Did you know that dental implants are frequently the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth? Statistics show that 69% of adults ages 35-44 have lost at least one permanent tooth to an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal or tooth decay.
A dental implant is actually a replacement for the root of a tooth. Implants are used to replace one or more teeth or provide support and stability for a full or partial denture. They are surgically placed into the jaw and fuse with the bone. It is obviously not the same as the original connection, but it functions just the same. Over the past twenty years that implants have been used, they have greatly changed the face of dentistry.
Implants are made of titanium, which is lightweight, strong and biocompatible, which means that the body does not reject it. Titanium and titanium alloys are the most widely used metals in both dental and other bone implants, such as orthopedic joint re-placements. Dental implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device. Because the titanium biochemically joins to bone to replace the root, you get a bond that more accurately replicates the one found in nature.
When a tooth is lost, there is bone loss that will take place under the surface. This will eventually occur in that region because the root is no longer stimulating and stabilizing the bone. Surrounding each tooth is an alveolar bone that supports the tooth. When a tooth is lost, that bone basically melts away.
Besides causing damage to the immediate area, tooth loss affects remaining teeth as well. Teeth create a structure for the face and their loss can shift the surrounding teeth, creating esthetic issues and bite problems. A lost tooth can also affect facial structures such as the jaw, muscles, jaw joints, and even the skin. If several teeth are lost, it’s not uncommon to suffer from social consequences and poor nutrition.
When the supporting alveolar bone melts away, it’s gone for good. However, this does not mean nothing can be done about it. Through grafting, a skilled dental professional can recreate bone to fuse with and support an implant. This is wonderful news, but it is still best to have a dental implant as soon as possible after the tooth is lost for the most predictable esthetic outcome.
Replacing a tooth with an implant and a crown is not a one-day procedure. It is actually a series of steps. Before the implant is placed, Dr. Gaebelein or Dr. Wong will do a comprehensive dental examination. During the exam there will be a review of your medical and dental history. A 3D scan will be taken at your examination to determine if you have adequate bone in the jaw to support the implant. Using the latest technology, Dr. Gaebelein or Dr. Wong can create a custom treatment plan that fits your dental needs. Once the implant is placed, it needs time to properly adhere to the bone and create a healthy fusion before the crown can be attached and full bite force can be applied. In most cases, it can take 6 months to a year to fully complete the process.
They offer many advantages over traditional methods of tooth replacement such as:
Better Esthetics: Implants look and feel like your own teeth.
Tooth saving: Dental implants don’t sacrifice the quality of your adjacent teeth like a bridge does. Your natural teeth are un-touched and are not needed for support.
Confidence: Dental implants will allow you to speak and eat with comfort. They secure and offer more support for a full or partial denture.
Reliable: The success rate of dental implants is highly predictable.
If you would like to know if you are a candidate for dental implants please call our office to schedule an appointment. Dr. Gaebelein or Dr. Wong can consult with you and discuss your options. Implants are a worthwhile investment and sometimes, insurance companies cover a portion. Our staff can work with you to come up with a financial plan to make this procedure affordable.