As Americans and other populations have developed, lifespans have lengthened. From 1960 onward, life expectancy has grown beyond any time earlier in man’s development. Since losing teeth can be a part of aging, an ever-increasing group of adults have become edentulism sufferers. Many have lost at least one tooth and others many more teeth. They quickly learn of the many disadvantages that come with tooth loss.
In modern dentistry, dentists seek to bring patients back to normal functioning, with aspects such as comfort, tooth contour, appearance, speaking and general health and well-being in mind. If teeth are suffering from decay and require replacement, in the past there were fewer options. With the advent of implant dentistry, dentists now have the ability to bring back function and appearance of teeth as if the patient’s tooth difficulties, gum atrophy or periodontal disease or lost teeth have not occurred.
The greater number of teeth a patient has lost, however, the more difficult it is to complete such transformations. Yet, thanks to a growing body of research, improved diagnostic capabilities and tools, better ability to form treatment plans, better and more creative implant designs, techniques and substances, successful procedures are possible in most cases. Patients tooth and oral function can be realized even in some of the most difficult clinical situations.
This good news has allowed patients in greater numbers to more often make the choice to obtain affordable dental implants. Dental implants across the US have grown remarkably since the 1983 to 2000 timeframe – as much as tenfold. The numbers continue to grow today, with implant dentistry becoming a far more important clinical field.
More than a million implant procedures are now completed annually with the industry in North America experiencing an annual rate of growth that is in the range of 10 to 15 percentage points. This is expected to continue for the next decade, growing even more.
Greater than nine of surgical specialty dentists now offer dental implants routinely in the clinic. Nine out of 10 prosthodontists provide restorations using implants and eight out of 10 general dentists insert implants, both removable prostheses, and fixed appliances. Only six out of ten practitioners did implants less than 20 years ago.
Reasons why the growing numbers of implants:
Increased human lifespan
Aging and tooth loss
Prosthesis difficulties or failure
Consequences of lost teeth
Removable prostheses ill-fitting or bad function
Psychological effects of lost teeth
Better results of implant prostheses over time
Generally better function of implant restorations
Patients are more open to and aware of implants
As many patients age, tooth loss becomes more prevalent. In the long ago past, ancient figures such as Alexander the Great achieved glory and fame by their feats of war as just a teenager when the average lifespan was only a little more than 20 years of age.
A human from that period would be surprised to see people of today A person of that era would be shocked to see people active today with the growing lifespans enjoyed. A person of 65 in 1965 (the average lifespan then) would also be shocked by the 80 years a person could live in 1990. And the life expectancy of a normal non-smoking person today can reach into their 80s.
In economic terms, it is now a good bet for a patient in his 70s to spend enough to have implants that will easily last the rest of his life and function like normal, given teeth. Dentists are responding to such patients and now are providing care that will increase these patients’ quality of life. Each new patient with implants now can enjoy the many benefits and advantages of implants can make.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
A dental implant device is comprised of a titanium post which then holds a crown. The procedure is usually done in a two-stage process. First, the clinician places the implant into the bone and allows it to heal. The dentist later puts the crown onto the post to allow your bite flawless and toothlike performance. After a while, the titanium post integrates into the bone through a biological process known as osseointegration, helping the implant last for life.
In some cases, patients may lack enough bone to allow for implants to be placed without additional treatment. If a bone graft is required, the dentist will use either actual bone or may decide upon a substitute. In some cases, a bone graft is attached to provide enough bone density for implants. Some patients can be fitted with smaller implants or angled implants to ensure enough bone is available to support them where the bone has been lost previously.
Perhaps what is unique about dental implants is that they are similar in many ways to natural teeth in their overall structure. This simply means that a natural tooth is composed of a crown and a root. A dental implant supported replacement tooth will have the same components in this regard. A dental implant will have a visible part known as the crown and a part that is embedded in the bone that is known as the implant or root. Different than a natural tooth root, a dental implant is made of strong and long-lasting titanium. This is the same type of material used in the surgical application of artificial joints in humans.
