Now that we are living longer than past generations, there is even more reason to take better care of our teeth and our overall health.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts and intentions, we may find the need to replace a decayed, missing or broken tooth due to gum disease or injury.
Dentistry has come a long way since the early days of dentures and we are now fortunate to have more comfortable and practical solutions like dental implants for our patients.
Whether you are in need of complete dentures, partials or a bridge, dental implants can be a good option.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an anchor; an artificial root made of Titanium metal that replaces the root of the natural tooth.
An artificial tooth or crown, can then be securely attached to the implant to give the appearance and functionality of a natural tooth.
Implants as we know them today were first invented in the late 1950s by experimentation with many types of metal. A Swedish researcher discovered the remarkable compatibility between bone and titanium, and in the 1980s the modern Titanium implant was born.
Although there have not been reports of allergic reactions to Titanium dental implants, some people do feel some sensitivity or feel uncomfortable with the thought of having metal in their body.
Who will perform the implant procedure?
Dentists often perform this implant procedure and they can also refer patients to specialists such as periodontists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, and prosthodontists.
The Benefits of Implants
• Natural looking, implants look like your own teeth
• Pain-free chewing; you will be able to eat your favourite foods without pain or any inconvenience
• Your other teeth can stay; there is no need to remove healthy teeth that are next to the implant
• Robust and resilient, implants last for a long time when you take good care of them
• No movement when chewing food, which can occur with dentures
You will be able to eat your favourite foods without pain
• No discomfort or pressure as experienced with denture clamps; the implant is part of your mouth and jaw bone
• Convenient and no glue required; no need to use adhesive to fasten the denture in your mouth
• Improved speech: no worry that you may slur or mumble as with dentures that tend to slide
How do I know if I am a candidate for implants?
Most candidates will need to have:
• Healthy gums
• Enough bone to hold the implant in place
• General good health
• Ability to have routine surgical extraction or oral surgery
• Good oral hygiene routines; regular brushing and flossing, and regularly visit the dentist
Factors that make implants more challenging for some candidates
• Diabetes, heart disease, hemophilia, immune deficiencies, and connective tissue diseases
• Heavy smoking
• High doses of radiation therapy to the head or neck area
• Taking steroids or medication to suppress the immune system
• Pressure on the implants caused by grinding or clenching teeth
• Young people whose jawbones are still growing
• Alcohol or substance abusers would need to take extra care to follow instructions
The Implant Process
First you will be examined by your dentist who will need to take X-rays to determine if implants are a good solution for you.
Stage One of Surgery
The first step of surgery is to have the implant placed in your jaw bone. Once it has healed, the implant will have bonded to the bone and be attached to the gum. This can take several months.
Stage Two of Surgery
When the tissue has healed, your dentist will attach a post or abutment to connect the replacement tooth to the implants.
The artificial tooth will be made and attached to the post.
Depending on the patient and the implant it could require several appointments to get a proper fit.
Complications are uncommon but may include numbness or infection, bleeding, muscle or sinus cavity injuries. There is also the possibility that some implants may not bond to the bone.
Taking care of your Implants
You will need to brush and floss your implants the same way as you brush and floss your natural teeth.
Your dentist or specialist will want to see you regularly to check that your implants are secure, your bite is correct, and that you have no complications.
If you are interested in learning more about implants to replace missing teeth, we would be happy to help you determine if implants are a good option for you. Please contact Dentistry in Waterloo for a consultation.