Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth to periodontal disease, an injury or some other reason. Under proper conditions, such as placement by a periodontist and diligent patient maintenance, implants can last a lifetime. Long-term studies continue to show improving success rates for implants.
Experts in Dental Implants
Our office is one of the most comprehensive dental implant centers in California. Dr. Cohen has been extensively trained in all types of implants and can perform immediate extraction and placement of dental implants, in many cases.
We highly value patient education. One of our main priorities is ensuring your complete understanding of dental implants and your options before proceeding. You can be assured all of your questions and concerns will be answered.
Replacing a Missing Tooth
A natural tooth is anchored into the jawbone by its tooth root. Tooth roots attach firmly to the jawbone and keep your teeth stable when chewing solid foods.
Traditionally, if you were missing a tooth or if one needed to be extracted, the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth would be cut down and the whole thing replaced with a three-crown “bridge”.
Dental implants are the modern alternative. Instead of cutting down two perfectly healthy teeth, the practitioner inserts a dental post (dental implant) into the jawbone to replace your missing tooth root. This post becomes solidly fixed into your jaw (like a natural tooth root). Your general dentist then places a crown onto this artificial tooth root that looks, feels, and functions like your natural teeth.
Quite simply, dental implants are the most natural replacement for missing teeth.
Replacing Several Missing Teeth
Dentures can cause bone loss, due to lack of stimulation. Traditionally, several missing teeth would have been replaced with a removable partial or full denture. Dentures have to be taken out and soaked at night. During the day, they can also look unnatural and rub painfully. Dentures and partials make it difficult or impossible to eat certain foods.
Dental implants can now be used to anchor partial and full dentures. This prevents the slipping, irritation, and pain associated with “floating” partials and dentures. It also prevents the tedious removal of dentures for overnight soaking and cleaning. Dental implants also eliminate the need for dental adhesives. This allows you to enjoy eating the foods you previously avoided . With dental implants, your partials or dentures are firmly anchored to the jawbone, causing them to feel much more like natural teeth.
Natural tooth roots and dental implant posts are fixed firmly in your jawbone. When you chew, these tooth roots and posts stimulate the jawbone and prevent it from shrinking. You may have seen a person who looked prematurely old because their jawbone had shrunk after wearing floating dentures. Dental implants help preserve your jawbone and appearance.
The Success Rate of Dental Implants
After their healing period, the success rate of dental implants is between 94% and 98%. If you are a non-smoker with good oral hygiene, the percentage is closer to 98%.
Does the Procedure Hurt?
The pain involved with receiving a dental implant is similar to that of having a cavity filled. It is often done under local anesthesia and patients generally experience little discomfort after the procedure.
How Long Will Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants become fixed to the jawbone. Through the life span of a dental implant will vary with each patient, many have lasted for over 30 years. With good oral hygiene and regular cleanings, dental implants should last a lifetime. In contrast, the average life span of a traditional fixed bridge is between 10-15 years.
A critical question in determining whether an implant can be placed is, “Is there enough bone to support the implant?” Fortunately, advanced bone regeneration techniques now make it possible to place many more implants than just 10 years ago.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Dental implant treatment begins with an evaluation by your general dentist who will determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure. If he feels dental implants might be possible, he will send you to a periodontist for a placement evaluation.
For More Information
The following sites will provide you with more information on dental implants:
Implant Innovation's Inc (3i)'s Patient Education Section
American Academy of Periodontology Article - Dental Implants: Teeth That Look and Feel Like Your Own