West Palm Beach, FL
With the surgical placement of one or more dental implants, we can restore missing teeth, restoring your function and your look. Our staff at Roy C. Blake III, DDS, MSD, Maxillofacial Prosthodontist are happy to discuss and help you explore your options in replacing missing teeth, including providing more information about dental implants. We can give you a smile your missing.
What are dental implants?
A common misconception is that implants are replacement teeth, in actuality, they are replacement roots. If you consider the tooth in three different building blocks it would include the jawbone, the root, and the tooth. A dental implant is a replacement root. With a new root solidly in place we can then firmly attach a new replacement tooth, retained directly to the jawbone.
History of Dental Implants
The concept of dental implants is far older than any can imagine. Implants how we understand them today came into development in the 1960’s, but their history far extends much further back than that. The basic concept of dental implants is to replace the tooth right back into its socket, and evidence of this attempt extends thousands of years into our history. Archeologists have found evidence of human remains with a wide range of materials implanted in their mouths, including bamboo, shell, metal, and wood. It didn’t surprise scientists that people attempted this, but what did surprise them is noting the bone regrowth around the device.
In the early 1900s scientists took this knowledge and began to experiment with bone repair using metal devices. They found it to be surprisingly successful, though they still need to gather more information on biocompatibility and ensuring the patient’s overall comfort. Different metals come with different levels of usability, but the results of the bone willing to regrow brought excitement.
In the 1960’s the concept of placing metal into the jaw for the replacement of teeth became a subject of close examination. Through the research already in development scientists knew that titanium was the ideal metal of choice due to its high biocompatibility, meaning the patient was less likely to experience rejection or infection, and the fact that it was a strong metal that was also lightweight. The road to dental implants was well on its way. Today, surgeons of all types use titanium to make surgical repairs on bone throughout the skeletal frame.
Bone Health and Teeth Loss
Our bone is constantly renewing and growing. It is always working as we work. As we move and exercise, the bone responds with continuous strengthening and growth. The opposite is also true when we stop exercising; the bone pulls back the resources and stops strengthening. This is known as atrophy, and it can be seen in patients who use wheelchairs. They lose considerable mass in their legs. Or, if you’ve ever had a cast on an arm, when the cast is removed it is noticeably smaller in size. Our jawbone does the same thing when we lose a tooth, it pulls the resources away from that area, and the bone shrinks in size. Patients who have lost one tooth may not see a noticeable difference but lose two, three, or more and the changes to your facial shape will begin to be apparent. This sunken facial structure is something that we often associate with old age, but it’s from the loss of teeth.
Dental implants can help you retain your bone health by restoring the connection between your teeth and bone.
How do dental implants work?
A dental implant is a replacement root. It serves as a solid post in your mouth to permanently anchor a tooth directly to the jaw. This means that the tooth can be retained independently; it doesn’t rely on neighboring teeth for support. Traditional retention methods still required a post for stability, but it was using, and often damaging, neighboring teeth. A dental bridge would be retained by covering two healthy teeth with dental crowns, a partial denture would be held in place using clasps that surround, and often chip away at healthy teeth. Dental implants allow you to have these restorations without interfering with healthy teeth.
Dental implants can be used to restore a single tooth, multiple teeth or even retain a full denture:
||Single Dental Crown: A dental implant can be used to replace a singular missing tooth with a dental crown placed over it. Once the post is placed, it is solidly there and can be used to retain the missing tooth or as part of a system to retain multiple teeth.
||Dental Bridge: A dental bridge can be used for patients missing multiple teeth, we can have an implant be one side of the anchor or both anchors, our team can review your retention options with you and help you decide what is best for your needs.
||Partial Denture: In general, a partial denture is generally a removable device for the replacement of multiple teeth, not necessarily in a row on the same arch. With dental implants, we have options for both removable and non-removable devices. We may discuss bar-retained dentures and overdentures using implants for a removable option that clips in place or onto a bar hidden in your mouth. This is ideal for patients who like removing the device for cleaning or sleeping.
||Full Denture: A full denture can be permanently placed with the use of four to six dental implants. There are also options for dentures to be secured yet removable with a clasping system, this may be ideal for patients who are more medically delicate.
Preparing for Dental Implants
We would love to meet with you and discuss the placement of one or more dental implants to restore missing teeth. A large amount of the work involved is in preparation and planning. When we meet, we will want to evaluate and discuss your dental needs, including evaluating the missing teeth and any possible unhealthy teeth. Though implants are approved for a wide range of patients and their medical needs, it is not the best option for everyone. We can review your medical history during your consultation.
We will want to review the oral cavity through standard digital x-rays and create a 3D digital x-ray map when planning the surgical procedure. With these x-rays, we will evaluate the health and density of the bone; most patients will require a simple bone graft procedure before we can proceed.
