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A Successful Dental Implant Experience

In order for dental implants to be successful there are several factors that must be met. Patients that are not considered good candidates include those with uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, undergoing radiation or chemotherapy treatments, smoking, alcoholism or gum disease. It is also important to notify your implant specialist of any prescribed, alternative or over-the-counter medications that you are taking.

It is necessary to have sufficient bone density for the implant to graft to properly.
Bone needs stimulation to maintain its form and density. In a natural state , the necessary stimulation comes from the teeth themselves. When a tooth is lost, the lack of stimulation causes loss of bone in the area supporting the teeth. There is a 25% decrease in width of bone during the first year after tooth loss and an overall decrease in height over the next few years.

The more teeth lost, the more function lost. This leads to some particularly serious aesthetic and functional problems, particularly in people who have lost all of their teeth. And it doesn’t stop there. After bone that supported the teeth is lost, the bone beneath it, the jawbone  proper also begins to disintegrate.

The bone must be regenerated either at the time of extraction by grafting the  bone into the sockets at the time of tooth loss or removal or through surgical techniques by which artificial or donor bone is grafted into the area that is deficient. This will provide the necessary bone substance for anchoring implants. This a primary reason to consider dental implants to replace missing teeth is the maintenance of jawbone. Only dental implants can stop the loss of jawbone.

Placing dental implants requires a surgical procedure in which precision channels are created in the jawbone, often using a surgical guide. The implants are then fitted into the sites so that they are in intimate contact with the bone. They generally require two to six months to fuse to the bone before they can have tooth restorations attached to them to complete the process.

There are three options for dental implants.

  • If it is to replace a single tooth the implant may be placed immediately or after a period of healing. Then an abutment is attached to the implant. This is a device that  joins the implant to a crown, the tooth part you see in the mouth, the dental laboratory has fabricated and is a 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 it is indistinguishable from your natural teeth.
  • As with single tooth replacement, when placing multiple tooth replacements, temporary healing caps or abutments may be placed on multiple implants until the healing phase is complete. After healing, the permanent abutments are attached to the implants. They can attach to 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 onto the abutments. The teeth have been replaced without disturbing the healthy teeth next to them, and bone loss has been halted.
  •  The third option for dental implants is 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.

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.

Nevertheless, implants do require maintenance. It is important to practice good daily oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing. It is also important to see your dentist and dental hygienist. Special instruments are necessary to clean dental implants that will not damage their metal surface beneath the gum tissues. Your dentist will need to monitor your implants to make sure the integrity of the osseointegration is stable, and that the implant crowns, bridgework or dentures are functioning properly.

 

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