What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants have been used successfully for smile restoration for over 50 years. This is the most conservative and longest-lasting treatment for replacing a missing tooth. Implants are also useful for supporting dentures and bridges to correct more extensive tooth loss.
Dental implants are prosthetic replacements for missing or severely damaged teeth. This treatment option delivers an unprecedented level of patient satisfaction. Tooth implants provide a natural-looking appearance and long-lasting function. They are the gold standard for smile makeovers and dental restoration. If you have lost one or more teeth to fractures, gum disease or tooth decay, dental implants from our Nashua office could finally give you back your beautiful smile.
Why Choose Dental Implants?
- Dental implants can be used to fully restore teeth that are too badly damaged or decayed for repair with a filling, a porcelain inlay/onlay or a crown.
- A dental implant restores normal chewing and biting ability. Most patients can resume a normal, healthy diet that includes a wide variety of foods after treatment is complete.
- Tooth implants offer a conservative solution compared to a traditional bridge. Only the tooth that is being replaced is affected. The teeth on either side of the missing tooth are not ground down and capped.
- Patients can opt to have one or several teeth replaced with implants. Dental implants can also support dentures. These implant-supported dentures tend to be more stable and comfortable than those held in place with adhesive.
- Replacing a missing tooth with an implant helps prevent other teeth from shifting out of alignment over time. Keeping teeth straight and even promotes better oral care. It makes proper brushing and flossing easier, which reduces the risk of cavities and gum disease.
- Since the prosthetic tooth is load-bearing (you can bite and chew with it), an implant may also help limit further jaw bone loss in the treated area.
- Long term success rates with implants are 95-100%. Some patients enjoy their dental implants for life with no need for replacement or repair.
Benefits of Dental Implants Over Dentures
There are many benefits to an implant supported over denture. Primary benefits include better and longer retention and stability. Compared to traditional dentures, the implant supported over denture relies on the strength of the implants to increase the biting force needed for effective chewing. More stable dentures improve speech and physical appearance. In the case of hybrid implant dentures (permanently retained dentures) they increase the ability to taste as there is not anything covering the roof of your mouth.
Having dental implants placed is extremely beneficial for your bone, a key aspect to denture retention. When teeth are removed the bone loses stimulation thus resulting in bone loss. Bone loss is the primary reason dentures begin to come loose and fit poorly after many years. Having implants placed evenly across your arch stimulates the bone and mitigates the bone loss. Many long time denture wearers can have implants placed to halt the bone loss and return to a securely fitting denture. The benefits to implant supported dentures are so profound that when discussing denture options with patients we almost always suggest implant supported dentures as primary treatment.
How to Maintain Dental Implants?
Depending on the type of implant supported over denture you have, there are certain maintenance tasks involved. For a “locator” implant over denture, the small attachments in the denture need to be replaced every 6 months to two years depending on the force of your bite. The cost for this is very minimal.
Keeping up with bi annual exams will prolong the life of your implant supported over denture and your implants as well. The key to maintaining a healthy implant is keeping the bone healthy. Routine visits to clean any plaque or debris from around the implants will help keep your bone in good health. At these visits we will properly clean your over dentures, evaluate their condition, properly clean around your implants and check to make sure your tissue is healthy and your dentures are fitting as they should.
Who is a Candidate for Dental Implants?
The most important factor in success rates for implants is bone density. Patients who have very advanced periodontitis (gum disease) may not have enough bone left to hold an implant. They may need one or more bone grafting procedures before they can get tooth implants. Smokers have more complications during healing than non-smokers, so if you smoke, you may need to stop before you undergo this dental treatment.
Dental Implant Procedure:
Tooth implants rely on osseointegration to create a stable connection between a titanium implant and the jawbone. During osseointegration, the bone grows into direct contact with the implant, holding it firmly in place. This is a brief overview of the treatment process provided by our office:
- Consultation – This includes a full oral exam, medical history, and radiographs. This information is used to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants as well as what size and shape of implant to use.
- Preparation – If you have a tooth root in place, this is removed. The gum is opened slightly to expose the jawbone.
- Placement – A tiny hole is drilled in your jawbone and the titanium implant is screwed or fitted in place.
- Healing – This phase lasts 3-6 months. During this time, your jawbone heals around the implant.
- Abutment – A small metal post is attached to the implant and your gum is allowed to heal again (this recovery period is much shorter).
- Restoration – A custom fabricated porcelain crown that looks like your natural teeth is fitted to the abutment.
Dental Implant Timeline
From the time implants are placed to the time you receive your final product can be anywhere between 6-8 months. When implants are placed the bone needs at minimum 3 months to integrate into the implant. We rely on the oral surgeons recommendations as to when we are able to begin the over denture process. In the meantime a traditional denture will be recommended for temporary use. In most cases with hybrid dentures (permanently retained dentures) you will receive a functional fixed denture the following day.
When Can I Resume Normal Activity?
Implant placement is a very common procedure. Most patients return to their normal physical activities within days of having implants placed. Many return to work the following day.
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