If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to restore your ability to smile, speak and eat with comfort and confidence, then dental implants may be right for you.
You lost a tooth in a “soft ball” accident! Perhaps your dentures don’t fit as securely or comfortable as they once did or perhaps you hide your smile because of spaces from missing teeth. Maybe you have loose teeth that need to be stabilized after treatment of advanced gum disease.
2. What are dental implants?
Dental implants are artificial substitutes for natural tooth roots. The implants – small anchors shaped like screws or cylinders-are placed into the jawbone by the implant surgeon. Replacement teeth are attached to the part of the implant that projects through the gums. Used for many years, dental implants are effective, natural-looking replacements for missing teeth. Most specialists in dental implants work as a team-the implant surgeon surgically prepares your jaw and a prosthodontist, the restorative specialist, like Dr. D., makes your replacement tooth or teeth.
3. What is osseointegration?
Osseointegration is the “magical” process that allows us to replace missing teeth! Osseointegration is defined as the direct contact between the implant surface (predominately titanium oxide) and the surrounding bone. The union of titanium implant and living jaw bone is the scientific achievement which restores the function of the “tooth-less” jaw to an almost natural state. Many modern implant systems can now predictably achieve “osseointegration” provide you, the patient, with the highest probability of success . . . . and years of comfort and function.
4. What do dental implants do?
Dental implants provide non-removable tooth replacement in the toothless jaw. Dental implants can provide support for a full denture, making it more secure and comfortable. Dental implants can also support a fixed bridge, eliminating the need for a removable partial denture. Of course, dental implants can replace just one missing tooth. There is NO cutting the adjacent teeth (and risk root canal therapy!) as we did years ago. In addition, we avoid connecting the teeth and replace only the one tooth that is missing! Hygiene is not complicated.
5. Would I benefit from a dental implant?
Although dental implants have brought comfortable, confident smiles to many patients, they are not for everyone. The ideal candidate has good general health, good oral health and adequate bone in the jaw to support the implant. Equally important, the ideal candidate is willing to help decide if a dental implant is the right choice for them. Essential to the review is your medical and dental history, thoroughly examine your oral tissues and supporting bone in the jaw, and check the way your teeth fit together when you bite. X-rays and models will be taken and analyzed, perhaps with the help of a computer. After this careful examination, our office and the surgeon will talk with you about dental implant options. You should discuss the benefits, risks, and possible alternative treatments.
6. What are the advantages of dental implants?
Dental implants can support replacement teeth in much the same way as tooth roots support natural teeth. Dental implants provide an alternative to a denture that wobbles clicks or causes pain. Dental implants can also prevent embarrassment about spaces from missing teeth. You can enjoy your favorite foods again. And you can smile and speak with confidence!
When reputable dental implants systems are placed by trained dental specialists, they can have a success rate of over 90 percent. In fact, with effective oral care at home and regular visits, dental implants have lasted as long as 20 years and may last a lifetime.
7. What are the disadvantages?
A dental implant requires a greater financial investment than a removable bridge or conventional denture. On the other hand, an implant can offer advantages in terms of comfort and appearance benefits that many patients find well worth the cost. A dental implant also requires an investment in time, perhaps three to nine months from start to finish. If you consider that implants have lasted as long as 20 years and can last a lifetime, the investment in time is quite reasonable. As with any surgical procedure, dental implants involve a risk of infection. Occasionally, an implant may loosen and require replacement. Because each person is unique, implant success cannot be guaranteed.
In some instances, the time frame for treatment can be shortened considerably, with the final teeth delivered in only a few short months or DAYS . . . . from start to finish!
8. What is the treatment like?
The treatment will vary depending upon the type of implant and the health of the patient. For example, many patients can receive implant treatment in the dental office. A brief hospital stay may be necessary for other patients. The first step is placing the implants into the jawbone. After this surgical treatment, the bone in the jaw attaches to the implants, holding them firmly in place. The attachment of bone to the implant can take three to six months. Second, small metal posts or cylinders are attached to the implant, projecting them through the gums. After this second procedure, the gums take a couple of weeks to heal. Third, replacement teeth are fabricated and securely attached to the small metal posts or cylinders. Several fittings of the new teeth may be needed. After treatment is completed, brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly are essential to the success of the dental implant.
9. Can I continue to wear my current dentures during the 3-6 month healing phase?
You should be able to wear your current partial dentures or full dentures after the implant placement is done. Your appearance will not be disturbed. In most cases, though, we plan and deliver immediate aesthetic and functional improvements that are welcomed changes to your Life!
10. How quick will I get my implant teeth?
With “traditional” implant cases, 3-6 months’ wait is necessary because of the healing action that occurs between the bone and the titanium oxide implant surface. There is an interchange on a cellular level between the titanium oxide and the bone which n turn allows for the attachment. One may find that this time (3-6 months) may increase towards a longer period of evaluation to allow for further healing. This based on that fact that healing and cellular changes will continue to occur even after the 3 month period.
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For more information about dental implants or
Dr. Doundoulakis, please call us in NY at 212 517-3365