At one time people accepted tooth loss as a part of aging. They also expected that replacing the teeth meant wearing a plastic denture, or false teeth, which often left a lot to be desired for aesthetics, comfort and function. In some cases, especially with complete lower dentures, the denture would move around during function and speech, leaving the unfortunate wearer unable to have the looks, speech, and chewing ability that they had with natural teeth.
Today, modern dental health care has drastically reduced the number of people who will lose their teeth. And those people that are missing teeth are expecting more from any replacement. In many cases, dental implant therapy can help.
What types of implant restorations are available?
There are several options for clients without remaining natural teeth. They include:
- implants with snaps for a denture to attach to
- implants joined by a bar that the denture clips or snaps onto
- implants joined by a precision bar that artificial porcelain teeth fit over
- implants that the denture is screwed down onto & only removable by your dentist
- implants with crowns and bridgework that is similar to natural teeth
The best option for you depends on the specifics of your case, and you may have several options. We can discuss the specifics of your case at your consultation appointment.
Do I have enough bone to place implants into?
The quantity and quality of bone in an area affect whether we can do implants. The dentist will take x-rays and measurements to determine this. Sometimes if there is not enough bone, we can do a graft to increase the amount available. In general, the longer it is after the natural teeth were removed, the less bone is present.
Are there special health limitations?
In general, most people have no problem with the treatment, regardless of age. We will often place you on some prescriptions for a week or so, especially if grafting is involved. As with any dental treatment, patients who smoke tend to take longer to heal and have a lower prognosis for success. Some other health conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes can also increase your risk of failure.
What is an implant made out of?
Dental implants are made from medical grade titanium or titanium alloy, the same material used in replacement hip joints. Bone fuses to titanium. Implants come in various sizes for different situations, but the size is similar as a natural tooth root.
Is the procedure uncomfortable?
The procedure itself is done with regular local anesthetic (freezing), just like a filling. After the implant is placed, a little swelling or discomfort is normal that evening, and we may prescribe you a simple pain reliever. You may have a few stitches in the gums at the site, which may irritate your tongue the first day. But overall, the procedure is usually much more comfortable than it was to remove the tooth in the first place.
Implant treatment is very rewarding and we enjoy providing this option for our patients. As always, we look forward to helping you and your family with your oral health care.