Dental Implants In-Depth
Tooth loss is a serious issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Today, there are several options available for replacing missing teeth. Dental implants are, by far, the most popular treatment there is, offering an alternative to the traditional treatments of bridges and dentures. We offer dental implants here at Bisson Dentistry, providing you with a solution to your tooth loss issues that gives you your life back.
Causes and Effects of Tooth Loss
Tooth loss can be caused by a variety of different issues. One of the most common causes is gum, or periodontal, disease. When your gums become irritated and inflamed, they begin to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets. These pockets trap bacteria and other debris. Once inside, the bacteria begin attacking periodontal ligaments and your jawbone, causing them to weaken. Without treatment, the teeth become loose and eventually fall out. Other common causes of tooth loss include:
When tooth loss occurs, there are several different things that happen. Most noticeably, tooth loss affects the appearance of your smile and can cause your confidence to plummet. Missing teeth affect your ability to bite and chew. Your speech is affected. Tooth loss also leads to bone loss in the jaw, which can then lead to the bone changing shape. This can then cause healthy teeth to shift out of alignment, which can lead to other serious oral health complications.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants offer a modern alternative to bridges and dentures and are unlike any traditional treatment out there. Implants consist of three different components:
The Different Types of Dental Implants
Dental implants are a versatile treatment that can be used to replace any number of teeth, whether you have lost only one tooth or you are missing an entire arch. To accommodate your specific needs, there are several different types of dental implants:
A Brief History of Dental Implants
The implants that we know and use today are a recent development. However, implants have been in use for centuries. The earliest dental implant was found in the jaw of a woman dating back to 600 AD. This woman had bits of seashell and stone in her jaw where a tooth should have been. The most interesting part of the discovery was that her bone had begun to fuse to her implant, which demonstrates the implant was placed while she was still alive. Moreover, this was not the only instance of ancient forms of dental implants. Other skeletons have been found all over the world with some form of tooth replacement. Ancient Egyptians have been discovered with gold wires in their jaws, while some individuals have been found in the Middle East with ivory implants. There has even been a Roman soldier discovered with iron in place of his missing tooth.
Modern dental implants, the ones we use today, are the result of an accidental discovery made in the 1950s. A Swedish orthopedic surgeon by the name of Per-Ingvar Bråenmark was researching bone healing and bone regeneration when he implanted a titanium cylinder into the femur of a rabbit. Later, when he went to remove it, he found that the bone had begun fusing to the cylinder. Bråenmark had discovered osseointegration. This discovery spurred him to conduct further research using both animal and human subjects. In 1965, he successfully placed the first dental implants.
This first placement was not the end. Research and development continued. In fact, it continues today. Continued research and development are conducted to improve the stability and reliability of implants. Where original implants were only available in one circumference, today there are numerous circumferences as well as lengths. This makes implants available to more patients. The original implants were also smooth in texture, whereas today they have a rough texture, which aids in improved osseointegration. There is even research being done today into alternative materials, with the most promising material being Zirconia.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
While dental implants are the most popular treatment for dealing with tooth loss and are preferred among patients and practitioners alike, they are not the ideal solution for everyone. If you have suffered tooth loss, we first conduct a thorough evaluation of your mouth and your health to determine whether or not they are right for you. There are a few criteria that can help you figure out if implants will work for you:
How are dental implants placed?
Dental implants are placed in a surgical procedure, which is done under a local anesthetic and sedation. When we are ready to begin, we make small incisions in your gum tissue, exposing the bone underneath. Holes are then drilled into the bone, and the titanium posts are placed inside. We then suture your gums closed around the posts and place temporary crowns on top.
Because implants involve a surgical procedure, there is a recovery period involved. The exact time it takes you to recover will depend upon several factors, including the number of implants that are placed. Typically, it can take several weeks to several months to fully heal. During this time, the bone gradually begins to fuse to the titanium posts, integrating them into the jaw. Once healing is complete, the posts are stabilized in the jaw, and they become the roots that will hold your teeth in place.
After you have fully healed, we begin the process of creating your permanent restorations. We remove the temporary teeth and place the abutments. Next, impressions of your mouth are taken and sent to a dental lab. There, the teeth are designed and created. Once they completed, they are sent back, and we secure them into place on the posts with small screws. You leave the office with a beautiful, fully-functional new smile.
Taking care of your new implants is no different from taking care of your original teeth. In fact, your oral care is still just as important with your dental implants as it is with natural teeth, even if all of your teeth have been replaced. You should continue to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. These habits will help to limit plaque and oral bacteria in your mouth. It is also still just as important to have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined at least twice a year. Just because ceramic teeth cannot experience decay, this does not mean you can be lax in your oral care routine. Ceramic can still collect plaque and bacteria, both of which can contribute to gum disease. If gum disease is allowed to progress, it can weaken your jawbone, which can then cause your implants to become loose and fail.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Dental implants offer numerous benefits over traditional methods for replacing missing teeth:
Missing teeth significantly impact every aspect of your life, but those teeth can be replaced. If you are interested in finding out if dental implants are the right solution for you, call Bisson Dentistry to schedule your consultation today at (226) 706-8851.