Dental Implant FAQ
There are many questions surrounding what to do when tooth loss occurs. It can be a scary and life-changing time. At Atlantic Dentistry we are here for you. We want you to know this does not need to be an uncomfortable or uncertain time in your life. Due to the many advances in dental technology available today, there is no reason to suffer with tooth loss any longer.
What Type of Tooth Restoration Do You Need?
The very first step you should take if you are missing any teeth, is to schedule an appointment with us right away. Missing teeth cause not only pain, discomfort, and possible embarrassment, but many other problems as well. When we have missing teeth we tend to chew differently, as our bite force has changed. This can make eating painful and uncomfortable. The now available space between your other teeth also creates space for bacteria and plaque to harbor, which can only create more problems, including tooth decay and gum disease. At Atlantic Dentistry we recommend scheduling a dental exam and teeth cleaning with us. We will then be able to thoroughly assess what is happening in your mouth, the status of your existing teeth, and what type of dental prosthesis you may need, which could include dental bridges, dental crowns, dentures, or dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are fixed permanently—and with good care will last a lifetime. Dental implants are secure, and unlike dentures will not wobble, slip, or fall out of your mouth.
Consisting of three parts, dental implants are typically made out of titanium, which is a metal that has been used in medical applications for decades. A dental implant is similar to a small screw, and this is placed into the jawbone where it mimics a tooth root. After a period of several months, the jawbone and implant integrate, creating a strong bond that can withstand all of the chewing and biting forces exerted upon it.
After this period, which is known as osseointegration, the dental crown - which poses as your artificial tooth, will be attached to the implant via an abutment, which is simply a connector. It usually takes approximately three to six months between the dental implant being inserted and when the crown is attached, but sometimes it may take a little longer.
The All-on-4® Treatment Concept is an innovative solution for individuals who have lost all of their teeth in either the upper or lower jaw, or both. This system replaces a whole arch of teeth on just four dental implants.
The All-on-4 procedure places the dental implants at strategic positions in the jaw to create a trapezoid force that secures the arch firmly. Two dental implants are placed in the front of the jaw and two in the rear. The rear implants are longer and positioned at a more acute angle. This allows for greater bone-to-implant contact, providing even more stability and a greater surface area for the bone and dental implant to knit together through osseointegration, which will produce a strong platform to hold the arch of teeth.
What Are Implant-Supported Dentures?
Implant-supported dentures are an innovation where an overdenture is securely attached to dental implants.
Although most people are aware that dental implants are one of the best individual tooth restoration procedures, they do not realize that a complete arch of teeth can be supported with just two dental implants with an implant supported denture.
Each overdenture replaces all the teeth in the jaw. It is affixed to the implants either with a bar-retained or ball-retained system which allows the overdenture to be removed for cleaning and snapped back into place.
What if I Need Dental Implants But Do Not Qualify as a Good Candidate?
One of the most common questions we receive is from people who need dental implants but do not yet qualify for them. The most common reason this can occur is because there is not enough bone structure to support the implant. Fortunately, if this is the case for you, there are other treatments we can provide to get you ready for a dental implant.
The alveolar ridge is the section of the jawbones that interface with the gums, directly supporting the roots of the teeth. It can sometimes be eroded as a result of tooth loss, decay, gum infection, and other types of dental traumas. In such cases, you might need a ridge augmentation to restore your natural gum line. In some dental implant procedures, we may implement ridge expansion – a variant of the ridge augmentation procedure – to prop up the jawbone volume for an implant. In this variant, we split the jawbones using surgical instruments and then fill up the rift with bone grafts. All of these will be done under local or general anesthetics, and then we will recommend pain management solutions post-surgery.
Bone grafts are sometimes necessary for dental implant procedures. Dental implants must be inserted into your jawbone and, due to periodontitis and other conditions, you may not have enough of the bone structure left to hold the implant. Bone grafts provide a way to restore bone structure so that we can perform dental implant surgery. There are several types of bone grafts available. Xenografts come from animal sources and, while the surgery carries minimal risk, they do stimulate new bone growth. Autografts are taken from a donor site on your own body. So, this does require two separate surgical sites, but this type of graft does stimulate new bone growth as well.
If you find yourself needing dental implants, know that it is a common oral surgery and if you are not yet a candidate, you soon can be! Please contact us at Atlantic Dentistry to schedule a consultation appointment, so we can help you replace your missing teeth. 904 717-0335