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Implants

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Dump Your Dentures for Good with Implants

We recommend implants over dentures because they are permanently embedded in the bone, just like natural teeth, so they do not come out like dentures. They are very natural, healthy, stable, and functional; plus, they preserve your bone. They are a permanent, low-maintenance solution.

Dentures, on the other hand, require continual maintenance. With implants, really all you need for maintenance are regular biannual cleanings and daily brushing and flossing. You care for them just like you would your natural teeth, and with proper maintenance, they can last forever.

When a patient can eliminate floppy dentures, it means being able to taste foods again, and getting to experience a whole new world of flavors. Think about it: no more yucky-tasting denture glue. No more anxiety over feeling old because of ill-fitting dentures. A free and clear palate to enjoy tastes freely.

By getting rid of dentures, patients take back their lives: no more choosing from a menu of soft foods that can be eaten without embarrassment, but instead a whole wide world of delicious tastes and textures waiting to be explored and rediscovered. It is all possible with cutting-edge technology and skilled dental specialists.

Implants

When it comes to replacing missing teeth, implants are the best option because they preserve the tooth structure of adjacent teeth. Implants don’t need to be connected to other teeth and can’t decay, making them an especially good, permanent option for people who’ve had severe caries/decay in the past.

Implants are small titanium screws that are placed under the gum and allow real, secure, prosthetic teeth to be inserted in the place of natural teeth. Because implants get fused directly to your jawbone, they are able to give valuable stability to artificial teeth, bridges, or dentures, keeping them from sliding around in your mouth. That secure fit is what creates the more natural feel that implants promise. Implants can be used to replace one or more teeth without affecting intact adjacent teeth, or they can provide support and security for a bridge or a denture.

The process may sound painful, especially for someone who has dental fear, but it can be literally painless. The biggest factors that affect the experience are the complexity of the implant and the skill of the dentist. When placed by a skilled dentist, many times, patients don’t need a single painkiller afterwards.

Implants have become more popular in the last twenty years, and they’re most recommended because of their history. Time-tested, implants can last a very long time, ultimately forever. They’re easy, quick, and painless when done properly. The only caveat is they have to be done precisely and accurately. Again, this is why you should only trust a dental specialist to provide implants.

Thanks to continued progress in new technologies, modern-day dental implants have become the preferred treatment option for millions of people today. The truth is dental implants can make an enormous difference in the life of a patient, ending the all-too-common embarrassment and frustration associated with missing teeth or ill-fitting dentures.

Through innovative dental specialists, there are new and proven technologies available that offer clients ingenious, personalized solutions to their dental challenges. You may think your situation is grave or you may be embarrassed by it, but experienced dental specialists have seen it all. Unlike status-quo dentists, they’ll offer you new options and have you walking out of their office with a new smile—in just a few comfortable visits.

The Implant Process

During the implant procedure, patients are numb and comfortable, and certainly if there’s sedation involved, there’s an even greater level of comfort. Sedated patients can rest in twilight while their work is done and then wake up with no recollection of the process.

With sedation, patients feel like their implants were placed in minutes, and all dental fears and anxieties melt away. But even if there’s no sedation involved, it’s possible for patients to be expertly numb and comfortable. Sedation is a patient’s choice. Post-operatively, a mild painkiller is prescribed; but in most cases, patients will come back for a follow-up appointment and admit they never needed a single pill.

In the cases with implants, the prosthetic teeth can be stronger than real teeth, certainly stronger than dentures. Implants do not bend, and they don’t come out. They are permanent. Everything is connected and secured.

Implants are nothing like bridges. Bridges and dentures have serious problems: People can’t floss between them, food gets caught in crevices, and it’s easy for decay to seep inside. An implant avoids all of that. You can’t get decay on an implant because the implant is made of titanium; yet you can floss and brush an implant just like a real tooth, and it’s really the closest thing available to natural teeth.

