Why an Implant?
Dental Implants are one of the most exciting treatments in modern dentistry. Although the first implant was placed 40 years ago, the new developments in the field are making implants a more often utilized restorative option for tooth loss and denture retention. Dental implants can help replace missing teeth that can affect your appearance, oral function or self confidence.
What is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are essentially titanium anchors that are surgically placed into the bone. The bone actually grows around the surface on the implant and has tremendous stability. This process is called osseointegration and usually takes between 3-6 months. An abutment, or attachment to the implant that sticks up our of the gum, and crown is then placed on the implant to look and feel like a natural tooth. Alternatively, and abutment may also be placed which can attach to a retain a denture.
Success Rates for Implants:
Success rates for dental implants vary depending on the study, but in general success rates are between 90-98%. Selecting patients who are good candidates for implants is important and contributes to success. Smoking inadequate bone height, width or quality, systemic diseases, hygiene and other factors contribute to failure, but even people with some risk factors can still have dental implants.
Implants for Denture Support:
Complete dentures are difficult to wear, at best. Implants can be used underneath removable dentures to eliminate many of the problems associated with denture wear.
In the upper denture, most people complain about having the palate of their mouth covered, thus decreasing the ability to feel and taste food. Four implants under an upper denture hold it securely so that the size of the plate can be reduced, removing the palate from the denture altogether.
The lower denture is more difficult to wear than the upper (there is no suction to hold it in place). It constantly moves, presses on the gums, and has to be held in by the cheeks and tongue. Just two implants under a lower denture improve it so much that it makes for some of our happiest patients!
The improved ability to chew is one of the biggest benefits patients report. Since the dentures anchor on the implants instead of resting on the gums, they allow patients to bite much harder with no discomfort. Another benefit- no messy adhesives!