Dental Implants for Replacing missing teeth
A missing tooth is not just an esthetic eyesore, but also it can affect your whole body and has the potential to adversely affect your life and well-being. A missing tooth can affect the way you speak, eat, and even how you bite. When one or more teeth are missing, your remaining teeth bear an increasing amount of pressure to make up for the missing teeth. This increase in pressure and usage could cause them to wear out prematurely and eventually fail. Other effects of missing teeth may manifest, such as headaches, jaw pain or shifting of the remaining teeth. Additionally, bone that previously surrounded the now extracted site could simply melt away, a process called resorption. Studies show patients lose 25% of the supporting bone structure within the first year after losing a tooth. Resorption presents a problem when restoring the missing teeth in the future. Dr. Senehi utilizes the latest techniques to preserve the most amount of bone structure and place implants the same day, as the affected teeth are extracted with the possibility of same day restoration. This breakthrough in implant dentistry affords you the luxury of not having to undergo a second procedure to uncover the implant thereby reducing the time between extraction and final restoration in most cases by many months.
What are dental implants?
Dental Implants are titanium posts that are placed surgically into the jaw bone. They primarily act as a substitute for the natural tooth root. Once the implant is positioned in the bone, the titanium implant will bond over time (Osseointegrated), creating a strong foundation for future, or in some cases immediate restoration of your teeth. Additionally, once the dental implant is restored, it will mechanically induce the surrounding bone, preventing further resorption.
Are you a candidate for dental implants?
Whether you need to replace one tooth, several teeth, or all your teeth, Dr. Senehi has a solution for you. Dental implants are the solution of choice for patients of all ages (except growing children), even those with the following health concerns:
- Periodontal Disease (Bone Loss). Bone loss is common in patients with periodontal disorders, and advanced cases will result in loss of (teeth). Dr. Senehi is highly trained and experienced in grafting bone to safely and permanently secure implants, often even with patients that have been told that they were not implant candidates due to severe bone loss. In most instances, Dr. Senehi can graft the site and place the implant the same day. With the use of current technological advancements, even same day restorations are also an option. Please ask us during your consultation if you are a candidate for same day restorations.
- Currently Wearing Partials or Dentures. Implants are meant to replace removable prosthesis (such as partial or complete dentures), they can also be used to stabilize and secure a denture, allowing it to be more comfortable and functional.
- Existing Medical Conditions. While precautions are observed for certain conditions, the rule of thumb is that if you can have routine dental treatments, you can have an implant placed. Dr. Senehi is a dual degree Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon. As a physician (M.D.) Dr. Senehi will perform a comprehensive analysis of all medical conditions and current medications. After the physical examination, he will discuss all of the options available to perform the procedure safely and with the highest probability for success. Additional coordination with your primary care physician could be necessary before the completion of the procedure.
- Smokers. Even though the success rates are lower than that of non-smokers, it does not mean that smokers are excluded from successful implant placement. However, options regarding smoking cessation will be discussed during the consultation.
- Traumatic bone defects. With the use of current technological advancements, Dr. Senehi can restore traumatic defects by placing dental implants in the areas that could not be previously restored.
- Pathological defect. Patients that suffer from certain pathological conditions that cause bone resorption may also be candidates for Dental Implants. Once the pathology is removed Dr. Senehi can provide options for restoration of the affected region with Dental Implants.
Key advantages of dental implants
The following are some of the benefits that you could expect after implant placement.
- Enhanced appearance. Dental implants support crowns that have the look and feel of your own teeth. Also, they provide a supportive structure for enhancement of the soft facial tissue.
- Comfort. Dental implants eliminate the discomfort and awkwardness of removable restorations.
- Easier eating. Missing teeth or removable restorations make chewing difficult. Implants feel and function like your teeth because they are fixed, allowing you to chew and eat your favorite food confidently and pain-free.
- Enhanced oral health Individual implants improve oral hygiene by allowing easier access between teeth for cleaning. Additionally, dental implants allow your teeth to be restored without altering the adjacent teeth (unlike traditional bridges), preserving more natural tooth structure and improving your long-term oral health.
- Convenience. The worst thing about removable dentures is that as their name suggests, they are removable. Dental implants not only eliminate the need for messy adhesives, but they also eliminate the inconvenience of removing your dentures.
- Better speech. As dentures move and slip, they can and do cause issues with speech. Slurred words and mumbling are all too common amongst patients who wear dentures. Dental implants allow you to speak without having to worry that your denture might slip.
- Enhanced self-esteem. Dental implants can help you feel better about yourself by giving you back your smile as well as your self-confidence in some cases in ONE DAY.
- Enhanced Durability. Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, implants will last a lifetime.
- Prevent Resorption. The placement of dental implants will prevent the naturally occurring deterioration of the bone called resorption, and once restored it will also impede the migration of the adjacent teeth.
Dental Implant Procedure
For many patients suffering from edentulism, tooth loss, or severe dental damage, the best solution is a dental implant procedure. The idea of replacing one’s natural teeth with artificial teeth can be somewhat challenging for some. At Facial and Oral Surgery Institute we are committed to helping address your concerns and challenges when it comes to your health and your mouth.
Dental implant therapy is a tooth-replacement treatment that replaces a natural tooth or multiple natural teeth with high-quality artificial teeth. These replacement teeth, typically fabricated in a highly-controlled laboratory, are designed to perform just as well if not better than a person’s natural teeth.
Visually and structurally, dental implants are intended to look, feel, and work just like your normal teeth would. They look like natural teeth in shape, color, and material, and even mimic a natural tooth’s structural composition. Typically, conventional implants consist of a titanium post and an artificial crown or cap. The post, like the root of a tooth, is embedded into the jawbone where it osseointegrates into the surrounding bone structures in order to form a stable, near-natural support for an artificial tooth.
