Posts for tag: dental implants
With a 95-plus percent survival rate after ten years, dental implants are one of the most durable replacement restorations available. Implants can potentially last much longer than less expensive options, which could make them a less costly choice in the long run.
But although a rare occurrence, implants can and do fail—often in the first few months. And tobacco smokers in particular make up a sizeable portion of these failures.
The reasons stem from smoking’s effect on oral health. Inhaled smoke can actually burn the outer skin layers in the mouth and eventually damage the salivary glands, which can decrease saliva production. Among its functions, saliva provides enzymes to fight disease; it also protects tooth enamel from damaging acid attacks. A chronic “dry mouth,” on the other hand, increases the risk of disease.
The chemical nicotine in tobacco also causes problems because it constricts blood vessels in the mouth and skin. The resulting reduced blood flow inhibits the delivery of antibodies to diseased or wounded areas, and so dramatically slows the healing process. As a result, smokers can take longer than non-smokers to recover from diseases like tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease, or heal after surgery.
Both the higher disease risk and slower healing can impact an implant’s ultimate success. Implant durability depends on the gradual integration between bone and the implant’s titanium metal post that naturally occurs after placement. But this crucial process can be stymied if an infection resistant to healing arises—a primary reason why smokers experience twice the number of implant failures as non-smokers.
So, what should you do if you’re a smoker and wish to consider implants?
First, for both your general and oral health, try to quit smoking before you undergo implant surgery. At the very least, stop smoking a week before implant surgery and for two weeks after to lower your infection risk. And you can further reduce your chances for failure by practicing diligent daily brushing and flossing and seeing your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
It’s possible to have a successful experience with implants even if you do smoke. But kicking the habit will definitely improve your odds.
If you would like more information on dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implants & Smoking.”
Dental implants can restore your smile, as well as normal tooth functioning. In addition to those immediate benefits, there are numerous long term benefits of dental implants as well. Dr. Tu Nguyen at AT Dental in Lawrenceville, GA, can determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants, which require sufficient bone in the jaw area to support the implants.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are metal posts similar in appearance to a small screw. Dental implants are placed in the jawbone and function as anchors for artificial teeth, such as dental crowns or bridgework. Since dental implants are placed directly in the jawbone, they are able to securely hold artificial teeth in place indefinitely with no risk of coming loose or falling out with normal activities. Enough bone is needed to support a dental implant. Your Lawrenceville, GA, dentist can examine an x-ray of the jaw area to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants.
Long Term Benefits
A major benefit of dental implants is that they are a long term replacement option for missing or extracted teeth. Dental implants actually fuse with the jawbone over time through a natural process called osseointegration. The fusing of the dental implants with bone ensures the implants remain securely in place so they can serve as strong anchors for artificial teeth. Additionally, dental implants help preserve existing bone, which often deteriorates following tooth loss.
Other long term benefits of dental implants stem from filling in the gaps caused by missing teeth. When teeth are missing, there is less support for the muscles of the face. Without enough support, the face can sag and droop and make a patient appear older. Restoring the natural contours of the face by filling in the gaps from missing teeth can also help patients appear more youthful.
Another long term benefit of dental implants is the restoration of normal speech. The gaps caused by missing teeth can alter placement of the tongue when speaking, which can change the way you sound when talking. Using dental implants to fill in the gaps helps correct tongue placement when speaking so you sound like yourself again.
Reducing excess strain on teeth is an additional long term benefit of dental implants. Existing teeth take on more work to compensate for missing ones. Taking on more work puts excess strain on these teeth and can cause them to be worn down faster. Using dental implants to restore your smile helps redistribute biting and chewing functions across a full set of teeth and eliminate any excess strain on certain teeth.
There are many long term benefits to having dental implants. To find out if you are a candidate for dental implants, schedule an appointment with Dr. Nguyen, your Lawrenceville, GA, dentist, by calling AT Dental at (770) 277-0774.
For generations, dentures have helped people avoid the dire consequences of total teeth loss. Now, implant technology is making them even better.
Composed of life-like prosthetic teeth fixed within a plastic or resin gum-colored base, dentures are manufactured to fit an individual patient’s mouth for maximum fit, comfort and performance. But dentures also have a critical drawback—they can’t stop bone loss in the jaw.
Bone is constantly regenerating as older cells dissolve and then are replaced by newer cells. In the jawbone, the forces generated when we chew travel through the teeth to the bone and help stimulate this new cell growth. When teeth are missing, though, the bone doesn’t receive this stimulus and may not regenerate at a healthy rate, resulting in gradual bone loss.
Dentures can’t transmit this chewing stimulus to the bone. In fact, the pressure they produce as they rest on top of the gums may actually accelerate bone loss. Over time then, a denture’s once secure and comfortable fit becomes loose.
In the past, most patients with loose dentures have had them relined with new dental material to improve fit, or have new dentures created to conform to the changed contours of the jaws. But implant technology now offers another alternative.
