1. What is a dental implant?
A dental implant
is an independent artificial tooth root that is used to replace a natural tooth root that has been lost to accident or disease. Dental implants are typically placed to secure bridges, partials, dentures and crowns. Dental Implants don’t require support from adjacent teeth and thus cause them no harm. Better yet, teeth replaced with dental implants look, function, and feel just like natural teeth.2. Will dental implants be suitable for me?
Advancements in dental implant design and placement protocols have made dental implants the gold standard for the replacement of missing teeth for almost everyone. Patients with specific health conditions including uncontrolled diabetes, osteoporosis, or irradiation of the mandible or maxilla for the treatment of cancer, may be at increased risk but they are still candidates and can usually be managed by a highly experienced practitioner. Certain cosmetic conditions can be a challenge as well but advancements in cosmetic dental implant procedures routinely produce beautiful, natural, esthetic results that patients often describe as far more beautiful than their natural teeth ever where. One of the most difficult conditions to overcome is actually a habit or an addiction rather than a condition; cigarette smoking. This is an annoyingly difficult addiction to overcome and many wonderful people who have extraordinary will power and a strong desire to quit simply can’t. That is unfortunate because as smoking is a strong contributing factor to tooth loss, smokers form a disproportionate number of those in need of dental implants. The majority of the patients I see for the All on 4 procedure are smokers. So though smoking is not a contraindication the patient and doctor must realize that they will be faced with a higher than normal number of complications. Fortunately if the doctor is highly experienced and the patient is persistent, cooperative, and determined a satisfactory outcome can almost always be achieved.3. What are the benefits of implants over other dental procedures?
• Dental implants are permanently fixed and thus the teeth attached to them will not slip or move insuring comfort and avoiding embarrassing moments.
• Dental implants are easily maintained and are not susceptible to cavities.
• Dental implants allow you to eat all of the foods you enjoyed with natural teeth.
• Dental implants look like natural teeth providing a beautiful smile so you don’t have to live with the stigma and embarrassment associated with missing teeth or false teeth.
• Dental implants promote bone growth and help maintain a youthful facial structure..4. How comfortable are dental implants?
Dental implants are amazingly comfortable. Most patients are given nsaids such as Ibuprofen and methyl prednisone and report little or no discomfort. All on 4 patients can usually enjoy a light meal the evening after their surgery and most return to work in a day or two.5. Who is authorized to perform dental implants?
Dental implants can be placed by any licensed dentist but very few offer this service. Significant additional training is required to place or restore dental implants. To provide both the surgical and prosthetic phases of dental implantology the demands for additional training is even greater but the benefits to the patient are substantial. Advanced dental implant procedures such as bone grafting and especially full mouth reconstruction with the All on 4 protocol or traditional protocol requires years of training and extensive experience. In choosing an implantologist you should look for a doctor who has additional post graduate training, has certification by the American Academy of Implantology or the International Congress of Oral Implantologist, has cat scan imaging technology , an in office dental laboratory, and extensive experience. Offices like this are very rare but it is worth your effort to find one.6. Are dental implants easy to maintain?
You need to care for dental implants the same way you would your natural teeth. It is always recommended that patients meet with their dentist regularly and maintain proper dental hygiene to insure long term satisfaction with dental implants.