What are dental implants?
Dental implants consist of three equally important parts:
- A titanium post that has grooves and usually looks similar to a precision-milled high-tech screw that is placed by your dentist in the bone of the upper or lower jaw as a replacement of the root of the missing tooth. It fuses with the bone and provides very stable support for various dental restorations. Such posts can be used to support a single crown, a dental bridge (consisting of two, three, or more units), as well as a full arch of teeth.
- A connector known as an abutment that is designed to support a dental crown.
- A custom made dental crown that looks and functions like a natural tooth..
What is the best time to get implants?
It is beneficial to have implants placed as soon as possible after losing a tooth to prevent bone loss at the site. In fact, in some cases, dental implants can be successfully placed right after the extraction of the tooth or teeth.
Two main concerns in placing implants are the volume and condition of the bone. Sufficient bone mass is critical for successful implant placement. The bone in the upper and lower jaws loses both volume and height in areas where teeth were lost or extracted at the rate of 25% over the first year and about 1% per year thereafter.* The longer teeth remain missing, the more prominent bone loss becomes, making implant placement more challenging.
Some of my teeth have been missing for a while. Can I still get dental implants?
According to statistics published by both The American Academy of Implant Dentistry and The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons over 69% of Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 years have at least one missing tooth due to trauma, tooth decay, or gum disease.
So, the answer to this question, in most cases, is – yes. You still can get dental implants.
If bone mass has already been lost, there are bone grafting procedures that your dentist at PDX Smile Design can implement to create enough bone support for dental implants. Often these procedures can be performed at the same time as the implant placement itself, repairing both the bone defect and stimulating the growth of new bone.
Even people who are missing all of their teeth can benefit greatly from getting dental implants. Some techniques allow the use of as few as four implants to provide much greater support for upper and lower dentures.
Please schedule a consultation with your dentist at PDX Smile Design to find out more about the advantages of using dental implants in achieving the goal of restoring your beautiful smile.
Dental implants at a glance:
- Dental implants are made of purified bio-compatible inert materials, such as titanium and zirconium, which allow them to fully integrate with the bone and to become a replacement for the roots of missing teeth.
- Dental implants have been successfully used for over 40 years. Their effectiveness is proven by long-term clinical results.
- For many years dental implants have been the standard for replacing missing teeth.
- Over 2.3 million implant-supported crowns are placed by dentists in the United States annually.**
- Placement of dental implants has a very high degree of predictability, since it relies on streamlined protocols, precision imaging, and evidence-based research.
- Once they are integrated with the bone, the success rate for dental implants is highly unlikely to decrease over the years.
- Dental implants help to preserve bone structure by preventing atrophy from bone loss.
- Implant-based restorations, such as dental crowns, look and feel more natural than other methods for replacing missing teeth.
- The bite force that implant-supported restorations can withstand is very similar to natural teeth. Full or partial dentures, for example, are able to withstand only less than 1/10 of the maximum bite force.
- Dental implants are supported by bone (not other teeth), which means adjacent healthy teeth can be preserved. This is not the case with dental bridges.
- Over the years, with the help of technological advancements and solid research, dental implants have become much smaller and thinner, yet have retained their ability to be fully functioning replacements for the roots of missing teeth.
- The success rate for dental implants is 95+% over 20+ years after placement.
- With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime.
*International Journal of Dentistry
**American College of Prosthodontics