A dental implant is an artificial tooth root which acts as an anchor for replacement teeth. The dental implant itself is made of Titanium, a very strong, corrosion-resistant, natural element that is perfectly biocompatible with bone. It therefore makes an ideal root replacement (anchor) for your missing tooth. They are an ideal tooth replacement procedure because they look and feel like natural teeth.
Implants are great for patients who are missing a tooth, missing several teeth or unable to wear dentures. When surgically anchored into the jawbone, the implant fuses with living bone in a process known as "osseointegration".
There are several steps involved prior to us being able to place an implant. Once we have determined you are an ideal candidate, some of the steps involved can be done right here in our office. We've listed them for you below.
Bone grafting is a procedure that treats and restores the loss of jawbone material. Good jawbone density is necessary for natural teeth retention and for proper foundation for dental implants. However, a patient's jawbone can deteriorate for a number of reasons, such as periodontal disease and lack of stimulation of the jawbone material. The most common cause of jawbone deterioration is when a tooth is extracted and a replacement is not installed in its place. In addition, patients wearing unanchored dentures may experience jaw bone re-absorption over time. Wearers of dental bridges can experience deterioration of the bone structure beneath the missing teeth. Avoiding dental extractions unless absolutely necessary is the best way to preserve jaw bone density.
We currently use the following types bone grafts, depending on your individual situation:
1. Allograft Bone Graft – The grafting material is from human donor bone (cadaver). This bone material undergoes strict disinfecting processes in order to render it safe for transplant.
2. Xenograft Bone Graft – The grafting material comes from an animal source, such as bovine.
3. Alloplast Bone Graft – The grafting material is made from a synthetic substance that is compatible with the human body.
Dr. Marc Thevenot first evaluates the extent of bone deterioration in the areas where bone grafting is necessary. The donor bone is affixed to the surgical site and with time, the bone will regenerate. Healing time depends upon the extent of bone loss and the type of replacement filler material used. Usually in one year’s time the patient will have sufficient bone material to be a candidate for dental implants
The implant is typically placed 4 to 6 months, sometimes even 1 year after bone grafting. The longer the wait, the better the bone regeneration in that site. The surgery is usually done under local anaesthetic (freezing the site), a healing cap is placed onto the implant and you are able to drive home after the surgery. Typical healing time after implant placement is usually 6 months prior to implant restoration.
Implant restoration is the process of placing the crown, bridge or denture on top of the completely healed implant. An impression of the site is taken and sent to a laboratory. The laboratory fabricates the restoration and it is then cemented in our office to produce the look of a natural tooth or teeth!
BENEFITS OF IMPLANT DENTISTRY
More Natural: Teeth replaced with dental implants offer a more natural look and feel for the patient. As the implant fuses with the bone in the jaw, the prosthesis is securely anchored with no chance of embarrassing movement of the replacement teeth. With dental implants, your teeth look, feel and function in a healthy and stronger manner.
No Movement: Due to this enhanced anchorage offered by dental implants, patients develop improved confidence that they would not necessarily attain from a removable prosthesis (no need for messy adhesives). With dental implants, a person can feel secure that their teeth will not move. There are no limits to your activities for fear of embarrassment of your denture moving.
No Sore Spots. Because your implant supported replacement teeth are not resting directly on the tissue of your mouth, you don’t develop uncomfortable sore spots. On the other hand, removable dentures can cause inflammation of the mouth tissues that are under the denture itself, primarily if not removed every night when sleeping and if not cleaned on a daily basis.
Stimulation of Bone Growth: Keeping your teeth helps to preserve your jaw bones. Once a tooth is lost, one of the major problems that face dentists that treat edentulous patients is the continuing loss of jaw bone. The result of all this bone loss over time is that removable dentures start fitting less and less well. As the tissue under the denture starts to shrink and pull away from the underside of the denture, it leaves less and less support underneath the removable prosthesis. This is when all the problems associated with an ill-fitting denture start to show. Dental implants, like natural teeth, help to stimulate bone growth. One of the most fascinating and important properties of titanium, the material from which dental implants are made, is that it attracts the growth of bone cells.
Improved Chewing Function: Due to the lack of permanent anchorage, removable dentures can move or slip while eating, therefore making eating a difficult and less than desirable task. The ability to chew foods improves dramatically with dental implants.
Improved Taste Sensation: A complete upper removable denture covers the entire roof of the mouth. Your tongue and the roof of your mouth are covered with thousands of tiny taste buds. Once the roof of the mouth is covered with the removable denture, food becomes less easy to taste, more difficult to sample and enjoy. With an implant-supported prosthesis, the roof of the mouth is not covered and food can be tasted by all the taste receptors in the mouth.
Long Lasting: With proper care, implants can last a lifetime.
Enhanced Phonetics: Removable dentures can slip and slide around in the mouth. A complete, upper denture, and some designs of upper partial dentures, cover the roof of the mouth. Both can result in interference with the normal phonetic movements of the tongue, causing difficulty in normal speech. Implant supported teeth normalize speech and allow the person to regain confidence when speaking in social settings.
Improved nutritional uptake by digestive system: Digestion begins in the mouth. Teeth subject food to the mechanical process of grinding, breaking it down into smaller and smaller pieces. Almost simultaneous with the smelling and chewing of food, saliva secretes onto and mixes with it. The enzymes in the saliva begin the further digestive breakdown of food. Now, if the step of mastication (grinding) of food were to be reduced due to inefficiency of a removable denture, the digestive process would be altered and food would not get properly digested further along the digestive tract. This improper digestion directly leads to fewer vital nutrients being absorbed later on in the digestive system.
Nutritional balance is further indirectly enhanced by the stability of an implant-supported prosthesis. As one is more confident to enjoy a varied and healthy diet, and you are not restricted to what you can eat due to unstable removable dentures, then overall nutritional balance of the person is improved.
Reduction in the loss of the prosthesis: Removable dentures can easily be misplaced and lost. There are ample stories of domestic pets ‘eating’ the patients prosthesis (dogs and cats are attracted to the saliva that coats the prosthesis. However, with a fixed, implant-supported prosthesis , your likelihood of loss is next to nil.