Dental Implants Presentation
To provide you with a better understanding of dental implants, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to dental implants are discussed.
Dental implants have revolutionized dentistry in the last ten years. They provide a foundation for replacement of missing teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth, and are, in many ways, better than the original teeth you were born with. The latest technological advancements have provided a replacement option that is very durable, strong and predictable. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. They are changing the way people live and patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.
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What Are Dental Implants?
The implants themselves are small threaded titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes and are specially treated on the surface to facilitate direct attachment to bone. As the implant heals, the bone bonds intimately with the titanium surface (a process called osseointegration), creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. A fully healed implant subsequently provides a strong, virtually indestructible base for artificial replacement teeth or anchors. Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
Consequences of Not Replacing of Missing Teeth
If there are missing teeth and gaps within the arch, there are a number of potential future complications that could occur. Generally, nature abhors a vacuum. Therefore, if there is a tooth missing, your other teeth could migrate in an attempt to fill that gap. The existing teeth on either side of the missing space would drift into the void. This would not be a bodily movement, but rather a tipping movement. The result would be teeth that are in a slanted position. This presents problems in hygiene and keeping the area clean, leading to accelerated tooth loss. The teeth in the opposing arch would also attempt to fill the missing space by over erupting. Consequently, the tooth would lose stability due to less bone support at the roots. Also, missing molars mean decreased chewing efficiency. Without distribution of forces, the remaining teeth will be overworked to bear the load normally designated for the missing tooth. This would again result in potential premature loss of teeth due to over usage.
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Dental implants are a very permanent option for replacing teeth. They are also inert, and will not move in a growing patient, like natural teeth. Therefore, implants cannot be placed in patients that have not completed growth. Most girls complete growth at later teenage years and boys can have a growth spurt as late as 21. Although each patient is different, implant placement generally cannot occur in patients earlier than 16, except in extreme circumstances. Your surgeon will recommend the appropriate timing at your consult visit.
Dental implants can be utilized in three ways:
- Replacement of missing teeth
- Improving fit of dentures
- Temporary anchorage to move teeth with the assistance of braces (orthodontics)