Dental Implants have become one of the most popular, and predictable procedures for tooth replacement offered in dentistry. They have been proven to be safe and successful for long term replacement of missing teeth. Dental implants are an artificial tooth root (usually made of titanium) that a periodontist or oral surgeon places into your jaw to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth.
What can dental implants do?
They can replace a single tooth, be support for a bridge, or as support for a denture (making it more comfortable and secure). Dental implants are an ideal option for people in generally good oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, injury, or any other reason.
Dental implants are actually more tooth saving than traditional crowns and bridges, since dental implants do not cut down healthy teeth or rely on adjacent teeth for support. Sufficient bone is needed to support the dental implants, and the best candidates have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease. Dental implants are intimately connected with the underlying bone and gum tissues in the mouth. So, proper oral hygiene is necessary for long term success.
With technique and material advances, dental bone grafts are now more successful than ever and can be used to augment your natural bone. Be upfront with your dentist regarding health issues. There is an increased risk of failure in patients who smoke. For this reason, dental implants are frequently placed only after a patient has stopped smoking.
Dental implant success is related to surgeon’s skill, quality and quantity of the bone available at the site, and the patient’s oral hygiene maintenance. Failure of dental implants is usually due to the failure of the implant to osseointegrate (fuse with bone) correctly, or vice-versa. It is considered a failure if it is lost, mobile or shows marked bone loss around the implant. Dental implants are not susceptible to dental caries but they can develop a condition called Peri-implantitis.
This is an inflammatory condition of the gingival tissue and/or bone around the implant which may result in bone loss and eventual loss of the implant. It is usually associated with chronic infection. Peri-implantitis is more likely to occur in heavy smokers, patients with diabetes, patients with poor oral hygiene and cases where the gingival around the implant is thin.
More rarely, dental implants may fail because of poor surgical placement, not having enough bone healing prior to restoring with a crown or may be overloaded initially, causing failure to integrate. If smoking and positioning problems exist prior to implant surgery, dentists often recommend to patients that implants may not be the best option.
Then they will recommend a bridge or a partial denture to replace the missing tooth. Once restored, dental implants are very natural looking and the patient will not feel any difference after it is healed. You may even forget you ever lost a tooth in the first place. A person’s self esteem is definitely affected by his/her smile. Perhaps you hide your smile because of spaces from missing teeth. Maybe your dentures don’t feel secure. Perhaps you have difficulty chewing.
If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to smile, speak and eat again with comfort and confidence, there is good news! Dental implants are teeth that can look and feel just like your own! Under proper conditions dental implants can last a lifetime. Long-term studies continue to show improving success rates for dental implants. If you have lost a tooth or are facing tooth loss, you might wonder……. Can I get dental implants? Ask your dentist, more often than not, the answer is yes!