Implants Also Good Replacement for Fewer Teeth

People who have some missing teeth and some original teeth that are still healthy should also consider implants. For example, implants would benefit a patient who doesn’t have back teeth but still has front teeth that are in decent condition. Although that person might feel the back teeth aren’t important, the truth is that restoration is vital. If the back teeth are left missing, the front teeth will eventually decline due to the increased pressure in the jaw.

When the pressure of eating and other oral functions are not distributed evenly between the front and back teeth, the teeth carrying the entire burden will eventually decline. On the other hand, if implants with crowns are inserted, a patient can preserve the natural front teeth and then have natural, functional, and healthy implants in the back.

Availability of Implants

Over the last 30 years, there have been significant advances in the dental field. Usually when a tooth can’t be saved, it is removed. Sometimes this leaves a hole, and other times, depending on the number of teeth lost, bridges or dentures are necessary. Implants, which have been available for a while, are not usually offered. There are a couple reasons for this.

First, insurance companies discourage them because they don’t want to cover them. This is a shame because implants are a much more natural, functional, and healthy solution. But insurance companies do affect the options presented to patients. Another issue is that most dentists will wait several months after placing an implant before inserting a permanent tooth. This is not ideal for the patient or the dentist.

The truth is that implants are superior to bridges and dentures, both of which present serious health issues and are hard to keep clean. In fact, recent research shows that bridges can no longer be called the standard of care for restoration of a missing tooth. Through new technologies that measure implant stability and integration, it’s possible to send patients home immediately from treatment with nice-looking smiles and no tooth loss. Implants can be placed right away, and in the right situation and the right circumstance, the final crown can be placed within weeks. Thanks to new technologies, dentists can move the restoration process along quickly, which is good news for patients who want results quicker and are willing to push the envelope utilizing the unique technology and experience of specialists.

Ellie’s Story

As a lawyer, Ellie deals with people face-to-face every single day, so taking care of her appearance has been a really important priority not just for her personal life, but also for her career. For as long as she can remember, the one area of her looks that she was never fully comfortable about was her teeth—until last year when she got implants. By replacing some of her missing teeth with complete implants, she finally has the smile she always wanted, not to mention the confidence. Ellie described the process as “painless and perfectly orchestrated.” In her case, a 3-D CT scan was utilized to properly plan for the implant placement. With her busy schedule, Ellie didn’t want to be sent to a radiology center where she would have to make an appointment and wait to be seen. However, Ellie was fortunate to have chosen a dentist with the 3-D scanner on premises. So getting the scan didn’t disrupt her schedule or cost her more financially. After the scan, Ellie was scheduled for the implant placement. During the procedure, Ellie was comfortably sedated and four implants were placed along with beautiful temporary crowns. Ellie’s healing was uneventful and completely painless. When Ellie returned for a follow-up visit, she said that she didn’t even need a single pain pill and that she was immediately able to enjoy her food in ways that she hasn’t enjoyed it in a decade. Four weeks later, permanent porcelain crowns were inserted and Ellie continues to enjoy her new teeth. “My only regret is that I wish I had done it sooner,” she says.

Neil’s Story
Many clients are embarrassed when they first seek dental help. Neil was a good example. A very nice-looking man who dressed well, Neil had a long moustache and didn’t smile often. When he first came into his dental office, he was afraid to open his mouth and reveal the depth of his tooth problems. He told the dentist, “I’m very embarrassed. You’ve never seen a mouth as bad as mine.” What he didn’t realize is that specialists have seen it all. An x-ray revealed Neil only had two or three roots left in his upper gums; he had a malfunctioning denture. Up until that point, he’d kept the denture inside his mouth with glue in order to avoid seeing a dentist; but by seeking treatment, he found a life-changing solution that included implants.
After taking detailed measurements beforehand, the dentist scheduled Neil’s treatment. On the day of the procedure, he was sedated; three hours later, he woke up to a perfect, natural-looking smile that he was proud to show off. He threw away his dentures and has never looked back.

