People are living longer than ever, and while regular brushing, flossing, and checkups allow many of us to maintain our natural smiles for a lifetime, sometimes our teeth just can't keep up. If you've lost a tooth (or a few teeth) due to injury or disease, dental implants can rejuvenate both your smile and your oral health.
A dental implant functions as the root of a new tooth. An implant is a synthetic tooth root in the shape of a post that is surgically placed into the jawbone. The implant is made out of titanium, only a few millimeters long, and carefully engineered, this small screw is placed in your jawbone by your surgeon and serves as the foundation for your new tooth. Titanium is the same material used in many replacement hips and knees, and a metal that is well suited to pairing with human bone. A replacement tooth/crown is then fixed to the post. The tooth can be either permanently attached or removable. Permanent teeth are more stable and feel more like natural teeth.
How long do Implants last?
Studies have shown that implants can last over 35 years if they are properly maintained. If am implant is lost or fails depending on the cause of the failure a second implant can usually be placed in the same site.
Can my body reject an Implant?
Implants have a 98% success rate in the lower jaw and a 96% success rate in the upper jaw. Your surgeon will determine if your bone is suitable to have an implant placed. If your bone is not ideal then your surgeon can add bone to the site in a procedure called grafting to help ensure successful healing of the implant(s). Implants very rarely do not bond with your own bone and can fail. In most circumstances a second implant can be replaced in the site.
Single or Multiple Implants
Implants are versatile. If you are only missing one tooth, one implant plus one replacement tooth will do the trick. If you are missing several teeth in a row, a few strategically placed implants can support a permanent bridge (a set of replacement teeth). Similarly, if you have lost all of your teeth, a full bridge or full denture can be permanently fixed in your mouth with a strategic number of implants.
Advantages over Dentures or Bridges
Implants do not attach to any surrounding teeth unlike bridges or dentures. Because they don't directly rely on neighbouring teeth for support, implants don't compromise the health of your natural teeth. Dentures are not fixed to your bone and can become unstable with aging. This can make it difficult to eat or smile with confidence. Implants not only look more natural, but feel and act more like normal teeth, with a stronger biting force. In fact, bridges are only expected to last seven to ten years, even less with root canals, whereas implants can last upwards of 35 years.
Additional Implant Services
Sinus Lift Augmentation
After the loss of upper back teeth, your sinuses may enlarge in size. Before new implants can be placed to replace the lost teeth, a sinus lift augmentation or graft relocates the sinus cavity into its original position and replaces the bone that has been lost as a result of the enlarged sinus. This new bone graft typically takes 5 to 6 months to heal before the dental implants can be placed into the grafted bone.
Occasionally, ideal areas where dental implants are to be placed do not have sufficient bone quantity to predictably place the implants. In these cases, it is often necessary to "borrow" bone from another area of your mouth to graft it into the deficient area. The area of choice can be from the chin or in the back of the jaw where your wisdom teeth used to be. Sometimes your surgeon may recommend the use of bone from other sources including cadaver bone to help your own bone to grow and fill in the voids.
Implant Site Development
When a tooth needs to be removed due to infection, it is not uncommon to have bone loss around the area. In these cases, various types of bone grafting can be done at the same time the tooth is removed to help guide the socket bone healing and to facilitate the placement of a dental implant at a later date.
Computer Enhanced Treatment Planning
We have special 3D software that allows us to evaluate your bone quality, bone quantity, and bone location for the best possible placement of your dental implants. This also allows us to work closely and smoothly with your restorative dentist to ensure an ideal result for your dental implants.
Once your dental implant restoration is completed, it is important to keep the area clean and free of infection. Dental implants can accumulate plaque and tartar just as teeth can. Whether you have just one tooth replaced by an implant or several, professional cleanings will be necessary to keep your implants healthy. The time interval for these professional cleanings will be determined by your individual needs.