Dental Implants In-Depth
The most crucial component of your mouth is without a doubt, the health and function of your teeth. They do everything from chewing our food to helping us speak. Tooth loss has a negative effect on every single aspect of life. If you have suffered even the loss of one tooth it is essential to get it replaced as soon as possible. This becomes even more vital for your oral health when there is more than one missing. Luckily, there are a number of options available in the modern world of dentistry to assist with tooth replacement. Here at Dr. Hilton Israelson, our dental experts are highly experienced in replacing lost teeth with implants.
What Causes Patients to Lose Teeth?
There can be several different reasons why a patient might need to have a dental implant procedure performed. The most common causes have to do with gum disease, specifically more advanced conditions such as periodontitis. This occurs when bacteria build and build inside the oral cavity, leading to irritation and eventually, inflammation of the gums. This causes them to become puffy and swollen. From there, bleeding when brushing or flossing may also become common. If left untreated, this condition just continues to worsen, leading to the development of gum pockets which become breeding spots for festering debris such as plaque and bacteria. This all works together to bring on even more issues such as loosening and shifting teeth, and ultimately the loss of one or more teeth.
The visual effects are also clearly noticeable as the pockets between the teeth continue to grow. This causes the gums to recede, which, in turn, makes the teeth not only look longer, but also to become sensitive to various stimuli that didn’t previously bother them. As the bacteria spreads, it begins to attack the periodontal ligaments and even the jawbone. As these supporting structures become more and more compromised through the spread and progression of the disease, eventually the teeth will lose enough support that they begin to fall out.
Although this is usually the reason for tooth loss, it is not the only reason. Facial trauma is also one of the reasons that a patient might need dental implants. Any number of factors can result in this type of issue. Sports related injuries, accidents at home, on the job, or even in an automobile can all cause severe damage to or loss of one or more teeth. And still, even another possible cause might be the failure of another type of restorative device such as a crown, bridge, or dentures.
What Happens as a Result of Tooth Loss?
There are several serious effects that come as a result of losing teeth. For most people their first concern has to do with the appearance of their smile. For folks who are in desperate need of dental implants, their social and recreational lives are greatly impacted and diminished. They usually suffer from severe embarrassment and self-consciousness. This can even develop into more serious mental health issues such as depression, isolation, and loss of friendships and human interaction.
Next on the list is how missing teeth affect things like chewing and digesting food. When a person is unable to properly chew and break down their food it can lead to other problems involving digestion and absorption. When the problem is serious enough and continues to go untreated, it can ultimately lead to malnutrition. Another thing that is affected by this problem is speech. Our teeth and dental structure are what allows us to properly form and enunciate our phonetic sounds. When teeth are missing, the air is allowed to freely flow, creating difficulty with pronunciation. This can cause anything from developing a lisp to the inability to pronounce specific sounds, as well as any number of other speech complications. This also creates further embarrassment when being asked to repeat yourself multiple times when speaking to others.
While these are the visible signs associated with tooth loss, there are also other below-the-surface issues that are even more important. The roots of the teeth stimulate the jawbone, this is how it directs the delivery of nutrients and vitamins to the area to keep the bones strong and healthy. The loss of teeth also causes the loss of this stimulation. The resulting effect is less of those vital nutrients make their way to the bone, leading to a loss of mass and overall weakening of the entire region. This can alter the positioning and alignment of the remaining teeth, as well as even changing the appearance and shape of the face through the development of wrinkles or sagging skin.
The Dental Implant Process Explained
Although the dental implant procedure is more involved than other restorative procedures, it is also much more permanent and beneficial in the long run. And with the level of training and experience our dental practitioners have, there is really no cause to be concerned with the scope of the process. It starts with the patient being administered a local anesthetic for sedation. From there tiny incisions are made to expose the bone beneath the gums. Next, small holes are created in the bone by drilling, where the posts for the implants will be placed directly inside. Finally, the gums are sutured, and temporary teeth are put in place during the recovery period.
The healing process from this surgery depends greatly on the individual, their age and general health, as well as the severity of their tooth loss and overall dental condition. Regardless of how long it takes, the recovery process entails the same basic aspects. The bone will slowly fuse to the posts and become integrated into the jaw. Follow up appointments will probably be necessary to observe the progress being made, as well as to make sure that there are not any unforeseen issues or complications. Once this process is completed, the next step is to have your permanent restorative implants placed.
