A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey administered by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention found that 25 percent of patients over 60 years old have lost all of their teeth. It’s estimated that 63% of all American adults are missing more than one tooth. The traditional solution for replacing missing teeth is dental bridges or dentures, but dentist Dr. Darweesh has found that more and more patients are opting for dental implants.
Dental implants are devices that are rooted into the jawbone to support a crowned tooth replacement. When they’re in place, they look and function like a normal tooth — no one can tell that it’s an implant. The crowned tooth is a sturdy, aesthetically pleasing restoration — dental implants can be used to replace one or even an entire upper or lower row of teeth. It’s considered a superior solution compared to dentures, which are only a temporary fix for patients.
An estimated 3 million people in the United States have at least one or more dental implants — and that number is expected to grow by half a million people annually according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. Dental implants have become a billion-dollar industry worldwide.
The first step in the dental implant process is to identify if the patient is a good candidate for the procedure. Because the implant must be surgically placed into the jawbone, the patient must have enough bone tissue to anchor the implant. If a patient is deemed a good candidate for the procedure, Brighter smile dental implant specialist Dr. Darweesh works with a dental surgeon to carefully install the titanium or ceramic dental implant. The implant typically takes anywhere from one to three months to heal. At the next appointment, Dr. Darweesh takes a mold of the dental implant and adjacent teeth to create a customized dental implant. This implant is colored to match the surrounding teeth and blend seamlessly.
“Dental implants offer many advantages over traditional tooth replacement options, but most importantly that they look and feel good to a patient,” Dr. Darweesh explains. “My patients are pleased with their results and often share their experiences with other patients in need of tooth replacement.”
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are metal posts or frames that are surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath your gums. Once in place, they allow your dentist to mount replacement teeth onto them.
How do Dental Implants Work?
Because implants fuse to your jawbone, they provide stable support for artificial teeth. Dentures and bridges mounted to implants won’t slip or shift in your mouth — an especially important benefit when eating and speaking. This secure fit helps the dentures and bridges — as well as individual crowns placed over implants — feel more natural than conventional bridges or dentures.
For some people, ordinary bridges and dentures are simply not comfortable or even possible, due to sore spots, poor ridges or gagging. In addition, ordinary bridges must be attached to teeth on either side of the space left by the missing tooth. An advantage of implants is that no adjacent teeth need to be prepared or ground down to hold your new replacement tooth/teeth in place.
To receive implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. You must also commit to keeping these structures healthy. Meticulous oral hygiene and regular dental visits are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.
Implants are usually more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, and most insurance carriers typically cover less than 10 percent of the fees.
The American Dental Association considers two types of implants to be safe. They are:
- Endosteal implants — these are surgically implanted directly into the jawbone. Once the surrounding gum tissue has healed, a second surgery is needed to connect a post to the original implant. Finally, an artificial tooth (or teeth) is attached to the post-individually or grouped on a bridge or denture.
- Subperiosteal implants — these consist of a metal frame that is fitted onto the jawbone just below the gum tissue. As the gums heal, the frame becomes fixed to the jawbone. Posts, which are attached to the frame, protrude through the gums. As with endosteal implants, artificial teeth are then mounted to the posts.
How can bone be preserved or re-grown to support dental implants?
Grafting bone into the extraction sockets at the time of tooth loss or removal can help preserve bone volume needed for implant placement. Surgical techniques are also available to regenerate (re-grow) bone that has been lost, to provide the necessary bone substance for anchoring implants. In fact, a primary reason to consider dental implants to replace missing teeth is the maintenance of jawbone.
Bone needs stimulation 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. Only dental implants can stop this process and preserve the bone.
How are dental implants placed and who places them?
It takes a dental team to assess and plan the dental implant placement and restoration — 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, 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 fabricates them.
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.
We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions, so get an appointment today.