When a patient loses a tooth, they lose both the crown and the root. Dental implant surgery is designed to replace the root of the tooth with a small titanium dental implant. Ultimately, a restoration will be put into place that is intended to replace the crown. Following dental implant surgery, there is a period that is required for the bone to heal and ultimately grow permanently around the dental implant. When bone bonds with titanium, the result is a strong, sturdy and dependable foundation that can accept artificial tooth placement. Once an implant has been firmly established, an abutment can be attached to the implant allowing for a new replacement crown to eventually be attached to the abutment.
It should be noted that before a permanent restoration being placed, a temporary replacement tooth is usually attached to the implant immediately following initial surgery. Through modern surgical advances, dental implant technology is also highly effective at placing single stage implants that ultimately do not require any additional procedures. Even with a single stage implant, there is a required healing time of about six weeks. Following the initial healing period artificial teeth can be safely and securely placed. In some cases, an implant can be placed immediately following tooth removal. This is an important strategy because it ultimately reduces the total number of surgical procedures required.
How Can I Replace My Missing Teeth?
Dental health, as well as good overall general health, requires that your teeth be strong and healthy. In fact, when a tooth goes missing it can affect how you eat and speak. Further of concern is the fact that when a patient relies on remaining teeth after other teeth have been lost, there is a greater chance that the other healthy teeth will become damaged, lost or simply wear out prematurely. Patients may also experience chronic joint pain and headaches associated with lost or missing teeth. Replacing missing teeth can be accomplished in some ways. This can include the use of a fixed bridge as well as something known as a flipper. A flipper is a temporary and cost-effective fragile yet removable plastic tooth that makes use of a plastic retainer. Also, patients have the choices of metal partials, dentures or dental implants. It is important to note that many patients are opting for dental implants as opposed to more traditional older-technology restorations. This is simply because dental implants do not damage or modify other existing healthy teeth. This is one of the main reasons implants are so desirable today.
How is the Implant Done?
Implant placement is performed as an outpatient procedure and usually only takes under 60 minutes for one implant to be successfully placed. When multiple implants are needed, the procedure can still be performed in usually less than three hours. Before this type of surgical procedure, your dental care provider may prescribe antibiotics. Also, patients have the choice of nitrous oxide or what is commonly called laughing gas as well as intravenous sedation, local anesthesia, and general anesthesia options. When the procedure begins, the surgeon makes a small incision directly into the gum tissue. This reveals the bone where the surgeon makes a small space and then gently places a titanium implant. Following initial surgery, there is a healing phase that can take a few months or up to in some cases over a year.
Missing All Upper or Lower Teeth
When a patient has a condition where all “upper” or “lower” teeth are missing, dental implants can often be used to remedy the situation. While it is true that dentures can easily be employed as a way to deal with large-scale missing teeth, dentures are known to be difficult to wear and are considered high maintenance. Dentures are particularly troublesome especially when they are used to replace all of the lower teeth. When implants are placed in the lower jaw, a denture can snap in with a more permanent and stable result. This affords the patient more stable chewing and greater reliability. Various attachment options for dentures that use dental implants include ball attachments as well as bar attachments and dentures that are screw retained. As an alternative, some patients may choose to have individual implants placed for each tooth as a way to restore all missing teeth of either the upper or lower set. Talking with your dental care provider is the best way to know for sure which strategy is best for your unique and specific dental needs.
How do dental implants look and feel?
Dental implants are much like normal teeth and provide solid and stable function. Implants have the look and fit that are characteristics of a normal tooth. The perform better than dentures or bridges which can cause eventual bone deterioration and sometimes may hinder eating, speaking and other activities of everyday life. If you have lost teeth, the advantages of dental implants may include achieving the former appearance of your natural teeth and provide better function. Our clinicians have expert knowledge and experience and can work with you achieve the goal of returning you to your previous dental health.
What Is A Bone Graft In Dentistry?
One primary concern when it comes to the use of dental implants is whether or not there is enough bone to accommodate the implant. Following tooth extraction, there are many cases where the bone will fill in naturally within a few months to compensate for the missing tooth. Conversely, there are other cases where the socket walls are thin resulting in an inadequate amount of bone mass being present. With an inadequate bone mass, there is often not the stable platform needed to accept a dental implant. This is where bone grafting for implants becomes necessary. A bone graft can be placed immediately following tooth extraction to assist the body in filling in space. This helps to maintain the volume and width of bone required for successful implant placement. That said several months are typically needed to allow the bone graft to perform as required.
