Whenever a tooth is lost, if possible it should be replaced with an implant. Failure to replace the tooth with an implant will ultimately contribute to the loss of facial bone structure. Dental implants are essentially artificial tooth roots, eliminating the need for dentures or bridgework. The advantages vary from patient to patient and type of restoration, but in addition to retained bone structure there may be improved chewing ability, better speech, a more secure fit of the restoration, greater comfort, and improved self-esteem.
The implant itself is made from Titanium and is surgically implanted in the jawbone to function in a similar way to a natural tooth root. Depending on the individuals varying biological characteristics, it may be necessary for the implant to heal in the jawbone for a period of 3 to 6 months, allowing your bone to grow onto the implant in a process called Osseo-integration.
Once integrated, the implant is then exposed from the gum tissue, and a restoration consisting of one or more replacement teeth, is fabricated by the prosthodontist to fit on top of the implants. In other cases it is possible to fit the teeth to the implants soon after implant placement, called immediate loading implants.
The restoration can be attached in several ways:
- Removable structure, using special bars and clips.
- Fixed or screw retained, using special screws and cement so that only your dentist can remove it, if necessary.
In the case of dentures, an implant-supported overdenture fits more securely than a conventional denture which rests on the gum tissue and offers no form of mechanical attachment. The difference is the implants participate integrally in retaining bone structure in the jaw line.
Where a single tooth is lost, adjacent healthy teeth can remain intact and unaffected by an implant-supported restoration. This is unlike conventional bridgework where healthy teeth are structurally altered to support the bridge.
Implants are usually placed under local anesthesia in the periodontist’s or oral surgeon’s office. The procedure involved in placing the implants is generally not painful and usually requires minimal recovery time and post-operative medication.
Only your dentist can tell whether you’re a candidate for dental implants. Certain health conditions (like uncontrolled diabetes) or risk factors (like smoking) may preclude your ability to undergo implant therapy. In addition, appropriate hygiene must be established prior to implant therapy and must be maintained to ensure the long-term success of the implant. As part of this growing trend, we are now placing implants in our office. If we can be of assistance or answer any of your concerns or questions please feel free to contact our office.
Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328
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