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Dental Implants

Indications for Implants

Implants may be used to replace teeth in single-tooth spaces, groups of two or more missing teeth, or where the teeth are completely missing in one or both jaws. Once placed, the implants are used to support individual crowns, or bridges that are attached to the implants. Implants may also be used to help retain removable dentures more securely.

 

Candidates for Implants

Most patients who are healthy with no restrictions for undergoing minor dental surgical procedures and who also have good oral hygiene are good candidates for dental implants. Your dentist will assess the potential implant site to determine whether there is sufficient bone volume and gum thickness to allow placement of an implant. We begin by providing a clinical examination that will involve inspection, palpation, and gentle probing of the potential implant site and adjacent teeth. In straightforward cases, simple dental x-rays are usually sufficient to examine the bone. In more complex cases, specialized implant x-rays, known as tomograms, are usually required.

Implants Function Just Like Teeth

 
 

Most patients who are healthy with no restrictions for undergoing minor dental surgical procedures and who also have good oral hygiene are good candidates for dental implants. Your dentist will assess the potential implant site to determine whether there is sufficient bone volume and gum thickness to allow placement of an implant. We begin by providing a clinical examination that will involve inspection, palpation, and gentle probing of the potential implant site and adjacent teeth. In straightforward cases, simple dental x-rays are usually sufficient to examine the bone. In more complex cases, specialized implant x-rays, known as tomograms, are usually required.

 

Implants Can Be Rejected

Some implants fail because the bone has not integrated sufficiently with the implant surface. Hence, implants are not "rejected" like an organ transplant; they simply fail to bond with the bone. This may occur if the bone is very soft at the time the implant is placed or if the implant is initially unstable. Other reasons include inadvertent loading of the implant via a removable denture or by the action of chewing hard food over the implant site during the early stages of healing. Infection may also cause an implant to be lost. Most modern implant systems report success rates of 85-95% over a 5 to 15 years period.

Smoking and Implants Do Not Mix

Smoking affects the healing of bone and soft tissue by reducing the nutrients and minerals in the tissues as well as reducing the blood supply. This means that smoking is one of the biggest risk factors in failure of dental implants. Recent studies estimate that the chances of failure increase by two to three fold in a smoker. Gum and bone like a warm, moist environment and smoking produces a hot, dry environment.

Treatment for Failed Implants

In most situations, an implant can be replaced if it fails to bond with the bone, provided that adequate bone and gum tissue is present. Failures do occur, but not very often.

Wearing Dental Appliances Following Surgery

In most cases, existing dentures and other temporary appliances can be worn immediately after implant surgery. There are exceptions, but our goal is too minimize any aesthetic concerns during the healing phase.

Procedures for Implant Placement

In most cases, implants can be placed using local anesthesia in our office. In more complex cases, we may recommend that the surgical phase be performed while you are under general anesthesia in a specialist's office or in hospital environment.

After the Surgery

In most situations, a healing period of between 3 to 6 months is required before teeth can be attached to the implants. A temporary appliance can usually be made to provide function and aesthetics during this period. After initial implant placement, regular follow-up visits are required to ensure that healing is progressing as we would like. After the teeth are attached to the implants, regular check-ups are needed every 6 to 12 months. At these check-up appointments, the implants are inspected and examined to ensure that the supporting gum and bone remains healthy. X-rays are taken to examine the bone structure around the implant.

Home Care for Dental Implants

For the implant to function well and to remain healthy, proper oral hygiene must be performed at home on a daily basis. Special cleaning aids (brushes, and floss) are widely available. We will provide instructions on the proper use of these cleaning aids. It is important to note that no metal scrapers should ever come in contact with the implants because metal scalers can scratch the surface of the implants.