What Is An Implant Supported Over-Denture?
Considered an innovative and unique way of replacing a full set of teeth, an implant-supported over-denture arrangement is a type of restoration that is revolutionary and contemporary in many ways. Because standard dentures have known and expected limitations, they can be troublesome, unstable, inconvenient and even painful. Dentures can result in difficulty with eating and speaking and require regular maintenance. The idea of implant supported overdenture treatment is intended to replace missing teeth with a dental implant supported a full dental bridge. This results in greater overall stability and a better quality of life for the patient. This type of procedure is considered cost-effective when compared to other types of restoration procedures. This is mostly because fewer implants are required thereby reducing the cost for the patient. As an added benefit, less bone grafting is usually required resulting in faster healing time and faster overall treatment.
What Is Teeth-in-an-Hour?
Another unique type of dental concept that is revolutionary in many ways offers patients full functionality about dental implants in just one single procedure. Most importantly, the process only takes about an hour. This type of procedure is known as Teeth-in-an-Hour. This unique and innovative concept is the result of the collaboration between an oral surgeon and a doctor specializing in dental restorations. The combined knowledge and experience of these two individuals led to increased safety and dental implant placement that is more precise and highly exacting. This combined with the fact that the final prosthesis is fabricated and completed before surgery results in an expedited procedure that provides patients with excellent functionality and a great smile in a very short period.
The system is state-of-the-art because it makes use of computer guided implant surgery that eliminates the need for flap reflection. The benefits for the patient are substantial in that there are far less post-operative bruising, swelling, and general discomfort. For this type of procedure to be properly implemented, the patient must have a CT scan of the jawbone. It is needed to produce a 3-D model of the patient’s jawbone. Ultimately, this is used with virtual reality computer technology to plan for the proper placement of the dental implant without the patient being present. The result is faster and more accurate placement resulting in better convenience and enhanced healing for those having dental implant surgery.
What Is All-On-Four?
All-on-Four dental implants are unique in that they can replace all missing teeth on either the upper or lower section of the mouth. Advances in dental implant technology have made this kind of procedure possible. Considered a minimally invasive solution, dental implants with a fixed full-arch restoration produces impressive results. It is a cost-effective technique that is convenient in nature and that provides patients with a reliable and stable prosthesis completed on the same day of surgery. Offering immediate functionality, this type of dental implant procedure does not require bone grafting and rather utilizes existing available bone. It is a full arch rehabilitation that makes use of just four implants in total. Talk with your dental care provider to learn more about this reliable, unique and innovative type of implant treatment concept.
What should I Do After Implant Placement?
Following routine dental implant placement surgery, patients are typically fitted with a temporary replacement tooth giving the dental implants time to heal. In other cases, removable teeth or a temporary bridge may be used to the same end. In yet other cases, temporary transitional implants can be incorporated for patients seeking a temporary non-removable restoration solution. About pain following dental implant placement, most patients report minimal pain. However, when pain does exist, your dental care provider or oral surgeon will provide you with a prescription for pain medication and antibiotics as needed. It is important to note that dental implants enjoy a very high success rate and in many cases will last many decades and even a lifetime. Dental implants should be treated like other natural teeth and brushed and flossed as necessary once healing has been achieved.
What Is The Dental Implants Cost?
While considered a new concept to some patients, dental implants have been around for several decades. When comparing costs associated with dental implants and other types of tooth replacement technology, it is essential to consider some important factors. For example, dental implants are in many ways more cost-effective than other types of tooth replacement technology currently available such as dentures and bridges. This is simply because dental implants will last decades and in most cases a lifetime. Dentures and bridges require eventual replacement and regular maintenance. Dentures and bridges may initially be less expensive but will likely ultimately cost more over the long term as compared to dental implants. Another important consideration is that dental implants ensure better jawbone health ultimately saving patients money over the long term while promoting better dental wellness. Because each patient’s case is unique and different, it is important and is recommended to schedule an initial implant consultation to determine the actual cost related to your specific dental health care needs. That said the cost for implants could range from $1000 to $3000 on average.
Most insurance plans are accepted at our practice. Help with financing arrangements can be provided by our staff and we sometimes can provide information on third-party lenders to assist patients. We also can provide payment plans and specials are found on our website for implant procedures on a recurring basis.