What do Implants have to offer?
Whether you have full or partial dentures or have recently lost a tooth, dental implants may be an option for you. Implants attach artificial teeth directly to the jaw. There are three components of an implant: the anchor, which may be surgically embedded into the bone, a post to which the tooth attaches and the artificial tooth. Dental implants can replace one or more teeth, provide support for a partial denture, or be used to attach a full denture.
Dental implants are not an option for everyone. Because dental implants require extensive surgery, patients must be in good health, have healthy gums, have adequate bone to support the implant and be committed to meticulous oral hygiene and regular dental visits.
What are the Benefits and Risks?
Dental implants provide artificial teeth that look more natural. Many people also report that when they chew, the implants feel more secure and more like natural teeth. People who cannot successfully use conventional dentures or people who need an alternative to removable partial dentures may be candidates for implants.
Sometimes using dental implants can cause “stress” to the bones in the jaw. If bone loss occurs as a result, the implant may loosen. If the implants fails and needs to be replaced with a conventional denture, there may be problems in getting the denture to fit. Other possible complications include improper alignment, cosmetic problems, implant breakdown, inadequate healing or damage to adjacent teeth.
Are Implants right for me?
If you are considering implants, a thorough evaluation by your dentist will help determine if you would be a good candidate. This evaluation includes a clinical examination and a complete dental and medical history to gather information about any dental and medical conditions that you have, such as diabetes, heart problems or any condition that interferes with normal healing. Be sure to tell the dentist about any allergies you have or any prescription or over the counter medications that you take. If necessary the dentist may request a consultation with a physician.
During the dental examination, the dentist will check the condition of your mouth, the supporting bone in your jaws and the way your upper and lower teeth fit together. The dentist may gather additional information by taking X-rays and by making models of your teeth. This information will help your dentist determine if you are a good candidate for a dental implant and decide which implant to use and where to place it.
What is involved in placing Implants?
dental implant restoration houstonOften teeth are broken down to the point that a “Crown build-up” is required. By using silver amalgam, composite or special cements, the remaining tooth structure is augmented such that the crown will hold better.
First, surgery is performed to place the anchor. Surgery can take up to several hours, and up to six months may be required for the bone to grow around the anchor and firmly hold it in place. Some dental implants require a second surgery in which a post is attached to connect the anchor to the replacement teeth. With other implants, the anchor and post are already attached and are placed at the same time.
After the gums have had several weeks to heal, the next step is begun. The restorative teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step can take one or two months to complete.
Implant surgery can be done with local anesthetic or IV sedation. Usually pain medications and, when necessary antibiotics are prescribed. Your dentist will give you careful instructions on diet and oral hygiene.
What materials are used?
Replacement teeth are made of porcelain, metal or polymer resin, the same materials as those used for conventional bridges and dentures. The anchors and posts are made from a number of synthetic materials. Titanium is a favored metal for many implants since it is very compatible with bone and other tissues.
How do I take care of my Implants?
Your dentist will give you instructions on proper care and periodically evaluate the healing and attachment of the implant to the jaw. Given scrupulous hygiene with brushing, flossing and regular dental visits, implants should last years.