A bone graft sounds involved, but the process is fast and simple. We will first ensure that you are comfortable with a local anesthetic. We will then open the tissue to reveal the bone. We will place a small amount of bone material in the area, and this is often your bone from another location, generally the chin, but it can also be synthetic bone or donated bone material. We will place the bone and then close the area with sutures.
Placement is easy, and the soft tissue will heal within a couple of days, but it can take months for new bone to grow. We can proceed with the implant placement once sufficient bone has grown to sink the implant into. During this healing time, we may need to help the patient get infection under control from gum disease. We will want the patient to have a good maintenance plan with gum disease, and this will assist in healing later from their implant surgery.
Dental Implant Surgical Process
With planning and preparation in place, we can then proceed with the surgical procedure of placing your dental implant. The first step in any surgical process is ensuring the comfort of the patient. We will discuss your anesthetic options with you before surgery, and this may include a local anesthetic or one of many conscious sedatives.
Once comfortable, we will then proceed. With the precise treatment map close by, this entire procedure will take about one hour, and this may vary depending on the scope of your specific treatment. We begin with opening the tissue to expose the bone beneath. Using a specialized dental drill, we create a space in the bone to fit the implant device. The dental implant looks very similar to a screw-in size and shape, with a threaded end and a top that can support an attachment. The threaded end is sunk into the bone. Being threaded promotes increased surface area for the bone to be in contact with, and as the bone heals, it will grow around the threaded device bonding the two firmly together.
With the surgical insertion now complete, we will close the area with sutures. The soft gum tissue will heal in a matter of days, but the bone healing and growth can take several months, we will send the patient home for healing. In most cases, we will attach the dental prosthetic about three months following the implantation of the dental implant.
Why are Dental Implants a Preferred Choice?
Our patients love their dental implants, and the reasons are clear, dental implants are preferred over non-implant retained devices because:
||Implants Feel Natural: One of the biggest complaints of patients with prosthetic devices is that the device feels different. Whether they are loose, rock in your mouth, or feel uncomfortable, dental implants can change all of that. Implants provide your prosthetic with a solid anchor, and they will not shift, rock, or come loose.
||Help Retain Healthy Bone: Dental implants will help keep your bone health because it reestablishes the connection from your teeth to your jawbone. Replacement teeth that are retained without implants do not prevent bone atrophy, because the energy is not transferred. A dental implant does transfer the energy, keeping your bone healthy and robust. This means that your facial shape will likewise stay more robust and younger in appearance.
||High Rate of Success: Dental implants have a very high rate of success in long term studies. They have been demonstrated to have the highest rate of success of all dental restorations, with many more than 90% success after ten years of wear.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
Dental implants are ideal for a wide range of patients, even those who suffer from a wide range of medical or age-related issues. What is needed is the ability to heal in a timely matter. There are several factors that can reduce a patient’s ability to heal properly including medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes or cancer treatment, a range of medications, and if the patient smokes tobacco or marijuana. None of these conditions eliminate you from implant placement, but we may need to discuss options with your physician or have the patient stop smoking for a period before and after surgery. The proper ability to heal is a must for success in your implant surgery. We are happy to review and discuss your options with you.
Dental implants come with a variety of options. They vary in size, length, and what prosthetics can be used. We can find the right implant for your needs. Some implant variations include:
||Mini Dental Implants: Mini implants are more narrow in diameter. Patients may choose these options when they have some conditions that prevents standard implants with bone density. The generally do not require a bone graft procedure and offer an even less invasive insertion and faster healing. Mini implants have been found to be a great option with the same great results.
||Ceramic Implants: Standard dental implants are made with titanium, but there are ceramic implants available for patients with metal sensitivities. Ceramic implants still contain some metal alloys but seem to work better with patients who have sensitivities.
||All-on-4® Treatment Concept: The All-on-4® Treatment Concept is a process of securing a denture permanently to the arch using between four and six dental implants. This process takes your own personal denture and permanently secures them in place. This process is completed in one day, all in the same procedure. The All-on-4® Treatment Concept does not require a prior bone graft procedure because it uses longer implants that are placed at an angle, designed to capture thicker bone. Once the bone has healed, patients are left with denture that will stay firmly in place, allowing them to eat and speak with confidence that their device will stay put.
Dentures Vs Dental Implants
Benefits of Dental Implants
Single Tooth Replacement
Multiple Teeth Replacement
Partial Fixed Bridge
Complete Fixed Bridge
The All-on-4® Treatment Concept
Full Mouth Reconstruction
Mini Dental Implant
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Find out if dental implants are right for you! Call (561) 296-3399 to schedule your consultation appointment today!