- What are dental implants?
- Why have implants become so popular?
- Who is a good candidate for implants?
- How long have dental implants been available?
- What is the success rate of implants?
- What are the benefits of dental implants?
- How long will my implant last?
- What type of restorations can be placed on implants?
- How long after a dental implant is placed can it be used to anchor my new teeth?
- How do implants on dentures compare to normal dentures?
- Does it hurt to have implants placed?
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are medically pure titanium devices that are placed into the jawbone. They act as an anchor to provide a solid base for artificial tooth replacement. Titanium is used in other surgical procedures such as knee and hip replacements.
Why have dental implants become so popular?
The tremendous popularity of implants has largely been the result of people living longer and their desire to fulfill a lifestyle with the greatest possible pleasure. Implants give us the ability to restore something that is fundamental to our own body. Almost everyone wants to smile more frequently and feel more secure when they talk and laugh. Dental implants allow you to do everything you want with total self-assurance.
Who is a good candidate for dental implants?
Anyone in reasonable health who wants to replace missing teeth; those who are dissatisfied with their present denture; those people who would like to eat better and with more comfort, smile more frequently and feel more secure when they talk and laugh. In some instances, some patients may not have sufficient bone available for the placement of implants. In these patients, new bone can be added by ridge augmentation procedures.
What is the success rate of dental implants?
This depends very much on where the implants are placed and what they will be called upon to do. The best case scenario is the placement of implants in the front portion of the lower jaw. Here success can be as high as 98-100%. In other areas of the mouth, success rates can drop significantly. According to figures that we have today, the success of implants in the front part of the upper jaw are anywhere from 90-95%. Success rates of implants in the back part of the upper and lower jaw can be in the 85-95% range.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Patients with implants have stated that they eat better, are more comfortable when they eat, and don’t have to use denture adhesive to retain their dentures. They also say that they can talk and laugh without feeling self-conscious and without fear of their dentures slipping out. All these improvements make people with dentures feel better about themselves, increasing their self confidence while improving their social and business lives.
How long will my implants last?
There are few things in life that last a lifetime and dental implants are no different. Should a problem arise, it normally does during the first six months to a year following surgery, during the period of bone healing. After this period, problems appear to be less frequent, with only occasional bite adjustments required.
How long after a dental implant is placed can it be used to anchor my new teeth?
The protocol that was originally developed clearly states that we must wait three months in the lower jaw and six months in the upper jaw before we can begin to construct the new dental prosthesis that will be supported by the implants. In recent years, however, there has been a movement within the profession to sort of speed up this process. Today we believe that it is possible in selected patients to accelerate the healing time.
McGill University in Toronto conducted a study to determine if people, especially the elderly, can improve their chewing ability and nutrition if they wear dentures anchored by implants. After 6 months, the group with dental implants not only increased their body fat but blood tests recorded significantly higher levels of albumin, hemoglobin (Iron) and vitamin B12 – all indicators of nutrition. The study group also reported significant improvements in their ability to chew meat and hard vegetables and did not avoid foods they did in the past.
Does it hurt to have dental implants placed?
The actual procedure to surgically place a dental implant is done under local anesthesia and is generally not at all painful. When the anesthesia wears off about three or four hours later, you might expect some discomfort. The level of discomfort is quite different from patient to patient, but most patients do not have significant problems. Some patients do have varying degrees of pain or discomfort which may last for several days. Swelling and black & blueing may also develop.
In cases where there is prolonged pain, you should see Dr. Fornatto right away. Prolonged pain is not a good sign with dental implants and although it does not always mean failure, the cause of the pain should be determined as soon as possible. If an implant is not properly integrating into the adjacent bone or if an infection develops, the implant may have to be removed.