What Makes Implants Work?

Thanks to research and discoveries made in recent years, today’s modern dental implants are able to combat the previous problems associated with replacing teeth. By using the right materials and methods, dentists are able to effectively implant artificial teeth in a way that the body accepts well and responds to.

The Right Methods

Today, dentists take important measures to make implants as effective as possible. First, they must be fastidious about contamination, not allowing anything unnecessary to touch the surgical site and cause infection. In order to avoid any injury to the bone in surgery, they use special tools and drills to both prepare the bone and to prevent the buildup of heat from interfering with healing.

Osseogenesis & Osseointegration

After placing an implant, a dentist covers the site with gum tissue and lets it rest for a period of time, so that healing can be complete. The process in which your body develops new bone cells up and around the implant is called osseogenesis, and the overall healing process, acceptance, and stability creation for implants is called osseointegration. Once the implant has fully integrated into your mouth, it offers strong support for artificial teeth.

Q: Is there a chance my body will reject my implant?
A: Although implants can fail, the chance is very rare. Because the titanium that implants are made from is a totally biocompatible material, your body should accept it as easily as natural tissues and bone.

Timing of Implants

Traditionally speaking, implants are a multistep process, requiring surgery, healing time, and then restoration. While the exact timing is different for each individual, the entire process typically takes 1-6 months to be fully completed.

Placement to Restoration

Implants begin at placement: During implant surgery, the dentist inserts small titanium posts below the gum line. A temporary tooth can be placed on the implant immediately or at a later time after osseointegration is complete – usually in 2-4 months.

Regardless of whether a temporary tooth was placed immediately or not, a permanent tooth will usually be made after the osseointegration period of 2-4 months. The new permanent teeth will be fitted and adjusted for just the right size, shape, color, and fit, ensuring that you have the smile you want. After restoration is complete, you’ll have functional, aesthetically pleasing teeth solidly in your mouth, just as if they were your originals.

Time Between Placement & New Tooth

As mentioned above, after a new implant has been placed, there is usually a period of healing before a new permanent tooth can be added. Fortunately, there are a variety of steps that can minimize the waiting time and make it less uncomfortable for patients.

Immediate Temporization vs. Removable Temporary

Immediate temporization is the term used to describe inserting a transitional implant immediately, one that offers more stability and better aesthetics than a removable tooth. Although removable temporary teeth (i.e., flippers) are another option, experienced implant dentists dislike using them, and patients hate it, too. Beyond just the undesirable aesthetics, removable teeth are psychologically difficult. Nobody wants that constant inconvenience and reminder of what is missing.

“Immediate Load” and Early Load Implants

Certain patients may be eligible for early or immediately loaded implants rather than the traditional longer process. Increasingly popular, these alternatives have one thing in common: they lessen the overall treatment time and completely eliminate the use of a temporary denture. Immediate or early implant placement provides excellent aesthetic and functional results, as well as good experiences for patients due to its quickness.

“Immediate Load” Implants

Immediately loaded implants allow patients to have new teeth installed on the implants on the same day as the surgery. Their benefits are numerous: shorter overall treatment and surgery times, better gum aesthetics, secure fixed prostheses, and better patient satisfaction. Research has shown that immediate loading decreases treatment time and patient discomfort. Also, according to a recent study of 979 patients in a two-year period, immediately loaded implants give predictable success—99.4% in the anterior and 97% in the posterior mandible in that study

While this option is fastest and also seems to result in a better overall appearance, some initial research suggests a higher risk of failure and/or complications. Many factors go into the decision of when to load an implant with a temporary or permanent tooth. A good and experienced implant dentist can help you decide which course of treatment is right for you.

Early Load Implants

Early loading involves placing the temporary or final tooth restoration soon after surgery, usually within a few weeks. According to a recent study, early loading is a better option than delayed loading (2-6 months after surgery) for patients, as delay in loading implants seems to increase marginal bone loss.

