Are Dental Implants Right For Me?
In most cases you are a candidate for dental implants if you have lost teeth. There are some conditions and diseases that can affect whether dental implants are right for you. So you have to be in good health. If you have uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, radiation to the jaws, smoking, alcoholism, or uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease dental implants might not fuse to your bone. You need to make sure to let your dental surgeon know all about your medical status (past and present). Your dentist will also need to know all medications you are taking: prescribed, alternative (herbal) or over-the-counter.
Placement of dental implants requires a detailed assessment of your overall stomato-gnathic system. This will require collecting records that include models of your mouth and bite and specialized radiographs (x-rays). These x-rays might include 3D scans known as computerized tomograms (CT scans). Using computer imaging makes it easier for your cosmetic dentist to place your new dental implants in exactly the right position in the bone.
Is Bone Really Lost When Teeth Are Lost?
Human bone needs stimulation to keep its form and density. In the bone that supports your teeth (alveolar bone) the necessary stimulation comes from the teeth themselves. When a tooth is lost, the lack of stimulation results in the loss of alveolar bone. There is a big (up to 25%) decrease in width of bone during the first year after tooth loss. There will also be an overall decrease in height over the next few years.
The more teeth that are lost, the more function that is lost. This leads to some potentially serious cosmetic and functional problems. It is especially hard on people who have lost all of their teeth. But it doesn’t stop there. After alveolar bone is lost, the bone beneath it, basal bone — your jawbone — also begins to melt away.
Can Bone Be Preserved to Support Dental Implants?
Grafting bone into the extraction sockets at the time of tooth loss or removal is an option to make sure the bone is wide enough to support dental implants. There are also surgical techniques also available to regrow bone that has been lost. This would also provide the necessary bone substance for anchoring implants. A huge reason to consider dental implants to replace missing teeth is the maintenance of jawbone.
Bone needs stimulation not only to keep it’s form, but also to stay healthy. Because dental implants fuse to the bone, they stabilize it and prevent further bone loss. Resorption is a normal and inevitable process in which bone is lost when it is no longer supporting or connected to teeth. Dental implants are the only way to stop this process and preserve the bone.
Who Places Dental Implants and How Is It Done?
A complete dental team assesses and plans dental implant placement and restoration. Part of their plan includes the fabrication of the crowns, bridgework or dentures that attach atop the implants and are visible in your mouth. The dental team consists of a dental surgical specialist — a periodontist, oral surgeon, and/or a general dentist with advanced training in implant surgery; a restorative dentist, who plans and places the tooth restorations; and a dental laboratory technician who makes them.
A simple dental surgical procedure is used to place dental implants. During this surgery precision channels are created in the jawbone usually using a surgical guide. The implants are then fitted into the sites so that they are in intimate contact with the bone. Generally they require two to six months to fuse to the bone. After that they can have tooth restorations attached to them and the process is completed.
Can a Dental Implant Tooth Be Replaced?
Single Tooth Replacement: At the same time an implant is placed or after a period of healing, an abutment is attached to the implant. An abutment is a device that “abuts” or joins the implant to a tooth form called a crown. The crown replaces the tooth part you see in the mouth. The abutment will hold a custom-made crown that the dental laboratory will fabricate and match to your existing teeth. The custom crown is cemented or screwed onto the abutment to permanently keep it in place. Once the crown is in place you will not be able to see it as different than your natural teeth.
Fixed Multiple Tooth Replacement: Temporary healing caps or abutments may be placed on multiple implants until the healing phase is complete. After healing, permanent abutments are attached to the implants. They can attach to custom-made crowns or bridgework that a dental laboratory will fabricate to match your existing teeth. In the final step, the custom bridge, which will replace multiple teeth, is cemented or screwed onto the abutments. The teeth have been replaced without disturbing the healthy teeth next to them, and bone loss has been halted.
Removable Implant-Supported Tooth Replacement: If all of your lower teeth are missing, depending on the design of the removable restoration, two to six implants may be used to support a lower denture. If all of your upper teeth are missing, a minimum of four implants may be used to support an upper denture. Removable dentures are often used to replace extensive tooth, bone and gum-tissue loss, thus providing support for the facial skeleton, lip and cheeks. A new denture can have attachments that snap or clip it into place on the implants or a custom made, milled bar can be fabricated to create additional strength and support for the restoration. Design variations are often related to your bone density and number of implants present; your dentist will discuss these options during your consultation. A significant advantage of a removable denture is facilitating the cleaning of the dental implants.
How Can Someone Tell Implant Tooth Replacements From Real Teeth?
Natural teeth and dental implants may look the same, feel the same, and even function in a similar way, but they are very different. The most important differences are in the way they attach to the surrounding bone, their response to dental disease, their maintenance, and repair.
Teeth attach to the surrounding bone by a periodontal ligament (“peri” – around; “dont” – tooth) made up of collagen fibers that join into the tooth on one side and bone on the other. Dental implants fuse directly to the bone.
The gum tissues also attach to the root of a tooth with collagen fibers as described above. However, gum tissues can only stick to the surface of dental implants.
Teeth are susceptible to dental decay as well as the need for root canal therapy. Dental implants are metal and do not decay or need root canal. You many want to have all your teeth removed and get an entire mouth full of implants! But maybe not … Although teeth may also be susceptible to periodontal (gum) disease, dental implants may be susceptible to peri-implantitis, an inflammatory response to bacterial biofilm of the tissues surrounding the implant. This can result in disintegration of the bone to the implant.
What type of maintenance do dental implants require?
Implant crowns and other prosthetic (false) tooth replacements are made to be remarkably failsafe systems. They are removable and replaceable (only by your dentist), so that if damage or wear necessitates replacement, this can be accomplished without affecting the implant(s) or attachment to the bone.
It is important to know that dential implants do require maintenance. It is always important to practice good daily oral hygiene. This includes brushing and flossing to control bacterial biofilm. It is also important to see your dentist and dental hygienist for regular checkups. They have the special instruments that are necessary to clean dental implants, without damaging their metal surface beneath the gum tissues. Your Bellevue dentist will want to monitor your implants to make sure that the implant crowns, bridgework or dentures are functioning adequately.
If you are looking for a Bellevue Cosmetic Dentist to do the work needed for your dental implants, make sure to consult Dental Clinic Bellevue. If dental implants turn out not to be a good option for you, you might want to consider different options for teeth whitening.