What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are small screws designed to replace the root of a tooth and restore the physical appearance and the chewing function of patients with partial or full tooth loss. Dental implants are intended for use in either the upper and/or the lower jaw to support prosthetic devices, such as artificial teeth.
To replace a single tooth, a titanium Dental Implant is first inserted into the bone in the missing space. This implant serves as a replacement for the root of the missing tooth and is designed to seamlessly bond with the surrounding bone. A small post is then inserted into the implant and the replacement tooth is permanently fixed to this post. The result is new tooth that looks perfect and functions exactly like a natural tooth.
Single Tooth implant
What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Prior to Dental Implant technology, patients with missing teeth had limited options. The most common solution was called a "Fixed Bridge," in which the surrounding teeth were ground down to accept crowns to hold the replacement tooth steady. This solution has several drawbacks including:
- Adjacent, healthy teeth are used as anchors for the new tooth, requiring them to be unnecessarily ground down and crowned.
- A fixed bridge does not replace the root of the tooth; it is only a surface-level device. As a result, the jaw bone (where the root of the tooth was previously located) can begin to dissolve; causing pain, issues with surrounding teeth and unfavorable external appearance changes ("caving in" around the missing roots).
Dental Implants address these issues and provide significant benefits beyond these legacy treatments:
- Surrounding healthy teeth are not impacted by the placement of the dental implant, leaving more natural teeth fully intact. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, significantly improving oral hygiene.
- The titanium screw placed in the jaw acts as a replacement for the tooth root and actually bonds with the existing bone, keeping the natural bone structure of your face and jaw intact.
- Dental implants are extremely durable and with good care can last a lifetime.
- Dental implants look and perform more like natural teeth.
Traditional Tooth-Supported Bridge
What if I am Missing Multiple Teeth?
Dental implants are also an excellent option for patients missing multiple teeth and provide even more benefits in this situation.
Similar to legacy single-tooth replacement methods, fixed bridges have often been used to replace missing teeth in the past. As noted above, fixed bridges require the support and coincided compromise of adjacent, healthy teeth. Additionally, they do not address the issue of the missing root and do not aid in preventing bone deterioration and loss. Plus, most bridges only last 5-7 years, while dental implants can last a lifetime.
Another traditional approach to treating multiple missing teeth is the usage of partial dentures. These are appliances made of metal and plastic that clip to adjacent healthy teeth to fill the gaps of multiple missing teeth. These appliances are considered to be much more cosmetic than truly functional teeth, and they come with a significant set of drawbacks:
- Partial dentures are typically somewhat unstable, causing patients to be extremely self-conscious about them at all times.
- Partial dentures can have a significant impact on the function of your teeth – potentially impacting your diet, your self-esteem and even your speech.
- Similar to bridges, partial dentures do not address the issue of bone deterioration.
Dental Implants for Denture Replacement
Traditional dentures have existed for hundreds of years – George Washington probably had the most famous pair of dentures, made from cow and walrus teeth. While denture technology has certainly developed since those early days, the fact remains that many denture wearers frequently complain of discomfort, pain, slippage/movement, inability to eat desired foods and an overall drop in self-confidence.
Recently, Dental Implants have become the clear treatment of choice for those missing all of their teeth on one or both arches. Unlike traditional dentures, Dental Implant supported dentures are secured, so the need for denture adhesive is eliminated. Dental implant supported dentures also allow you to speak with ease and chew most foods without the risk of denture slippage; tasting the authentic flavor of the foods you eat. Finally, only dental implant supported dentures will support the structure of your jawbone, preserving it from the shrinkage of your jaw line that is often seen in long-term denture wearers.
Did you know: by age 74, 26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth?
Permanent bottom arch denture supported by Dental Implants
What are Dental Implants for Denture Replacement?
Dental implants are small screws designed to replace the root of a tooth and restore the physical appearance and the chewing function of patients with partial or full tooth loss. In the case of full tooth loss, as few as four dental implants can be used to permanently secure and entire arch of teeth.
To replace an entire arch of teeth, a series of titanium Dental Implants are first inserted into the in the bone. These implants serve as replacements for the roots of the missing teeth and are designed to seamlessly bond with the surrounding bone. Permanent dentures are then affixed to these implants. The result is a perfectly formed smile without the downside of traditional dentures.
What are the Benefits of Dental Implants for Denture Replacement?
Prior to Dental Implant technology, patients missing all of their teeth had limited options. Traditional dentures are designed to be removable – they are typically held in place with messy, expensive denture adhesive cream. This solution has several drawbacks including:
- Since traditional dentures are not fixed in place, they tend to move and slide within the mouth during daily use and can even fall out. Not only does this impact the functionality of your teeth, but more importantly it impacts your self-confidence and overall life. Denture wearers often times have difficulty eating, singing and generally being active.
- Dentures rest directly on the gums, which mean they can be very uncomfortable and even painful for daily wear.
- Upper dentures typically cover the roof of your mouth with plastic, which can cause discomfort and significantly limit your ability to enjoy food.
- Traditional dentures do not replace the root of the tooth; they are only a surface-level device.
As a result, the jaw bone where the root of the tooth once was begins to dissolve and can the shrinkage of the jaw line that is often seen in long-term denture wearers.
Using Dental Implants to support a permanent denture (or bridge) addresses these issues and provides significant benefits beyond this legacy treatment:
- Dental Implants are fixed in place and do not move around, resulting in a permanent set of replacement teeth that function almost exactly like natural teeth.
- Dental Implant supported dentures can return up to 95% of your natural biting and chewing capability, versus just 25% with traditional dentures. This gives patients the ability to chew and eat all kinds of foods without worrying about their teeth.
- Dental Implants look and feel like natural teeth. You can have the complete confidence to eat, speak, sing, laugh, be active, and do all the things you do with natural teeth, knowing that you have a beautiful smile and fully functioning teeth.
- Dental Implants address the problem of bone loss. The implants are fixed into the bone and when you eat, the implants exercise the bone and stimulate the growth and health of the bone.
Dental Implant Supported Dentures are a Better Solution
Dental Implant supported dentures provide a solid, life-long solution to your missing teeth without the drawbacks of traditional dentures. They will not slip, fall-out or impact your ability to eat or undermine your self-confidence. Dental Implant supported dentures look, feel and function just like your own natural teeth – giving you back your self-confidence and your life.
Who can get Dental Implant supported dentures?
Almost anyone who is missing one or more teeth is a candidate for Dental Implants. Ideally, a candidate is in good general and oral health and has adequate bone in your jaw to support the implant. Age is typically not a concern, as it has been proven to not be a factor in Dental Implant success. In most cases, the entire procedure can be completed in just a few visits.