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Dentist near Cooksville discusses permanency of dental implants
By Dr. Rina Kotecha
A missing tooth has an enormous impact on your wellbeing. The noticeable gap in your smile allows other teeth to shift out of alignment. These crooked teeth create nooks that promote decay and gum disease. Even one missing tooth can impact speech, and several gaps may affect diet and digestion. Fortunately, today’s dental patient has multiple options for tooth replacement. For many in the Cooksville area, dental implants are an excellent choice.Dr. Rina Kotecha explains more about implant dentistry and how long implants may last.
A natural tooth has roots that extend deep into the jawbone. These roots stabilize the crown – the portion of the tooth visible above the gum line – so that you may bite and chew with confidence. The root also provides vital stimulation that helps to maintain bone volume, keeping facial features from looking sunken.
A dental implant is simply an artificial tooth root. This small screw is made of a titanium alloy. This type of metal is strong and lightweight, and rarely responsible for an allergic reaction. Using technological diagnostic imaging equipment, placement of the implant into the jawbone is carefully planned. This helps the dentist position the implant at a precise location and angle for fastest healing, optimal stability, and lowest risk of complications.
The implant is placed during a brief oral surgery, sometimes with computer guidance. Only local numbing is needed, although oral sedation is an option for the patient who is very nervous about the procedure. Placement requires a small soft tissue incision, which typically heals in a few days. A few sutures may be used to speed healing.
Over the course of several months, bone fuses with the titanium implant. In this natural process called osseointegration, the implant essentially becomes part of the body, like a natural tooth root. Then, the gum is re-opened, and an abutment is placed into the implant. This post is the anchor point for a lustrous porcelain crown. The completed restoration restores chewing function and is virtually undetectable in the smile.
Implantology is continually evolving, so that now, most reasonably healthy patients at any adult age can be good candidates. Before recommending this treatment, Dr. Kotecha assesses:
Gum health. Often, tooth loss that necessitates dental implants is the result of periodontitis. However, it is important to get gum disease under control before implants are placed. Otherwise, harmful oral bacteria may migrate to the surgical site causing infection and implant failure.
Sufficient bone. There must be adequate bone to safely place an implant and have it fuse solidly. If teeth have been missing for a while, bone may have diminished through a natural process called resorption. In this situation, bone may be augmented with grafting, and a sinus lift technique used to reduce the risk of complications.
Patient commitment. You must be committed to taking care of your mouth with daily brushing and flossing, and to maintain regular dental checkups, for optimal implant longevity.
The procedure is not usually recommended for young patients whose mouths are still growing, or women who are pregnant. Smoking impedes healing and increases the chance of implant failure. Individuals who have had radiation therapy to the head or neck may not be good candidates for implants, as well as those who have uncontrolled diabetes, hemophilia, significant immune deficiency, or connective tissue disease.
Can dental implants last a lifetime?
This is a common question, and lifespan can be a big benefit of getting a dental implant rather than a bridge or denture. First, consider that the success rate of implants is very high – about 98 percent. Second, understand that this figure refers to the implant itself – the artificial tooth root. An implant is typically restored with a porcelain crown. However, implants have other applications. Multiple implants may be used to affix a dental bridge in place, or to secure a full denture. With any of these options, the restoration may fracture, break, or wear. However, this generally does not affect the implants, and the restoration can be easily replaced.
So, with good oral hygiene and an overall healthy lifestyle, a dental implant can last a very long time, potentially for the rest of your life.
Would you like to learn more about dental implants as a long-term tooth replacement solution? Call Dentistry on 10 at (905) 455-9262 , serving patients in the Cooksville community.