The final process is made up of two separate visits. The first will be so that an impression of your mouth can be molded to ensure the best possible fit and function for your final implants. The lab will then begin to fabricate the design for your next and final appointment. This is when our dental expert will check to make sure that everything is properly fitted, offers a natural appearance, and provides a comfortable bite. If everything passes inspection, then the implants are secured in the post using tiny screws.
What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Now that we have covered a little bit about the dental implant process and how it works, the next thing to take a look at is how it makes life better for patients who undergo the procedure. The first thing to note is the fact that they look and function exactly like real teeth. Unlike dentures, which are usually pretty easy to spot, implants have a much more natural appearance to them. And because they mimic your own teeth perfectly, the gum tissue is positioned correctly in relation to them, which prevents irritation and swelling that is common with lesser restorative appliances. Because they fit properly, they do not change the speech patterns or pronunciation of certain words and sounds of the patient. And since they are much stronger and more secure than the loose and missing teeth which preceded them, clients can once again enjoy all of their favorite foods with their improved bite strength and chewing capabilities.
Other benefits worthy of mention are the fact that dental implants are far superior to other traditional solutions in a number of ways, none of which are more important than comfort. Such examples are bridges, which are supported by the existing, adjacent teeth. Denture wearers often time complain of gum soreness and irritation. But when it comes to implants, they are held in place and supported by the jawbone, creating an unrivaled sense of strength, security, and stability. Not to mention, they are also much easier to clean and care for than other appliances. You simply brush and floss them the same way you would your natural teeth. No need for overnight soaking while you sleep.
One final benefit of dental implants is one that no other restorative measure can provide. As mentioned earlier, the roots of the teeth provide the stimulation the jawbone which indicate when more nutrients need to be sent to the region. When teeth go missing, this natural bodily process is disrupted as well, which leads to the loss of strength and bone mass in the jaw. Dental implants restore this process to its proper working order, ensuring continued jaw health and function long into the future. All of these things working together prove that this procedure is hands down the best one to provide a permanent solution to the problem of loose and/or missing teeth.
Different Types of Restorative Implants
It is also important to note that a dental implant procedure isn’t just a one-size-fits-all solution to the problem of missing teeth. There are a number of different variations of the process which allow the dental practitioner to focus on specific problems or areas of concern. Anything from a single missing tooth all the way to a full replacement, as well as everything in between can all be covered with the right technique. Multiple replacements can take the place of partial dentures or a conventional bridge.
Exactly how many posts and teeth need to be replaced in any given patient will always depend on the individual case, as well as what our dental implant specialist recommends as the best option to move forward with. There are several factors which could also influence this decision. Such things as the strength and bone mass of the jaw have an impact on how many posts may be needed. For an entire dental arch that is missing, an implant can be custom designed to fit that specific purpose. A procedure like that would normally require six to eight support posts. Sometimes bone grafting may be necessary to ensure the success of the implant surgery when there has been too much loss of bone in the jaw. In cases where the requisite amount of bone is not available, many times it leads to insecure implants or even the total failure of the procedure.
The History and Development of Implants
Although dental implants are considered to be a modern-day technology of today’s dentistry, the fact is that the research and principles upon which the technique was founded on begun long ago. Many skeletons from all over the world show evidence of dental implantation dating back thousands of years. Although the consensus is that these procedures took place postmortem, possibly as some type of preparation for entering into the afterlife, the fact remains that the science behind the process has long been in development.
Today’s implants are directly linked to the research performed back in the 1950s by an orthopedic surgeon from Sweden named Branemark. While studying how bones heal, he implanted a titanium cylinder in a rabbit femur. When he tried to remove it, later on, he realized that it had begun to fuse together. This process has now come to be called osseointegration and is the foundation on which dental implant procedures operate.
Is a Dental Implant Procedure Right for You?
Patients that are considered good candidates for implant surgery are those who may be missing one or more teeth or are suffering from loose and unstable teeth to the point of needing an extraction performed. It is necessary that they are in overall good general health, with any existing conditions under control. Additionally, any other outstanding dental health issues such as periodontitis need to be addressed and corrected before undergoing any type of restorative procedure.
To learn more about how dental implants can restore your smile and improve your way of life, please stop in and see the oral health experts at Dr. Hilton Israelson. And we are always available to take your call if you require any further assistance. Our office number is (972) 669-9444.