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dental implants

What is a dental implant?

Dental Implant

A dental implant is a titanium made fixture, resembling a screw, that is surgically inserted into the jawbone which supports and anchors an artificial tooth. More specifically, it consists of three parts: a metal fixture that is inserted into the bone, an abutment that connects the post to the crown, and a crown that appears and functions like a natural tooth. Many patients opt for dental implants to replace single or multiple missing teeth. Implants may also be used in conjunction with a denture to enhance denture stability and comfort.

Components of a dental implant:

  1. The dental implant fixture: Surgically placed into the jawbone, this part remains beneath the gum, surrounded by bone and is not visible.

  2. The abutment: An internal connection between the implant and the implant crown.

  3. The dental implant crown: The visible portion of the implant resembling an actual tooth.

Implant Crown, Implant Abutment, and Dental Implant

Is a Dental Implant Safe?

Dental implants are considered a safe and effective option for replacing missing teeth, as supported by extensive research findings. The material commonly used in dental implants, titanium, has been extensively studied and is widely acknowledged for its biocompatibility. Research published in periodontal journals has consistently reported the success rates of dental implants, with figures ranging from 90% to 98%, depending on various factors such as implant type, location, and duration. Dental implants are durable and long-lasting, requiring occasional re-tightening or replacement of the crown due to normal wear.

Female pointing to a dental implant and holding a dental implant model showing teeth and implants

Advantages of Dental Implants

  • Enhanced Aesthetic Appeal: Dental implants not only look and feel like your natural teeth but are designed to fuse seamlessly with the bone, ensuring a permanent and natural appearance.

  • Improved Speech Clarity: Ill-fitting dentures may cause speech impediments, leading to mumbling or slurring. Dental implants provide a stable foundation, allowing you to speak confidently without the concern of teeth slipping.

  • Elevated Comfort: As an integral part of your oral structure, implants eradicate the discomfort associated with removable dentures. Implants can also alleviate joint pain or bite issues caused by teeth shifting into the gap left by a missing tooth.

  • Effortless Eating: Unlike sliding dentures that can pose challenges while chewing, dental implants function like natural teeth, enabling you to enjoy your favorite foods with confidence and without discomfort.

  • Enhanced Self-Esteem: By restoring your smile, dental implants contribute to an improved sense of self-esteem and overall well-being.

  • Promoted Oral Health: Unlike tooth-supported bridges that necessitate altering adjacent teeth, dental implants preserve the integrity of neighboring teeth. This approach enhances long-term oral health by leaving more of your natural teeth untouched and facilitating easier access for improved oral hygiene.

  • Long-lasting Durability: Dental implants boast exceptional durability, often lasting many years and, with proper care, even a lifetime.

  • Unmatched Convenience: Unlike removable dentures, dental implants are firmly fixed in place, eliminating the inconvenience of removing them. This not only prevents embarrassing situations but also eliminates the need for messy adhesives to secure dentures.

How long do implants last?

Dental implants are intended to be a permanent fixture in your mouth, with a success rate of 90-95% over a decade. The longevity of implants can fluctuate between 10 to 25 years, depending on the material, quality, location, and maintenance of the implants. According to a study of over 12,500 dental implants, the 17-year survival rate of dental implants was 93%. Dental implants can last 15-20 years or more on average with proper care and maintenance, which includes good oral hygiene practices like regular brushing and flossing and avoiding harmful habits like smoking!

Are you a candidate for Implants?

Certain conditions may disqualify you from being a candidate for dental implant. These include:

  • active gum (periodontal) disease

  • uncontrolled diabetes

  • blood clotting disorders

  • heavy smoking

  • metabolic bone disease

  • patients taking antiresorptive or antiangiogenic medications like Fosamax, Actonel, Celebrex, etc...

  • active cancer treatment, head and neck radiation

  • Patients that have insufficient bone structure to support the implants

  • Teens or young people whose jawbone is still developing

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