A dental implant is a post that is surgically placed into the bone. A porcelain implant crown is then secured to the post, providing a complete and beautiful solution for improving your smile. Dental implants are the preferred method of tooth replacement, because your bone tissue actually secures the implant, and gives you the most stability and function from an artificial tooth. They are the best method to provide your jawbones the stimulation they need from chewing to maintain their strength and the frame for your face.
If you have missing teeth, and we determine that your jawbone is strong enough to accept dental implants, we will refer you to an oral surgeon for the actual surgical portion of the process. Once you’ve had a chance to heal, we’ll place the crowns on top of your implants.
If a missing tooth is not replaced, there are some potential complications that may occur. These can include, but are not limited to:
- Adjacent tooth/teeth movement
- Opposing tooth/teeth (either above or below the missing tooth) can super-erupt
- Difficulty chewing
- Decreased self-confidence
- Premature aging
Your jawbones, like every other part of the body, require blood to provide the nutrients they need to remain strong. When you chew food with your natural teeth, the jawbones can stimulate the flow of blood to them. If your teeth aren’t there, the bones deteriorate and can lose their ability to support the muscles and skin of your face. This causes your skin to sag and wrinkle, aging you prematurely and damaging your health.
Restore only/Refer out for placement
Dental implants are like artificial roots and teeth. They are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by an oral surgeon, whom Dr. Petroff will work with to coordinate your care.
The oral surgeon will place the actual implants in your jaw bone, as well as an abutment, where the crowns are attached. You will need several weeks to heal from this procedure. Once you’ve healed, Dr. Petroff will place the crowns on the abutments. If something should happen with your implants, Dr. Petroff may be able to restore them for you, otherwise, she will work with the oral surgeon to repair them.
Dental implants have several advantages over dentures, such as improved appearance and speech. Dentures can sometimes slip, causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without worrying about your dentures slipping. They’re also more comfortable because they fuse to your jaw bone, becoming permanent. You can eat all of your favorite foods without worrying.
Implant Retained Dentures
When a person doesn’t have any teeth in the jaw, but has enough bone to support implants, Dr. Petroff may recommend implant-retained (or implant-supported) dentures.
Implant-retained dentures have special attachments that snap onto the implants, which contain the opposite side of the attachments. They can be lifted off for cleaning and snapped right back on. They’re worn all the time, including when you’re sleeping.
Usually, implant-retained dentures are made for the lower jaw for extra stability. Regular dentures are generally used on the upper jaw because it generally doesn’t need the extra support provided by implants. But you can have an implant-retained denture in either the upper or lower jaw.
An oral surgeon will place the implants and abutments in strategic positions in your jaw bone. Dr. Petroff then fits you with the implant-retained dentures.
These dentures have a snug, strong fit so you can eat anything you like without worrying they’ll slip. There’s no adhesive, no taking them out overnight. This type of denture is ideal for stimulating the bones in your jaw to keep them strong, so they continue to support the muscles and skin of your face, which can begin to sag without the framework of your jawbones.
An advancement in implant-retained dentures is All-On-4. If you’re missing all of your teeth, you could have every tooth replaced with an individual implant. Or if you have implant-retained dentures, you have as many implants as necessary to secure the implant.
But in some cases, all that’s needed is four precisely placed implants on the top of your mouth, and four on the bottom, to restore your full smile. Because the actual implants are made of titanium, they fuse to your living bone so, eventually, the dental implant becomes part of the jawbone and serves as a strong, long-lasting foundation for your new teeth.
Besides ensuring that your implants are permanently fixed in place, this bone fusion has another important benefit: it prevents future bone loss in the jaw. This helps to maintain a more youthful facial structure—and better oral health.