What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are available in several different forms, of which the most common is the “root form implant.” Root form dental implants mimic the roots of teeth, making them similar to your natural teeth.
What Are Dental Implants in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and What Can I Expect During My Procedure?
Dental implants are post-like devices that serve as the roots of a tooth. These posts are inserted into the jawbone, forming a base on which to mount artificial teeth to fill the gaps left by missing natural teeth. One or several implants can be inserted at the same time, and can be
used to support bridges or dentures also.
During the first clinical appointment, the implants are placed into your jawbone. These fixtures are then allowed to integrate with the bone for a period of approximately three months. After this healing period, the implants are examined to ascertain their degree of fusion with the jaw. If solidly fused, they are ready to be prepared to accept the final prosthetic components, such as artificial teeth, bridges, or dentures.
Implants are fashioned from titanium, a highly biocompatible metal. This material is incapable of decaying and thus never needs root canal therapy. A major benefit of implants is that they trigger bone growth, thus preventing future bone loss. Bone behaves in much the same way as muscle, growing when active and stimulated, shrinking when neglected. Though bone is very similar to muscle in this regard, bone shrinkage may be irreversible and require a bone graft to fix.
In cases where multiple implants need to be utilized, or in areas where the bone is difficult to work with, advanced technology such as Simplant Planner or Nobel Biocare Nobel-Guide can be used to place the implants with unrivaled accuracy. Software of this type uses three-dimensional CT scans to fully visualize the bone and thus helps with precise placement of the oral medical fixture.
More recently, we have begun integrating 3D cone beam CT scans into the process, providing extremely accurate appraisal of the supporting bone. We’re even utilizing integrated optical 3D scans for extremely accurate implant placement that makes these fixtures much more comfortable! The large amount of pre-surgical information that is obtained in this way is so valuable, that many experienced dental implantologists say these features should not be placed without first using 3D CT scans. This is especially true in areas of possible “danger” in the mouth.
How Long Will An Implant Last?
In some individual cases, modern dental implants have been maintained in good condition for greater than forty years. Continued care is still need for an implant after placement, even though it is made out of metal. This includes both patient home care and professional maintenance. The useful life of a dental implant varies according to the factors of patient health, patient habits such as oral hygiene and smoking, and structural overload.
Dental implants are not subject to ordinary tooth decay, fashioned as they are out of titanium, but the crowns and dental bridges they support are still worn down by use. Patients need to be aware that they need to maintain the health of the gums around the implants. With proper dental care, implants can be expected to last for the full lifetime of the patient!
What are Dental Implants Used For?
The dental implant is simply the supporting fixture for subsequent dental restorations. Common “end-uses” are:
- Replacing a single missing tooth – This is of course the most common use. See our section on Dental Implant Crowns
- Replacing a tooth supported bridge — The primary problem with a tooth supported bridge is that if any part fails the entire bridge fails. Also the supporting teeth are more frail and prone to failure. See section on dental implant bridges.
- Replacing partial dentures – Many people “hate their partials” as they can damage the supporting teeth and often get food caught beneath them. See our section on Replacing Partial Dentures.
- Loose Dentures — These dentures can be “locked down” into place. They are still removable, but more comfortable. See section on implant supported dentures.
- Eliminate dentures — Many people “hate their dentures” and all the plastic in their mouths. Dental implants can be used to eliminate dentures altogether and have fixed not removable dental bridges. See our section on Dental implant bridges and “All on Four” or “Teeth in a Day.”
The subject of dental implants is vast and quickly changing. Please call for a consultation so we can explain what your individual options are!