Why do we need Dental Implants?
Dental implants offer options that did not exist in the past. People lose teeth in their lifetime for a variety of reasons. Most tooth loss can be traced back to a lack of preventive care, less than ideal dentistry, or old style dental materials. All of us are at risk of losing teeth from accidents. Regardless of the reason, there will always be a need for replacing missing teeth. The first implants done in the United States had a pretty poor success rate. There was a 50/50 chance of failure. At that time, the F.D.A. would not approve the use of titanium for dental implants. Titanium is the material used successfully for hip and knee replacements. Now, with using titanium dental implants, there is a success rate of 98%. Implants have now become the standard of care to replace a missing tooth that does not involve any of the surrounding teeth.
What is involved with getting an implant?
An implant is a 3 part system consisting of:
- Implant Fixture
- Final Restoration of a crown or a denture or a bridge
The implant fixture is made of titanium and is threaded, like a screw. It is placed surgically in to the bone, and then over a period of about 4 to 5 months, the bone grows in to the threads, completely integrating the implant in to the patient’s jaw. This will be the anchor that will support the rest of the dental restoration. The placement of the fixture is the surgical portion of the process.
About 4 months later, the Abutment is attached to the fixture and impressions are taken. The abutment is the connector between the fixture and any dental work that will be attached. That is determined by the patient’s needs.
An implant is an excellent option for replacing a missing tooth in most cases. Treatment recommendations are not “one size fits all”. The dentist needs to consider the patient’s entire mouth and all of their dental needs before making a recommendation.
While immediate, or “one day” implants do exist, they are not as simple as they sound. Regardless of the techniques and methods used, there is always a healing, or integration period of 4 to 5 months. For more information about implants and whether or not they are right for you, just ask.