Implants are in essence a tooth root replacement. Dentists surgically implant a titanium metal post directly into the jawbone that naturally attracts bone cells to grow and adhere to it over time (a process called osseointegration). This not only creates a secure and lasting hold, it can also stop or even reverse bone loss.
Most people know implants as single tooth replacements with a porcelain crown attached to the titanium post. But a few strategically placed implants can also support either removable or fixed dentures. Removable dentures (also called overdentures) usually need only 3 or 4 implants on the top jaw and 2 on the bottom jaw for support through built-in connectors in the dentures that attach to the implants. A fixed bridge may require 4-6 implants to which they are permanently attached.
There are pros and cons for each of these options and they’re both more expensive than traditional dentures. In the long run, though, implant-supported dentures could be more beneficial for your bone health and hold their fit longer.
Congratulations on deciding to replace your missing tooth. Smile gaps harm personal appearance, self-esteem, jaw bone structure and oral function. Now, explore dental implants from your dentist in Lawrenceville, Dr. Tu Nguyen. He and his team at AT Dental place implants to fill smile gaps with the strongest, most realistic prosthetics available today. Learn about implants by reading answers to FAQs about this procedure.
What is a dental implant?
It's an artificial tooth surgically placed into a patient's jaw bone beneath the gums. The typical implant has three parts: a titanium screw or cylinder, a metal alloy abutment and a custom-made porcelain crown.
How long does it take to get an implant?
Your dentist at AT Dental in Lawrenceville tells his patients that implants take several weeks to months. That's because the implant device itself must fully integrate into the jaw bone before proceeding with the rest of the restoration. This period of healing is called osseointegration.
Who can get an implant?
Older teens whose jaw bones are fully developed and adults with sufficient jaw bone density and good overall health can receive dental implants. Also, the best candidates practice diligent oral hygiene at home and get their routine check-ups and cleanings as scheduled at AT Dental.
Is the process painful?
Dr. Nguyen makes sure his implant patients are completely comfortable before he inserts the implant device. Usually, people need only a numbing shot just like when they get a filling or crown. The oral surgery itself is brief and needs only a few sutures to close the site. It may be sore for a few days, but over the counter pain relievers take care of the discomfort.
Isn't a traditional bridge or partial just as good as a dental implant?
While these options are quicker and less expensive, they do not last as long as an implant, and they do nothing to improve jaw bone size and strength. Implants have a lifespan of several decades, says the Institute of Dental Implant Awareness. The IDIA also reports that implants can anchor wobbly dentures or anchor bridgework, causing no wear and tear on neighboring natural teeth.
Are implants hard to care for?
No, while implant-supported prosthetics, such as bridges or dentures, may need a bit more time and a special brush or two to keep clean, single-tooth implants stay strong and healthy with your usual brushing and flossing. Of course, you should see your dentist semi-annually, or as he advises, for your hygienic cleanings and examinations.
Come see us
At AT Dental, the friendly staff will be happy to answer any other questions you have regarding dental implants. They value good communication and fully-informed patients. To arrange an implant consultation, please call (770) 277-0774.
Losing teeth to tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease is never easy. But with implant-supported bridgework, you can regain lost function and appearance with a restoration that could last for many years.
Don’t think, though, that dental disease woes are a thing of the past with your new implants. Although your restoration itself can’t be infected, the supporting gums and underlying bone can, often through bacterial plaque accumulating around the implants. The bone that supports the implants could deteriorate, dramatically increasing your chances of losing your restoration.
It’s essential, then, that you keep the area between the bridge and gums clean of plaque through daily hygiene. This definitely includes flossing around the implants.
Flossing with an implant-supported bridge will be different than with natural teeth: instead of flossing between teeth you’ll need to thread the floss between the bridge and gums. Although this is a bit more difficult, it can be done with the help of a floss threader, a device with a loop on one end and a long, thin plastic point on the other—similar to a sewing needle.
To use it, thread about 18” of floss through the loop and then pass the threader’s thin end first through the space between the bridge and gums toward the tongue until the floss threader pulls through. You can then take hold of one end of the floss and then pull the threader completely out from beneath the bridge. Then, you wrap the ends around your fingers as you would normally and thoroughly floss the implant surfaces you’re accessing. You then release one end of the floss, pull out the remainder, rethread it in the threader and repeat the process in the next space between implants.
You also have other hygiene tool options: prefabricated floss with stiffened ends that thread through the bridge-gum space that you can use very easily; or you can purchase an interproximal brush that resembles a pipe cleaner with thin plastic bristles to access the space and brush around the implants.
Some patients also find an oral irrigator, a handheld device that sprays a pressurized stream of water to loosen and flush away plaque, to be an effective way of keeping this important area clean. But that said, oral irrigators generally aren’t as effective removing dental plaque as are floss or interproximal brushes.
Whatever flossing method you choose, the important thing is to choose one and practice it every day. By keeping bacterial plaque from building up around your implants, you’ll help ensure you won’t lose your restoration to disease, so it can continue to serve you for many years to come.
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