Dental Implants

Dental implants are an artificial tooth replacement procedure that is used to counter tooth loss. Strong, durable and natural in appearance, implants are among the most successful dental procedures performed today.

Although you have a number of restorative options for the treatment of missing teeth, none have proven to be as functionally effective and durable as implants. In many cases, dental implants may be the only logical choice for the restoration of all necessary functionality of the teeth and supporting structures.

People who have lost teeth might feel too self-conscious to smile or talk. Additionally, biting irregularities caused by tooth loss can have a negative effect on eating habits and this can lead to secondary health problems like malnutrition. Regardless of the nature of problems related to tooth loss, dental implants may provide a simple remedy with proven results.

Advantages of Implant Dentistry

Dental implants are stronger and more durable than their restorative counterparts (bridges and dentures). Implants offer a permanent solution to tooth loss. Additionally, implants may be used in conjunction with other restorative procedures for maximum effectiveness. For example, an implant can serve as an anchor for a dental bridge or as a replacement for missing back teeth needed for a bridge. Implants can also be used with dentures to increase stability and reduce gum tissue irritation.

Procedural advancements, including the development of narrower “mini” implants, mean that more people than ever before are finding themselves candidates for implantation. However, candidacy for implantation still varies, meaning that Dr. Dolby may determine that you should opt for an alternative restoration.

The Dental Implant Procedure

Today's dental implants are virtually indistinguishable from other teeth. This appearance is aided in part by the structural and functional connection between the dental implant and the living bone. Implants are typically placed in a single sitting but require a period of osseointegration.

Osseointegration is the process by which direct anchorage of a dental implant root and the bone of the jaw occurs. Osseointegrated implants are the most commonly used and successful type of dental implant. An osseointegrated implant takes anywhere from three to six months to anchor and heal, at which point Dr. Dolby can complete the procedure with the placement of a permanent crown. Once the implant has anchored with the jawbone, artificial prosthesis may be attached and the process is complete.

Success Rates of Dental Implants

Dental implants are among the most successful procedures in dentistry. There is no guarantee that an implant procedure will be successful, but studies have shown a five-year success rate of 95% for lower jaw implants and 90% for upper jaw implants. The success rate for upper jaw implants is slightly lower because the upper jaw (especially the posterior section) is less dense than the lower jaw, making successful implantation and osseointegration potentially more difficult to achieve. Lower posterior implantation has the highest success rate for all dental implants.

If you are a smoker who is considering a dental implant, Dr. Dolby will likely advise you to give up smoking before undergoing the process because smokers face a higher risk of implant failure. Since the procedure can be extremely expensive, you risk wasting your money on dental implants if you do not give up the habit.

On the plus side, dental implants are not susceptible to the formation of cavities; still, poor oral hygiene can lead to the development of an infection around dental implants.

Dental Implants

Implants can be used to replace one missing tooth so that the replacement looks and feels natural (A). Also, two or more implants can serve as a stable support for the replacement of many teeth (B).