Twenty or thirty years ago, if you had missing teeth you wanted to replace your only option was a removable denture or a fixed or removable bridge to gain back your ability to speak clearly and to eat.
Removable dentures had a tendency to slip and make embarrassing clicking sounds when speaking or eating and were often the cause of bone loss in the area where the teeth are missing. Fixed bridges often affected the healthy teeth and led to gum disease and decay. In addition, removable dentures and fixed bridges usually needed to be replaced every seven to fifteen years.
Today, much more efficient, safe and lasting solutions are available to replace missing teeth. Dental implants have proven to be the best way to replace teeth and can help with other problems as well. They can make it unnecessary to have a removable partial or full denture. Just four implants can provide support for a full denture so that it is more comfortable and secure. Implants can also replace one or more teeth without disturbing the teeth on either side.
Dental Implants Are Made Up of Three Parts:
- Base—this is a screw or plate that is made of zirconia or titanium which fuses with the natural bone forming a stable support
- Crown—this is the top of the implant and is designed to look like a natural tooth, usually, it’s made of a ceramic substanc
- Connector—the connector is what secures the crown to the base. Sometimes called an abutment, usually in the shape of an octagon or hexagon
Procedure Required for Dental Implant
Oral surgery will be needed and is most often done while the patient is sedated. The dentist first drills a small hole into the jawbone then screws the base into the bone. The gum is then folded over the implant and allowed to heal. When the base of the implant has healed, then a second surgery will be needed to fit the connector into the implant. Then the crown is attached to the top of the connector with a small screw and some special dental cement.
Ideal Candidates for Implant Surgery
A good candidate is generally healthy and has good oral health. This means gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease and enough bone in your jaw to support the implant.
The Materials Used for Dental Implants
Today, the great majority of dental implants are made of titanium alloys. The effectiveness of titanium bonding with the jawbone was accidentally discovered in 1952 by a Swedish doctor. The other material that is used is zirconium. Because there are some people who are sensitive to certain metals or have rare types of allergies, researchers found a metal-free material. This led to the development of zirconium, a white opaque looking material which is labeled as a ceramic even though there are some metal atoms in the material. Zirconium has proven to be very hard and strong and fuses with the bone just as titanium does. For now, titanium has a much longer track record than zirconium. Some patients have reported titanium implants lasting 20-35 years.
How Safe Are Dental Implants
When performed by our implant specialists, it is one of the most predictable and safest procedures. No other treatment has the strength or the ability to stimulate your natural bone beneath the missing tooth. Added to this, your new teeth will look, feel and function naturally.
Various Types of Dental Implants
Two of the most common types of implants are endosteal implants, the most commonly used implant and subperiosteal implant, which is used for patients who have a shallow jawbone. They are placed on or above the jawbone under the gum. Dental implants come in different sizes and our dental implant expert is trained to help you decide what option suits you.
Dental implants are also done to replace all of the teeth. For this, multiple visits would be needed, including a consultation, initial exam and questions about your dental and medical history, as well as deciding on your treatment options.
New procedures are being developed to add to the techniques of dental implants. Mini implants are smaller than the customary dental implants and can be placed with less-invasive techniques. Mini implants measure less than three millimeters while standard implants have a diameter of about three to five millimeters. Mini implants are used in patients who are unable to have ordinary implant surgery and can be effective to secure a complete lower or loose denture.
Another alternative technique is called immediate-load dental implant sometimes advertised as Same Day implants or Teeth in a Day. This method allows for the attachment of the artificial tooth on the same day that the implant is placed. You will be able to go about your life while the dental implant bonds with your natural bone, which takes about three to six months at which time your custom crown will be placed.
Dental implants are the gold standard for replacing missing teeth. They maintain the integrity of the jawbone, stop sagging of the cheeks into the gaps of missing teeth, look and function like natural teeth and never decay. The titanium root bonds naturally with the bone and may last for years or even a lifetime.
At King of Prussia Periodontics and Dental Implants, you can be sure to get high-quality care from Dr. Marissa Crandall Cruz, an expert in periodontal plastic surgery and dental implant therapy. Dr. Cruz is also a Diplomate of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists and a member of the American Dental Association, American Academy of Periodontology, Academy of Stomatology of Philadelphia, and the Delaware Valley Academy of Osseointegration. Dr. Mana Nejadi is also trained in periodontics and implant dentistry and esthetics. She is the director of the Predoctoral Periodontics program at the University of Pennsylvania between 2013 – 2015. Dr. Rimple Sandhu is certified in Periodontics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and teaches implant dentistry and periodontics.