Restoration of a Sure Foundation
If youve lost permanent teeth due to an accident, injury, disease
or extraction, you may want to know more about dental implants. Implants
are often considered a secure, functional replacement option because they
do not rely on neighboring teeth for support.
Of course, you may wonder about the advantages of implants compared to
other tooth replacement measures such as bridges, partials, or full dentures.
A good way to understand this is to consider the logic behind repairing
your home. For example, if termites destroyed one of your homes
major structural supports on the bottom story of your two-story home,
you wouldnt think of simply placing another support in that position,
without first anchoring it solidly to the frame of the home. Even though
it would require taking apart and reconstructing part of the second story
floor, youd go ahead and do the work, to ensure that the new post
was firmly integrated into the infrastructure. Otherwise, the neighboring
supports would be forced to bear more weight than they were designed to
bear, causing weakening, shifting, and eventual break-down of those beams
as well. At some point, your whole upper floor would sag or tilt.
Well, the function your teeth serve in your mouth is similar to the function
of those structural supports in your home. So once a tooth or group of
teeth is lost from your normal dentition, the biomechanics of your entire
bite are off-kilter. Remaining teeth have to absorb more pressure than
theyre designed to absorb in normal biting and chewing, thus causing
over-wear, shifting, migrating, and possible loss. And the jawbone below
the missing teeth doesnt receive enough pressure, which leads to
But fortunately, because implants are permanently, surgically anchored
to the jawbone as tooth root substitutes, they halt the downhill progression
of tooth loss and further long-term damage. Implants actually re-institute
proper distribution of pressure, prevent jawbone atrophy, restore normal
eating ability, and provide face muscle support.
Basic Bone Bonding
Implants are tiny posts, made of either a metallic or bone-like ceramic
material. One variety is inserted into your jawbone below the gum surface,
at the location of the missing tooth. The bone then bonds to the post
and forms a secure foundation onto which artificial teeth may be attached
and shaped to match your existing teeth. If your jawbone is insufficient
for such as procedure, we can fit a custom-made metal framework directly
onto the existing bone instead. Implants may also provide an anchor for
bridgework. The typical implant process requires a couple of separate
steps: "anchoring" and then "attachment".
First, the tooth root substitute "post" is surgically inserted
into the jaw-bone below the gum tissue. We do this step in conjunction
with a renowned periodontist; then conduct the next step at our office
the same day. This immediate load implant provides you with
a functional, normal looking tooth on top of your post, allowing you to
continue normal eating habits during the three to six month period that
follows. This period of time is required to form a solid, enduring base
with sufficient stability to withstand the tremendous mechanical pressure
involved in normal chewing.
Guided Gum Growth
Once the implant post has bonded with the jawbone, a second surgery fixes
the top of the implant onto the anchor post. To accomplish this, we carefully
uncover each implant anchor, connect it to a small post that protrudes
above the gum-line, and completely cover it with a previously designed,
custom-made, permanent artificial tooth. A key factor in your final result,
is Dr. Caranos careful tissue guidance technique. He
actually directs the gum tissue growth around the implant to ensure that
the new gumline matches your natural smile.
The result is a secure, attractive, replacement tooth or set of teeth,
designed to function as effectively as the remaining natural teeth. Depending
on the number of teeth involved, this final step in the implant process
usually requires no more than two months to complete.
Proven Placement & Potential Problems
Those unfamiliar with implant technology may also question the procedures
success rate. The technology is approximately 20 years old, and has proven
effective as a means of tooth replacement; the degree of success depending
primarily on both the recipient's health, and the location and function
of the teeth being replaced. Teeth placed in the lower front jaw may be
up to 95% successful, while side or rear placements may be only 85% successful.
It's also best to be in good general health, with proper bone structure
and healthy gums. Often, people unable to wear dentures are among those
who benefit most from implants. On the other hand, chronic health problems
such as clenching, bruxism, or systemic diseases may decrease the success
rate of the procedure immensely. Finally, if you who smoke or drink alcohol,
you may also be a poor candidate for implants.
Cost, Commitment & Care
Due to the surgery involved, implant procedures are typically more expensive
than traditional bridgework. However, dental and medical insurance may
cover portions of such restoration. It's best to discuss this with Dr.
Carano and our staff during your evaluation for implant placement, so
that we can assist you in working with your insurance company.
Finally, as an implant candidate, youll want to seriously consider
your own commitment to future oral health. In fact, poor oral hygiene
is a common reason for implant failure. So, you'll want to be sure and
brush and floss around your fixtures at least twice a day, according to
the specific instructions we give you. Further, you may need up to four
annual professional cleanings to maintain healthy gums.
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