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Dental Implants In-Depth

Diagram of a dental implant placed in lower jaw at dentist office in Guelph, ON.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:
•  Severe tooth decay.
•  Bruxism.
•  Facial trauma

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 implants. The implants themselves are small posts, typically made from titanium, that are surgically implanted into the jawbone. Your bone fuses to the posts as you heal, integrating them into the jaw and turning them into strong, stable roots that are then used to support your replacement teeth.
•  The abutments. The abutments are the connectors that are attached to the exposed ends of the posts. These small components provide stability for your new teeth.
•  The crowns. The crowns, typically made from ceramic, are used to replace the visible portions of your missing teeth, making biting, chewing and speaking possible once again and restoring the beauty of your smile.

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:
•  Single tooth implants. A single tooth implant is used to replace one missing tooth in any area of your mouth. It uses a single post to support a single crown. It is possible to have more than one single tooth implant in your mouth.
•  Multiple tooth implants. A multiple tooth implant is used to replace two or more consecutive missing teeth. One or more implants may be used to support your crowns. This type of implant is also commonly called an implant supported bridge.
•  Implant supported dentures. If you lose an entire arch of teeth, you may be eligible for an implant supported denture. This restoration uses 6 to 8 implants to support your new teeth.

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:
•  You are missing at least one tooth. Implants are designed to replace missing teeth. Because this treatment is so versatile, it can be used in just about any situation, whether you are missing one tooth, several teeth, or an entire arch of teeth. Dental implants may also be discussed as an option for replacing teeth if you are about to undergo tooth extractions.
•  You are in good overall health. Implants require a surgical procedure, and you need to be in good health to have the procedure done. Any oral health issues, including tooth decay and gum disease, need to be treated first. If you have a chronic health condition, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, these conditions will need to be under control. Undergoing surgery with any of these issues increases the risk of surgical complications as well as issues with healing.
•  You do not smoke or use any tobacco products at all. Cigarettes and other tobacco products contain numerous harmful chemicals. If you smoke, chew tobacco, or use other forms of tobacco, these chemicals can interfere with your ability to heal properly. Smoking restricts the amount of oxygen in your blood and restricts your blood flow, both issues that slow the delivery of vital nutrients to your surgical sites. When this happens, your healing slows, increasing your risk of developing an infection or suffering implant failure. Smoking can also dislodge clots, which can expose your gums and bone to bacteria.
•  Your jawbone is fully developed. Implants are placed directly into the jawbone. If the bone is still developing, it can have serious consequences on your oral health. The jaw continues to develop until you are in your late teens to early 20s. Moreover, you are never too old for implants. There is a common misconception that if you are a senior, you cannot get implants. This simply is not true. So long as you meet other requirements for dental implants, you can be in your 30s, 50s, 70s or older and have the procedure done.
•  You have sufficient bone mass. Implants rely on your jawbone for stability. However, you begin to lose bone mass shortly after tooth loss, due to lack of stimulation. If you lose too much bone mass, implants may not be successful. They may be loose or not integrate at all, resulting in implant failure. If you lack bone mass, you may first need to undergo a bone graft.

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.

Implant Care

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:
•  They look, feel and function just like your natural teeth. The ceramic crowns mimic the color and light reflection properties of your natural teeth, so no one will be able to tell the difference. They are not bulky and will not interfere with your speech. You are also able to enjoy all of your favorite foods again.
•  They are more comfortable. With dentures, your replacement teeth rest directly on your gums. This can lead to discomfort due to pressure as well as painful sores if the base rubs the tissue. With dental implants, your teeth are supported by the titanium posts, keeping pressure off of your gums.
•  Implants are permanent. The teeth are secured into place with screws and are not removed unless maintenance is needed.
•  They are stable. Implants integrate into the jawbone. With successful osseointegration, they are stable and do not move. Your teeth are also secured in place, and will not move around in your mouth.
•  Your jawbone remains strong and healthy. The posts of dental implants mimic the roots of your natural teeth and restore the stimulation to your jawbone. In restoring stimulation, essential nutrients are once again sent to your jaw. This stops and prevents bone loss, protecting the integrity of your jaw.

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) 299-0713.







199 Woolwich Street,
Guelph, ON N1H 3V4
(226) 299-0713

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