5 Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Implants
- Posted on: Oct 24 2017
1 – What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a screw made of biocompatible material (titanium, titanium alloy, zirconia/ceramic) that integrates with the jaw to mimic the root of a tooth. The implant itself is only one component that provides the foundation for a crown or implant overdenture to be placed.
2 – Why choose an implant over a bridge or denture alone?
When compared to a bridge, an implant is superior for a few reasons. One is that the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth do not have to go through the grinding process in preparation for crowns. This feature allows adjacent healthy teeth to remain untouched. Another preferable reason for an implant is it allows the person to floss in between teeth just like a natural tooth. A bridge is joined together and has to be flossed underneath the crowns, which can be troublesome for some people.
When looking at dentures alone versus dentures in conjunction with implants, implants provide some benefits. Partial dentures are usually fabricated with clasps that can eventually place pressure on existing teeth. This pressure can cause those teeth to loosen over time. Implants can reduce the need for clasps, therefore, preserving those teeth for a long time. Another feature of dentures is the fact that denture fit changes over time. This situation occurs because the jaw loses bone density when teeth are not present. It goes along with the old adage, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Implants used in conjunction with dentures allows the stimulation of the jawbones and preserves the bone density throughout life.
3 – Am I a good candidate for a dental implant?
For almost everyone the answer is yes. Implants are the closest thing to natural teeth and create excellent results. Some cases do require more foundational work (i.e. bone grafting) to place the implant in an aesthetic and functional location. Also, there are some situations where implants may not be recommended. Some examples include, but are not limited to, uncontrolled diabetes, extensive smoking history, immune system deficiency, extensive bisphosphonate use, etc. A consultation will be performed to determine if an implant is ideal for you.
4 – Is a periodontist an expert in dental implants?
The answer is a resounding yes. Periodontists go through three years of extensive training in not only saving teeth but also providing implants as excellent replacements. We focus on the supporting structures like the jawbone and tissues to make sure your implant not only functions as it should but also that it looks natural.
5 – I keep seeing ads for “Teeth-in-a-Day”. Why are you saying it will take several months before I get my crown?
The “Teeth-in-a-Day” concept is built around removing the remaining teeth in the upper and/or lower jaw, placing implants in strategic locations, and fabricating a denture or dentures to wear all in the same day. The denture and spread of the implants are used to balance the forces on the implants while they integrate into the jawbone. For most people this procedure is not the one that will be performed when missing one or a few teeth. The biting forces on one or a few implants can cause the implants to fail if they have not adequately healed and integrated in the jawbone. Therefore, for most cases, 3-6 months is the time the implants need to heal properly.
Joseph W. Holland DDS, MSD is a periodontist/owner at Advanced Periodontics and Implants of Katy. If you are interested in learning more about implants or the field of periodontics, please contact (832) 840-9560 to set up a consultation. To receive our latest content via email, click here to sign up for our newsletter.
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