Modern Dental Implant Services in Plymouth, MN
When it comes to dentistry and dental treatments that can improve your life one of the more exciting advancements in recent years is the advent of modern dental implants as a treatment option for patients.
At Smile Design Dentistry Dr. Brett Moore and Dr. Corey Jensen are happy to be able to offer dental implants as a treatment option for their patients. We offer the finest in modern dental implant care.
Unless you already have a dental implant many of you may not even know what a dental implant is. Or possibly it has been recommended to you to have a dental implant and you are reading this article to gain further knowledge about dental implants. Read this article to gain further knowledge about dental implants. Whatever the reason for reading, or seeking information on oral surgery, perhaps the best place to start is with a definition of a dental implant. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) “Dental implants are made up of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body. They are posts that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth.”
While a technical description is always a nice start it lacks a practical meaning for most people. Dental implants are basically posts that can be placed into jawbone that can serve as a replacement if you are missing a tooth or even replace multiple teeth.
You may be wondering why you should even need to replace a missing tooth? After all, we have 32 teeth (28 not counting wisdom teeth) right? What’s the big deal if I have one less?
When a Missing Tooth Needs a Dental Implant
Well, there are several reasons you may want to take action on the missing tooth:
1) Cosmetically the gap created by a missing tooth gap just doesn’t look good.
2) Missing multiple teeth can make your face look sunken in, or saggy. Making you look older.
3) A missing tooth could affect your speech causing slurring or whistling.
4) A missing tooth, especially a molar, can make it harder for you to eat and enjoy food.
5) When you lose a tooth, the remaining teeth may move to fill the space. This can cause teeth to be tilted and crooked or teeth to erupt further than they should to fill the gap.
6) You may lose bone in your jaw where the tooth was lost. Since there is nothing for the jaw bone to hold or bond to (tooth roots) your body will allow the bone to recess as it is no longer needed.
7) Ultimately it can cause other problems and a shorter lifespan for your other teeth. Think of your mouth and teeth like a semi-truck with 16 wheels where the wheels are your teeth. The truck is chugging along and loses one of its tires. By losing one tire does this mean the truck has to stop? No, the truck can still move along but now the loads and weight are shifted over 15 wheels, not 16. This makes all of them work harder to compensate for the missing wheel. Over time this will cause all of the wheels to wear out more quickly and unevenly. The same can happen to your teeth.
An April 28, 2014 article titled Current trends in dental implants by the National Institute of Health states that “Statistics provided by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons show that 69% of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth to an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal or tooth decay. Furthermore, by age 74, 26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth. Therefore, the use of dental implants reveals that about 100,000-300,000 dental implants are placed per year, which approximates the numbers of artificial hip and knee joints placed per year”.
Co-authored by Salcido JP MD, this shows that due to new dental implant technologies, it is a common same-day dental procedure that many adults benefit from.
State of the Art Contemporary Dental Implants
While dental implants are a wonderful cosmetic treatment option that more and more dentists are using many of us baby boomers are probably more familiar with a dental bridge. Dental bridges were the most common treatment regarding the replacement of missing teeth for many, many years and are still widely used. For those who do not know, a dental bridge will replace a missing tooth by taking the two teeth next to the missing tooth area, prepare those teeth for crowns and insert a false tooth in between them that fills the missing tooth area’s space. This created the “bridge” between the natural teeth with a false tooth bonded between them. Dental bridges are solid, fine pieces of dentistry that look natural and provide the ability to use the area for chewing. Many doctors still use dental bridges as a treatment for missing teeth and there is nothing wrong with that approach.
With dental implants, many dentists including Dr. Moore and Dr. Jensen at Smile Design Dentistry have been able to offer a better option in some situations. A bridge may force you to remove natural tooth structure from teeth solely to provide a support for a false tooth. With implants, there is no need to remove healthy tooth structure from the teeth next to the missing tooth. No matter how good modern materials are they still can’t beat natural tooth structure so dentists, as a general rule of thumb, are hesitant to do this if they can avoid it.
