Many times people can become self-conscious or even have difficulty eating, speaking, or laughing normally because of their dentures, bridges, or missing teeth. In fact, the irritation and pain sometimes caused by dentures is a constant reminder of the limitations they feel. Fortunately, more and more individuals are choosing dental implants -- a revolutionary way to replace missing teeth. Dental implants offer an excellent alternative to the limitations of dentures, bridges, and missing teeth.
Dental implants are artificial substitutes for the roots of a missing natural tooth or teeth. They act as a secure anchor for artificial replacement teeth and eliminate the instability associated with surface adhesives and removable bridges. They may be used to support a single crown, a series of crowns, a removable partial denture, or a complete denture.
There are several situations when implants may be considered: 1) to replace a single tooth; 2) to replace several teeth in the same general area; and, 3) to replace all the teeth in a jaw.
Dental implants are made of materials that are compatible with human bone and tissue; therefore, there is little chance for allergic reaction in the body. The implants are surgically placed directly into the jawbone, often times simply using local anesthesia (Novacaine) alone. Small posts are then attached to the implants, which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
The placement of dental implants is a two-phase procedure. During the first phase, the implants are surgically placed into your jawbone. These small devices make-up the foundation needed to securely hold the replacement teeth. For the first three-to-six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums, gradually bonding with the jawbone. Once the implants have bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. The surgeon will uncover the implants and attach small posts, which will act as anchors for the replacement teeth. The posts protrude through the gumline but are not visible when replacement teeth are attached. The new replacement teeth are fabricated by your dentist. These replacement teeth will fit securely in the mouth and will withstand the day-to-day movement and pressure created by chewing and speaking.
The entire process, from evaluation to completion, generally takes six-to-eight months. During this time, however, most patients do not experience any disruption in their normal business or social activities.
Some patients report experiencing minor pain and swelling immediately following the procedure, but most experience no change in their daily routines.
Much like your natural teeth, dental implants require special individual care. Proper brushing, flossing, rinsing, and regular check-ups are critical to the long-term success of your implants. In fact, implants can fail when proper oral hygiene techniques are not used.
Leading reasons for choosing dental implants are: 1) to restore normal eating and speaking abilities; 2) to enhance facial appearance and confidence; and, 3) to increase denture retention.
No. People of all ages are turning to dental implants to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or a full set of dentures.
According to a national survey, dental implant use has nearly tripled since 1986 and is expected to continue to rise rapidly. The popularity and increased demand of dental implants is largely due to the public's growing awareness of the significant functional and aesthetic advantages of dental implants over conventional dentures and bridges. Likewise, additional data continues to be available on the long-term success of dental implants.