|Missing and damaged teeth are a common problem for many people. If you are missing your natural
teeth you may find that there are other things you miss too. You may miss your natural smile or not
being able to eat the food you desire. Perhaps your remaining teeth are shifting, or you suffer from
muscle strain and headaches. It doesn't have to be this way. With dental implants and prosthetic
solutions, most people can get new teeth that look, feel and function like the real thing.
What Is An Implant?
What is an implant and why is it used? An implant is a synthetic metallic root substitute that is placed
(implanted) in the jawbone. It can be used to either replace a single missing tooth, provide an abutment
(anchor or retainer) to replace several missing teeth, or be used as a retainer to provide added retention
to a removable dental appliance - such as a full denture. In fact, if you are missing all of your natural
teeth, it is possible to have maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) fixed replacements - the
replacements do not come out and you cannot remove them yourself, even if you want to!
A dental implant is a small titanium fixture that serves as the replacement for the root portion of a missing
natural tooth. The implant is placed in the bone of the upper or lower jaw and allowed to bond with the
bone and serve as an anchor for the replacement tooth. Dental implants can be used to replace a single
lost tooth or many missing teeth. Implant supported replacement teeth look, feel and function like
natural teeth. Dental implants are a proven restorative option with a long clinical history. Dental implants
preserve the integrity of the facial structure and reduce the inconvenience associated with tooth loss.
When teeth are lost, ongoing shrinkage of the jawbone occurs making the face look older. Dental
implants can slow or stop this process. Dental implants look and feel like your own natural teeth.
Dental implants eliminate the pain and discomfort of removable full or partial dentures. Since dentures sit
on top of the jawbone and gums, continuous shrinkage of the jaw bone alters the fit of the denture
resulting in slipping or rocking of the dentures. Exposed nerves and irritation of the gum tissue may add
to the discomfort.
Implant supported replacement teeth are like natural teeth because they are anchored securely to your
jawbone. Gum irritation and the pain of exposed nerves associated with conventional full or partial
dentures are eliminated.
With ill fitting dentures, the teeth slip and slide around the mouth. The facial muscles become tense in an
attempt to hold the teeth in place. This often results in mumbling, slurred speech or clicking noises.
Replacement teeth allow you to speak with confidence in a relaxed and natural tone.
Dental implants can restore chewing efficiency comparable to that of natural teeth. This allows you to eat
your favorite foods with confidence and without pain, enjoy what everyone is eating and not think twice
about it. A full upper denture covers the palate of the mouth and reduces the ability to taste foods. With
dental implants, you can have the palate removed from your upper denture so you can taste and enjoy
Dental implants can eliminate the numerous embarrassing inconveniences of removable partial and full
dentures. You will eliminate the use of gooey denture adhesives that must be re-applied throughout the
day. You will no longer need to cover your mouth when you laugh or smile, for fear that your teeth will
pop out or fall down.
Protect Your Remaining Natural Teeth
Dental implants are often more appropriate than a bridge for the replacement of one or more adjacent
teeth. With conventional bridgework, the teeth surrounding missing teeth must be ground down. Dental
implants often eliminate the need to modify these teeth, resulting in a conservative, yet esthetic
How Long Does It Take?
Two separate events are needed in replacing a missing tooth with an implant. First, there is the surgical
phase when the implant is placed, and second the prosthetic phase, where the replacement teeth are
constructed and fixed into the proper position.
Implant placement procedure involves making a small incision in the gum area where the implant is to be
placed, preparing a site in the underlying bone, inserting the implant into the prepared site, and closing
the tissue over the implant with several sutures. This area is left undisturbed for several months - usually
4 - 6 months. More healing time may be required for more involved situations. This is not uncommon.
Because the lower jaw is composed of bone that is more dense than the upper jaw, the healing time is
usually less when an implant is placed in the mandible. This 4 - 6 month healing process is nothing that
you can feel. It relates only to the slow integration of the implant with your jaw. This integration occurs
After the healing and integration of the implant the implant placement site is exposed - the gum is cleared
away from the top of the implant. Dr. Wagner will then fasten (by cement or with internal threads) to the
implant the appropriate post that will be attached to the crown, bridge, or whatever type of replacement
is indicated. The implant is held in place by the bone, the post is fastened to the implant and provides
means to attach the crown (or bridge or whatever is the final replacement needed) to the implant.
Who Is A Candidate?
Anyone who is missing one or more of their teeth due to injury, disease or decay, may be a candidate for
dental implants. If one or a few teeth are missing, dental implants in conjunction with a crown or bridge
can replace those teeth without loosing more bone. If all or most of your teeth are missing, the dental
implants may be placed to replace a loose fitting full or partial denture. Adequate bone in your jaw is
needed to support the implant(s) along with healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease.
Occasionally, older patients express concern that their age may prevent them from enjoying the benefits
that dental implants offer. However, health is more of a determining factor than age. If you're healthy
enough to have a tooth extracted, you're probably healthy enough to receive dental implants. Certain
chronic diseases may contraindicate implant treatment. Dr. Wagner will determine if you are a candidate
for dental implants after a careful evaluation of your dental and medical health.
|Questions - Comments - Suggestions
Should you have questions about any aspect of dental disease or treatment,
or have a specific problem or treatment need, contact us at:
Phone: (918) 622-3915
Address: 9035 East 62nd Street, Tulsa, OK. 74133
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© Copyright 2009, Scott W. Wagner, DDS, PC. All Rights Reserved.
|Call us today at (918) 622-3915