What’s involved in a Modern Dental Implant Treatment?
If you are considering a dental implant it would be nice to know a little bit more about the process of implant treatment, like it can take months to complete from start to finish. As with any successful dental treatment, your dentist must come up with a clinical diagnosis and treatment plan for the patient who presents with a missing tooth. This process will involve an exam, a full-mouth set of x-rays or panoramic film, and possibly study models. To determine if a patient is a good candidate for implant dentistry the doctor may take a 3D scan, or cone beam CT, of the area and use study models to make a stent or a mock-up of where the final tooth will be placed.
A CT scan will allow the dentist to view on their computer, in three dimensions if there is adequate bone to accept an implant and assess other anatomy affecting the implant placement. Now with study models, 3D image and a stent your dentist has a roadmap for placement of the implant. If your dentist does not see the desired level of bone on the CT scan for an implant, they may recommend bone grafting to bring the jawbone to a level to create the best possible outcome for long-term implant stability. In some cases, the desired site for an implant is just not very good or possibly there are other factors inhibiting implant placement. You may ultimately have a site that is better for a traditional bridge. After reviewing your needs and clinical situation, your dentist will discuss this treatment option with you if that is in your best interest.
Healing Process of Modern Dental Implant Care
Assuming that your dentist has determined that a dental implant is the best treatment option for you the next step is to place the implant itself. Like I stated earlier the implant post is a titanium screw that is placed in your jaw. It serves as the “tooth roots” to hold it firmly in place. Once it is placed in your jaw the implant needs time to heal. What truly happens during the healing process is that your natural bone grows around the implant and bonds to it, securing it in place just as though it were one of the roots of a natural tooth. This healing process normally takes three to four months. During this time there is also a healing cap placed on your implant, at the gum line to protect the implant.
After the healing process has finished an abutment and crown are placed over the implant. The abutment attaches to the implant itself and serves as the connector between the implant and the crown. The crown is a natural looking tooth made of a very hard material that can function and bite like one of your natural teeth. When you look in the mirror you probably will not be able to tell the difference between your natural teeth and the implant. Implants, like natural teeth, do require good home care to hopefully have it last you for decades to come. Using a water flosser, traditional floss and toothbrush in combination with regular dental recall and cleaning visits will set you up for long-term success with your new dental implant.
QUESTION: What if you are missing several teeth?
Are implants treatment options at that point?
ANSWER: Yes! Implants can be used as anchors for dentures or bridges covering an area where multiple teeth are missing. If you have just a few teeth missing, an implant-supported bridge may be an excellent option for you. If you are missing multiple teeth or have many teeth that are significantly worn down, decayed or failing, an implant supported or retained denture may be an option available to you. In both the implant-supported bridge and denture you don’t typically need to replace every lost tooth with an implant. You only need enough to support the span of the final restoration that will be placed in your mouth. Think of it like building a bridge over a river, you only need enough struts to support the road in between them. Through the treatment planning process, your dentist will determine how many implants are needed to support the teeth in between them and discuss with you all the treatment options available.
Protocol for Your Follow-up Visits Post-implant Placement
So now that you have a little more information about dental implants there are a couple more items you should think about as you make decisions on your dental care.
- Once you have a dental implant, don’t take it for granted and stop seeing your dentist. Regular dental visits are very important to the long-term success and life of your dental implant. At Smile Design Dentistry Dr. Moore and Dr. Jensen will set you up on a program and guide you on keeping your implant healthy.
- Along with regular dental visits home care is vital. You will be advised to brush and keep the area clean. There may also be a special toothbrush or mouth rinse that is recommended to help prevent cavities and gum disease.
Dental implants are not immune to periodontal disease and inflammation, and in some cases the negative impact can be more profound than on natural teeth. That is why it important for good home care and recall dental visits after your implant placement.
Bottom line is if you are missing teeth ask your dentist if dental implants would be a treatment option for you to replace the teeth. You won’t regret it!
Book your dental appointment today: 763-537-1238