Osstell Technology

Many studies have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of immediate and early loading of implants. An important tool in that analysis is the Osstell resonance frequency analyzer (RFA). Osstell offers a noninvasive technology used to determine an implant’s stability at three different stages: at placement, before loading, and after loading. Technological advances in implant dentistry, such as Osstell, allow the whole process to be done quicker and better.

Whatever the timing of your implant, the most important outcome is that after restoration, the implant looks and feels like a natural part of your mouth.

The Truth about Implant Specialists

As in any field of modern medicine, dentistry has several types of specialists who focus on particular aspects of teeth, be they pediatric dentists that specialize in children’s dentistry or periodontists who focus on gum disease. Yet not all specializations are alike. Some professionals may claim to be implant specialists, for example, but the truth is that there is no such recognized designation. While oral surgeons, periodontists, and prosthodontists all receive advanced training for their division of specialty, so-called implant specialists do not.

Therefore, it’s a better option to find a qualified specialist or general dentist who has the experience, knowledge, and skill to work with implants—and you should do your homework to find an excellent implant specialist because serious complications can occur from implant surgery.

What to Look for in an Implant Dentist

Just as you’d interview a person you’d hire, so you should ask questions of your implant dentist. By knowing how to ask the right questions of your dentist, you’ll know how to determine what level of skill and knowledge he or she offers in the area of implants. This way, you’ll have the comfort and peace of mind of knowing you’re working with an experienced professional. Some questions to ask your dentist include:

  • What implant experience do you have?
  • How often do you place implants?
  • Are you a general dentist or a specialist?
  • What type of training have you had in the area of implants?

Perfecting Implant Restorations

Not all implants, or the dentists who place them, are created equal. In reality, it takes specialized care, skill, and experience to make implant restorations look perfect. Sometimes, in dentistry as in the rest of life, the old adage, “You get what you pay for,” is really true.

Dentists who stay on the cutting-edge of implant developments will know about key technologies and changes affecting the field. An awareness of new features like zirconia abutment posts and crowns, as well as knowledge of tissue sculpting, can make the difference between an average result and a superb one.

Overdentures

The conventional dentures of the past were uncomfortable, loose fitting, and bothersome. For some patients, dentures also affected the way they could talk and eat, acting as a constant reminder that their teeth were no longer normal.

Today, there are better options. Implants can be used to attach to dentures to aid in stabilization and fit, improving patient satisfaction significantly as compared to traditional dentures. One study showed specifically in elderly patients that wearing implant overdentures made a positive difference in nutrition and overall quality of life. Another study further proved high overall patient satisfaction—regardless of age, gender, length of follow-up, and several other factors. What’s more, overdentures have been proven to improve maximum bite force and masticatory performance even over a 10-year period.

In addition to the personal benefits that overdentures offer patients, they also are cost-efficient. While not as effective as full implants, they are considerably lower in cost.

New Technologies

Exciting new developments in the field of implants offer potential for even better quality treatment and patient satisfaction. Two especially promising new technologies are zirconia implants and computer-guided surgeries.

Zirconia Implants

Up until recently, titanium and titanium alloys have been the material of choice for implants, but zirconia implants offer a suitable alternative in terms of color, properties, and biocompatibility. A recent study has shown that zirconia implants provide comparable osseointegration to titanium, making them an acceptable implant substance.

Although only available in very limited supply in the United States, zirconia implants have been promoted as a possible substitute to titanium for more than a decade. Zirconia bioceramic offers many benefits, such as improved biocompatibility and lower radioactivity.

Computer-Guided Surgery

Another new technology growing in popularity in the field of dental implants is computer-guided surgery. Utilizing CT-Scan data and a thorough pre-operative assessment, dentists are able to plan the implant placement prior to the surgery. A computer-designed drill guide is made and directs the dentist to the exact location of the planned implant. This allows the restoration tooth to be made with ideal dimensions and esthetic appearance.

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