What are dental implants?
Dental implants are root-form structures made out of titanium. Implants are the most contemporary way for the replacement of teeth and we can use them in order to replace one or more teeth.
Back in 1950, researchers found out that titanium created a very powerful bond with the bone that surrounded it, a process that is since called osseointegration.
After years of research and study dental implants were used in patients.
There are now patients that have had implant supported teeth for more than 30 years.
What happens if I loose a tooth?
Loss of teeth usually results in limited mastication ability, moving of neighboring teeth, pain, unattractive smile, low self-confidence.
Another little known problem associated with tooth loss, is a process known as "atrophy" or shrinking of the jawbone that can progress relentlessly over the years.
Bone atrophy affects jaw function and can cause adverse facial cosmetic changes.
How can I replace the tooth that I lost?
Conventional dentistry provides replacement of missing teeth using bridges, partial or full dentures. Each one of these solutions however has certain disadvantages.
The bridges require altering of natural teeth that will support the restoration, while dentures are mobile and usually create sore spots and speech difficulties.
Dental implants are an excellent solution to restore missing teeth. Their more important advantages are:
- They do not require preparation of the adjacent teeth.
- Statistically they have the higher success rates in relation to all the alternative treatment choices.
- They prevent further bone loss.
- They can provide a denture patient, with a more stable denture or even a fixed restoration depending on the number of implants placed.
- Implant restorations have more natural appearance.
- They improve considerably the quality of life of our patients.
How are dental implants placed?
Dental implants are usually placed under local anesthesia in dental clinic with a precise technique that ensures their perfect positioning in the jaw.
If the procedure is going to be lengthy or the patient feels uncomfortable with the implant surgery the whole procedure can be performed under general anesthesia or ivy sedation in a hospital.
After placement implants are usually covered with gums and they remain in jawbone from 2-6 months in order to be osseointegrated.
During this waiting period our patients use provisional bridges or dentures in order to function satisfactorily.
After the waiting period implants are uncovered and we start fabricating the implant restoration.
Is there pain or discomfort involved?
Most patients who have had implants placed, report that the whole procedure was easy and painless.
Despite the different levels of pain sensation for every other patient, pain after implant surgery is usually controlled with a simple painkiller.
Do I need to have one implant placed for every tooth I lost?
No. Actually it is possible to have all the lower teeth replaced with an overdenture that is retained from 2 to 4 implants.
On the other hand if you are missing posterior teeth it is more advantageous to have them replaced with one implant for every missing tooth, so they are able to withstand the masticatory forces.
Each patient is unique and it is faced as separate entity so the precise number of implants that are needed will be determined after a thorough examination by your dentist.
Am I too old for dental implants?
General health and the will to improve the quality of life are more significant than age if somebody needs to decide if he/she wants to be treated with dental implants.
Do not forget that when implants where first introduced, they were used for older patients that were using dentures and were suffering from their conventional prosthesis.
Are dental implants successful?
Research and documentation studies have proven the effectiveness and long lasting results of dental implants.
Dental implants have demonstrated a success rate of over 95% in documented studies. Dental implants have been designed to be permanent as natural teeth are too.
Many factors will determine their success as their hygiene and your regular visits to your doctor. Smoking and bruxism on recently placed implants as well as teeth clenching do not favor success and they should be avoided.
Am I a suitable candidate for dental implants?
We are going to examine you thoroughly in order to find out if you are suitable to have implants placed.
Detailed x-ray exams may be needed in order to find out the exact amount of available bone quantity.
How much will it cost?
The fee for tooth replacement with Dental Implants will depend on several factors, including the number of teeth being replaced and the number of implants required to support your replacement teeth. To obtain a specific fee estimate it is necessary to be examined.
In the long run you will find that implant treatment may be cheaper than the alternatives because they last longer and do not need replacement as often.