Dental Implants: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the most common questions I hear daily from Patients regarding Dental Implants:
What is a dental Implant?
A modern dental implant is a threaded titanium post that is surgically placed in the bone of the upper or lower jaw. Following placement, your bone heals to the dental Implant in a process called “osseointegration”. Once your implant is integrated, a replacement tooth called a “crown” can be placed on top of the implant to restore the function and aesthetics of the previously missing tooth.
What are the advantages of dental implants?
There are many advantages to implants over older ways of replacing missing teeth. Implants stimulate the bone that they are housed in, slowing the bone loss that occurs following loss of a tooth or teeth. Less bone loss means better appearance, function, and health of bone around remaining teeth. Implants provide solid anchorage for replacement teeth without placing load or stress on adjacent teeth, like a traditional bridge or partial denture does. Because of this, Implants and the teeth they support are longer lasting than either bridges or partial dentures. Another major advantage of implants is that they can be used to anchor dentures when no other options are possible.
Is it painful to get Dental Implants?
Getting Dental Implants involves very little discomfort. In fact, most of the patients for whom I have placed implants report no or very little pain following surgery. I follow a very specific protocol of medication and management that results in minimal to no post-operative pain for most of my implant patients.
What can Dental Implants be used for?
Dental implants can be used to replace a single missing tooth, several missing teeth, or even to replace all teeth. Implants can also be used to support or hold secure complete or partial dentures, drastically improving their chewing power and fit. Basically, dental Implants can be used to secure any number of replacement teeth, and they do it in a way that far surpasses any other treatment we have available.
Is there an upper age limit for dental implants?
No. Many patients choose implants for improved function and appearance well into their 70’s and 80’s. Their first words to me are generally: “ I wish I had done this sooner”
Am I healthy enough for dental implants?
There are very few medical conditions that rule out dental implants. The placement of implants is a simple, painless, in-office procedure that requires only local anaesthetic.
I’m missing a tooth…Why not just leave the space alone?
The teeth adjacent to the missing tooth are at risk of tipping and drifting into the open space, which can disrupt your bite and cause food to pack in newly formed spaces. Aesthetic, speaking, and chewing difficulties can arise and worsen over time. Patients with missing teeth on one side often shift chewing to the other side or to the front teeth, causing uneven wear, breakage, or tooth drifting. One key issue is that the teeth adjacent to the space must now take more load, and thus see more breakdown and wear due their extra workload. Finally, bone loss will occur in the area that the tooth was lost, leading to weakening of your jaw and shrinkage of bone away from adjacent teeth, putting them at risk of loosening. Later efforts to replace teeth where bone has been lost are complicated by failure to maintain bone, and the treatment outcome is often compromised due to lack of supporting bone.