The artificial tooth, also known as a cap or crown, is then attached. Once the implant has properly integrated and the surgical area has adequately healed, patients should notice little difference between their natural teeth and their new dental implants. Functionally and aesthetically, a well-executed dental implant procedure should result in natural-looking and feeling teeth.
Dental Implant Benefits
The advantages of dental implants over other tooth replacement alternatives are quite pronounced. No other tooth replacement treatments, with the exception of implant-supported dentures or All-On-Four Dental Implants, reproduce the natural transfer of bite forces from the teeth into the jaw bones.
Dental implants mimic the roots of natural teeth and transfer bite forces into the underlying jaw bone. This is important for two reasons: first, transferring bite forces into the jaw bone actually stimulates bone growth and helps to maintain bone density. Without adequate stimulation, patients who have lost teeth or have teeth with unhealthy roots will actually experience a rapid wasting away of bone structures in a process called “resorption”. This process is the reason why elderly patients, particularly those who have been toothless for some time, often also have hollow cheekbones and other signs of facial aging.
Conventional implants neatly address this problem by replacing the functions of a tooth’s roots with a titanium metal post which stimulates the jaw bones and helps retain a fuller, more youthful appearance.
Alternative Treatments to Dental Implants
There are a variety of alternative treatments in the marketplace that, depending on a patient’s individual needs, are suitable for replacing lost teeth. These include traditional dentures, bridges, and for less severe cases, dental veneers.
Dental Implants vs. Dentures
Traditional dentures are the removable, full-arch solutions typically associated with previous generations. They are generally the least expensive solutions, although they require a higher degree of maintenance than dental implants and are considerably less resilient.
Patients who opt for traditional dentures may have to replace those dentures every three to five years or sooner depending on the quality of the materials chosen, the quality of the denture manufacturer, and the conditions the prosthetic is subjected to during use.
Conventional dental implants, on the other hand, require no additional maintenance other than the normal brushing and flossing adequate for natural teeth. Furthermore, if placed and fitted correctly by an expert and skilled dentist, conventional dental implants are designed to last a lifetime and won’t fall out of your mouth at inopportune moments. Dental implants also have the benefit of stimulating underlying bone structures which promote bone retention.
Dental Implants vs. Bridges
Bridges are another attractive alternative to dental implants. Bridges are prosthetic devices that are supported by adjacent abutment teeth. They can be fixed, like dental implants, or removable like dentures. Bridges, however, do not convey the same bone-retaining benefits of dental implants.
Bridges offer a middle ground between the aesthetic and functional advantages of dental implants and the lower cost of dentures. Bridges are more permanent, longer-lasting, but also more expensive than dentures. However, they are less expensive than individual dental implants, and for patients who only need one or two teeth replaced, bridges can be a good compromise.
Dental Implants vs. Veneers
Dental veneers are not suitable for tooth replacement since they rely on existing natural teeth for support. However, veneers can be used to treat cosmetic damage, such as stains, non-structural cracks, or chips. Like the facade of a building, dental veneers fabricated from porcelain or another material simply covers up existing teeth forming a thin protective and visually-appealing sheath.
For patients experiencing edentulism, dental veneers are not a viable option.
What Can You Expect During Dental Implant Therapy?
Typically, dental implant therapy consists of five steps: an initial consultation, preparation, implantation procedure, recovery, and placement of the final abutment and dental crown. Not all patients have adequate bone depth and the bone density necessary for implantation which may necessitate an additional step of grafting new bone. If required, this bone is typically harvested from the hips and must be implemented before the actual implantation procedure can take place.
During the initial consultation, a thorough dental examination will be performed in order to clearly identify and diagnose underlying causes. Once the examination is complete, a plan will be developed by Dr. Senehi. The plan will take into account a patient’s medical history, budget, needs, desires, health, and expectations.
Dental Implant Preparation
Preparation for the dental implant procedure can sometimes commence immediately following an initial consultation. During the preparatory phase, Dr. Senehi will extract irreparably decayed or damaged teeth. If bone grafts are necessary, they will be placed in the areas of edentulism and allowed to heal.
Dental Implant Procedure
During the implantation procedure, metal posts made of an inert, dental-grade metal are inserted into the gums and embedded into the jaws. This procedure typically entails the use of local and general anesthetics depending on the scope of work required.
Dental Implant Recovery
Recovery times will vary from one patient to another depending on a variety of factors including overall health and fitness, the number of dental implants embedded, and other variables.
Generally speaking, patients can expect a recovery period of between 3 to 6 months. This recovery period is necessary not only for soft tissues to heal but also to allow the metal post to completely osseointegrate into the underlying bone.
Final Placement of Dental Implants
During the final placement and fitting, an abutment extension is attached to the implanted metal post. A final artificial tooth, or crown, is then placed and fitted onto the abutment and the dental implant procedure is complete.
Dental Implant Cost
Conventional individual dental implants can involve higher up-front costs than other tooth replacement treatments, such as bridges, dentures, and other prosthodontic solutions. However, when lifetime costs are taken into account, individual prosthetic dental implants can often be much more economical. A single conventional dental implant can cost between $1,000 to $3,000 for a single tooth.
Patients who opt for full-mouth reconstruction using conventional dental implants can expect to pay $90,000 or more for a full set of 32 teeth. A likely better option based on revolutionary technology is the All-On-Four dental implants which can be achieved at a much lower cost. Both options look, feel, and function much closer to natural teeth. Many patients find that the aesthetic and functional benefits alone are worth the expense.