If you’re missing any teeth, you want to find the best replacement possible. Dental implants have a number of advantages over any other tooth replacement option because they are so much like natural teeth.
What Are Dental Implants
Dental implants are man-made tooth replacements. They can be used to replace a single tooth or a full set of teeth, and are the closest thing to having your own natural teeth back. Anything you can do with your natural teeth can be done with implants.
The procedure is performed in two phases. In the first phase, a root form is surgically placed into your jawbone. This functions as your substitute tooth root. Once it’s placed you’ll be given some time to heal before the second phase. During the healing time, a process called osseointegration takes place which is essential to the success of the implant. Bone will grow tightly around the implant, securing it to your jaw. Some dentists try to shortcut this process, which puts the implant at risk for later coming loose. The bone should be fully healed before any stress is placed on the root form.
The second phase takes place after the osseointegration is complete. For a single tooth replacement, once the root form is solidly integrated, a porcelain crown will be placed on top of it to function as the visible tooth portion. When an experienced, artistic cosmetic dentist like Dr. Arnold does this procedure, it will be a beautiful tooth that looks perfectly natural.
For an implant-retained denture replacing all your teeth, usually the entire dentition is included in one appliance which is then fastened to the implants.
Dental Implants verses Removable Dentures
Before dental implants, the standard treatment for a person missing all of their teeth was removable dentures. Sometimes we still have patients request them. But there are significant problems with removable dentures, and Dr. Arnold discourages their use. Here are some of those problems:
Even the best-fitting dentures will reduce your chewing efficiency by 50%. And this is before facial collapse sets in, which is explained below. Over time, as your body resorbs more of your jawbone, that level of efficiency decreases. Some foods may have to be avoided altogether.
Dental implants, however, are firmly fixed so you’ll have 100% of your chewing efficiency. Because they function just like your natural teeth, you can eat what you want without difficulty.
Dentures rest on movable tissue, so there is always some movement when you speak or chew. Occassionally, they may even slip out, which can be embarrassing. Denture adhesives can help combat this problem, but they don’t completely eliminate it, and they are messy.
Dental implants, however, are completely secure. With healthy, well-placed implants, there is no movement.
Early on, if your denture is well-fitting, this isn’t as much of a problem. But after you’ve been wearing dentures for a few years, your jawbone shrinks, which increases the pressure of the denture on the jawbone. It will progress to the point that all that is left in your lower jaw is a sharp ridge that tends to develop sore spots easily no matter how well your denture is made.
This problem does not exist with dental implants.
Facial collapse is the most serious problem that all denture wearers eventually face. When your teeth are removed, your body senses their absence and begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere throughout your body. Although that is an efficient use of your body’s resources, it also means that your jawbone will begin to shrink. Eventually, your face will take on a collapsed appearance. With little jawbone left, there is no good place for a removable denture to rest and it becomes impossible to wear.
The titanium root form of a dental implant is recognized by your body, and it will stop the resorption process and prevent facial collapse.
If you are in need of tooth replacement, you may call our office to schedule an appointment. We’ll do an exam and discuss your options. If you prefer, you may click here to request an appointment online.