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So, you’ve lost an adult tooth. Or maybe your dentist has recommended extracting a couple of problematic teeth. Perhaps you are dreading looking like Lloyd from the blockbuster movie “Dumb and Dumber” for the rest of your life? Fortunately, just as dental restorations can help you maintain and keep your natural teeth, dental implants can replace missing teeth. And it may surprise you to learn that they look and function amazingly.
Whether you need one or multiple implants, there are options available to you. For example, considering the choice between titanium or ceramic implants. Perhaps you are interested in attempting to speed up the recovery time? Or maybe you are wondering if there are more durable, long lasting options? Read on to learn in greater depth what you can expect from a dental implant procedure conducted by Dr. Kindal Robertson at Living Wellness Dental Dorchester.
A dental implant is a type of dental restoration used to replace a lost adult tooth. Tooth loss can be caused by tooth decay or injury. Common causes can include:
Losing a permanent tooth can have an impact not only on one’s oral system (changing how you chew or speak), but on one’s overall wellness. Over time, teeth have a tendency to shift towards the space vacated by the missing tooth, potentially leading to crooked or misaligned teeth and a malformed bite. Missing teeth can also lead to bone deterioration, potentially changing the shape of your jaw and face.
Dental implants preserve bone tissue and tooth function with a new tooth. The implant acts as the tooth root—the part below the gumline. After the root is inserted, the visible part of the tooth is replaced with a cap or crown. Dental implants can also help replace multiple missing teeth by forming a sturdy base for a dental bridge or a set of dentures.
The general health of the client is an important aspect in achieving optimal success of an implant. Gum and bone tissue are the primary concerns. Radiographs are necessary for determining whether the client has enough jaw bone to hold the implant securely. Where bone deficiencies are identified, dental bone grafting can offer potential solutions to jawbone shrinkage or abnormal jaw development.
At Living Wellness Dental Dorchester, clients take a test to determine their individual sensitivities to products that may be used in various procedures. The results of the assessment increase the likelihood of choosing materials that will work with their own personal makeup.
Getting a dental implant takes place after a tooth has been extracted. Normally there is an assessment of the area where the new tooth will be. This takes about 45 minutes and normally includes imaging to assess the site. The next appointment is to place the implant. This takes approximately 1 hour. Following implant placement the body works over the next 3 months to intimately bond to the implant through a process known as osseointegration, creating a stable platform for later placement of a natural looking and functioning crown. Recovery usually takes 3–6 months. Many have benefited from placing platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) to stimulate oral tissue and bone growth.
Once the implant and bone have fused in place, a custom-made natural-looking crown, bridge, or denture, is ready to be placed. An image or impression of the implant and surrounding teeth is created. A tooth is then made with this image and normally placed on a subsequent visit. It is also possible to have the crown created before your eyes using CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics) technology, and placed on the same day!. Please ask us if this is right for you.
Once a crown is placed, it is ready to be used. You can resume normal activities—including chewing—with little to no restrictions.
Traditional dental implants utilize a 2-piece titanium set up with a screw and abutment. Alternatively, clients can also choose a 1-piece ceramic (or zirconia) non-metal option.
Titanium has been the gold standard for dental implants since its introduction in the 1960s. It is a material that is used frequently in many medical procedures. Titanium dental implants can last for years or even a lifetime. The implant is intended to be permanent. Normal care and maintenance is required.
Although rare, some clients can be hypersensitive to metal ions released when titanium contacts tissue. The allergic reaction can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, such as swelling and irritation and possibly implant failure. Dental implant failure is uncommon and only occurs in 5–10% of cases. Early or late-stage implant problems can result from:
One disadvantage of a titanium implant is its appearance. Although the root is hidden underneath the gumline, it can be partially visible if a client experiences tooth shifting or gum recession.
Ceramic dental implants are made from zirconium oxide thus they are often referred to as zirconia implants. The material is often viewed as metal-free and biocompatible. These implants have undergone clinical testing and have received approval from Health Canada.
Zirconia implants have some advantages in what is known as the aesthetic zone (the teeth normally seen when smiling). Because zirconia is naturally white, it tends to blend in better with neighboring teeth. Also, the ceramic root, due to its natural appearance, remains relatively unnoticed where changes in tooth position or gumline health occur.
Giving clients alternative choices where aesthetics or biocompatibility issues are a concern is at the heart of what Living Wellness Dental is all about. We believe in what we call Empowered Health Care. It is a collaborative approach to achieving the individual health objectives of each client that walks through our doors. We seek to align the wide range of treatment options with your personal health values and goals.
Both Titanium and Zirconia implants have their benefits as well as their disadvantages. Titanium implants are generally considered more durable and long-lasting. Zirconia implants are generally preferred for implants required in the front of the mouth where aesthetics are often a driving factor. Zirconia also are reported to demonstrate superior performance where soft tissue response is concerned. When placed and cared for correctly, ceramic implants have the potential to last as long as titanium implants. Unfortunately, because ceramic implants are relatively new, they are less common and information about the product is harder to find.
At Living Wellness Dental Dorchester, we’re proud to empower our clients to make well-informed decisions about their health. Biologic offerings in addition to a collaborative approach to dentistry, and a genuine commitment to accompanying you on your journey towards long-term whole body health is the hallmark of what makes a visit to our clinic so rewarding.
If you have questions about dental implants, or the alternative materials and methods available, don’t hesitate to contact us today!
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