentures can be clipped or snapped on to the dental implants. When in place, they will not move around like your current dentures. They will look and function very much like your natural teeth did. For all these reasons, people with dental implants report they are much happier.
WHAT TO EXPECT FOR YOUR DENTAL IMPLANT PROCEDURE
Dental implants are a team effort. They require a team approach spanning several disciplines. A successful implant requires that all parties involved — the patient; the oral and maxillofacial surgeon who surgically places the implant; and the restorative dentist who makes the crown for the implant, follow a careful treatment plan. All members of the implant team will have good communication with each other to make sure everyone clearly understands what needs to be done to meet the patient’s expectations.
Your First Visit
Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will determine whether an implant is a right solution for you. Your medical history will be reviewed thoroughly and a detailed clinical examination will be conducted. Then special three-dimensional imaging called cone-beam CT technology will be taken to evaluate your bone for placement of dental implants. One important condition for the treatment is that there is sufficient bone.
After the decision is reached to place a dental implant, your oral and maxillofacial surgeon and your restorative dentist will together treatment plan how your implant will be placed and what restorative options there are. They will decide how many implants you need if you need more than one, and whether what your restoration will look like. Sometimes you may not have enough bone for the implant placement due to bone loss from missing tooth or teeth. You also may not have enough soft tissue such as gum tissue for a good esthetic result. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will show you and provide you with the bone grafting and/or soft tissue augmentation procedure you might need in addition to your dental implants. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon can also use special technology to treatment plan your implant surgery and restorations. This is called Cone Beam CT Guided Surgery. It uses a 3D representation of your jawbone to plan exactly how your implants are placed or positioned and exactly what your future tooth or denture will look like in your mouth.
Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will insert your dental implant either under intravenous sedation or under local anesthesia depending on your needs. A temporary restoration or healing abutment may be placed on the implant during the healing stage. You may have a transitional denture in place while the implants are healing. Implant surgery is very simple and straightforward, easier than extracting teeth. Depending on your bone quality, you may wait 3-6 months for the implant to heal before the permanent crown or denture can be placed.
When the implants have healed, the restorative dentist will take an impression of the upper and lower jaws, just like they would for conventional dentures or fixed bridges. The dental laboratory will then use this impression to create your crown, bridge or denture to be placed on top of the implants.
The teamwork continues long after the implant and crown or denture have been placed. Your implants require regular check-ups and good oral hygiene just like your natural teeth. Both your surgeon and the restorative dentist will continue to work together to provide the highest level of aftercare and ensure the long-term function of your implants.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
Dental implants are solutions for almost everyone; whether you are young, middle-aged or older, or whether you only need to replace one tooth or all of your teeth. Dental implants can be placed in almost everyone with the exception of growing children. If you can have routine dental treatment at the dental office, you generally can have an implant and bone grafting procedure performed. Some medical conditions are associated with precautions for implant placement such as uncontrolled diabetes or an active malignancy.
Gum Disease or Problem Teeth
Almost all implants placed in patients who have lost their teeth to periodontal disease or decay have been successful.
Currently Wearing Partials or Dentures
As previously mentioned, implants are more comfortable than your existing conventional dentures.
Although smoking lowers the success rate of implants, it doesn’t eliminate the possibility of getting them.
Bone loss is not uncommon for people who have lost teeth or had periodontal disease. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained and experienced in grafting bone to safely and permanently secure the implant.
Implant tooth replacement in children is usually deferred until their jaw growth is complete
There are, however, some instances when a dental implant may be appropriate, such as when it is part of the child’s orthodontic treatment plan. Your family dentist or orthodontist can guide you in this instance.