More than 30 million Americans are missing all of their teeth in one or both jaws. By the age of 74, 26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth. 69% of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth as a result of an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal or tooth decay.
Although you have a number of restorative options for the treatment of missing teeth, none have proven to be as functionally effective and durable as dental implants. In many cases, dental implants may be the only logical choice for the restoration of all necessary functionality of the teeth and supporting structures.
Oral Surgery & Implant Specialists is part of your dental implant team. This team includes your oral and maxillofacial surgeon, dentist, hygienist, and you in providing and maintaining your dental implant restoration in the best possible health.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are precision devices that are used to replace the root of a missing tooth. These titanium posts are anchored into the jawbone where it can support a single tooth crown, a multi-crown bridge, or stabilize a removable partial or full denture.
What Causes Tooth Loss?
• Tooth decay
• Root canal failure
• Gum Disease
• Trauma to the mouth
• Excessive wear and tear
• Inherited defects
What Happens if I Don’t Pursue Treatment?
You may feel self-conscious when you smile or talk. Tooth loss can make eating difficult. .You will also experience tissue loss in an area of missing teeth. If necessary, bone and soft tissue grafting can restore the tissue needed to place a dental implant.
Your teeth will naturally tip to try to close the gap of your missing tooth which may cause spacing between your teeth. This tooth drifting can cause deep gum pocketing and difficult oral hygiene.
How Are Dental Implants Placed?
The importance of placing dental implants is to create a functional and structural connection between your bone and the dental implant. This process occurs through what is called osseointegration. Osseointegration occurs when the bone of your jaw grows directly onto the implant surface, anchoring the dental implant directly to your jaw. Dental implant therapy is done in several steps:
We will perform a thorough oral examination and address the situation that your referring dentist has sent you for. This may include:
• Review your dental and medical history
• Thorough exam of your mouth, jaws, head, and neck
• Bite evaluation
• Height and width of your jawbones
• Anatomic structures identification (such as nerve and sinus positions)
• Dental x-rays (often using a Cone Beam CT scan for greatest accuracy)
If you qualify as a good candidate for dental implants, a treatment plan will be prepared for you and anesthesia options discussed.
We may have to prepare the area where your tooth is missing prior to placing the implant using bone and soft tissue grafting. This could include removal of excess gum tissue or bone, or reshaping or rebuilding the bone. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon is an expert in comfortably preparing the area of your jaw to accept a dental implant.
We will carefully place the implant (a small titanium post) in your jaw with a special surgical technique, and allow it to anchor and heal to the jaw bone. This process usually takes about 2 to 4 months. A temporary tooth can often be placed in your mouth while your implant heals.
Once the implant has anchored to your jaw bone, the permanent restoration can be placed over the implant by your family dentist. In denture cases, your family dentist will fit the implant denture to the implants, giving a retentive and stable denture for your comfort.
Are Dental Implants Successful?
Dental implants have been utilized for over 30 years. Studies have consistently shown success rates above 95%. The stability and function afforded by dental implants can make dramatic improvements in eating, speaking, and appearance.
How Do I Care for My Dental Implants?
Because dental implants integrate to your bone, crowns attached to your dental implants look and act like natural teeth. When brushing and flossing your dental implants you use the same techniques that you use on your natural teeth.
In some cases, the doctors may prescribe a special daily mouth rinse for you. Careful home cleaning and regular professional care are an important part of making your dental implant a life-long investment.