Dental ImplantsView our interactive dental implant information
Did you know that dental implants are frequently the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth? Rather than resting on the gum line like removable dentures, or sacrificing adjacent teeth to be used as anchors like fixed bridges, dental implants are long-term replacements that your oral & maxillofacial surgeon surgically places in the jaw bone. Dental implants are the most natural, stable and permanent option for replacing missing teeth.
Options For Replacing Missing Teeth
Statistics show that 69% of adults ages 35-44 are missing at least one tooth due to trauma, gum disease, a failed root canal or tooth decay. In addition, 26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth at 74 years of age.
Years ago, these patients would have only had the option for a fixed bridge or a removable partial denture to restore their ability to eat, speak clearly and smile. Fixed bridges and removable dentures, however, are not the perfect solution and often bring with them a number of other problems. Removable dentures may move or cause clicking sounds while eating or speaking. Even worse, fixed bridges often affect adjacent healthy teeth, and removable dentures may lead to bone loss in the area where teeth are missing. Due to recurrent decay, gum disease and bone loss, fixed bridges and removable dentures usually require replacement every 7-12 years.
Today, there is a better option for patients missing permanent teeth. Dental implants are long-term replacements that your oral surgeon surgically places into the jaw bone. After healing, bone will fuse to the dental implant through a process called "osseointegration". As a result, dental implants provide patients with a natural, long-term and comfortable option for replacing missing teeth.
After more than 20 years of service, the vast majority of dental implants first placed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons in the United States continue to function at peak performance. More importantly, the recipients of those early implants are still satisfied they made the right choice. If properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime.
Understanding Dental Implants
The dental implants themselves are tiny titanium posts, which are inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jawbone. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts are then attached to the dental implant, which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth. Dental implants also help preserve facial structure and prevent bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
Dental Implants vs. Conventional Dentures
Patients who are suffering from edentulism (total loss of teeth), have many options to consider regarding oral rehabilitation. Conventional dentures are often uncomfortable, unstable, and make people feel and look older than they are. Further, conventional dentures may contribute to the loss of bone in the area where teeth are missing. This ongoing process leads to loss of denture retention, facial aging and can restrict the everyday pleasure of eating.
For edentulous patients, dental implants can dramatically change their quality of life. Acting as anchors for replacement teeth, the dental implants greatly enhance stability, retention and comfort. Moreover, they restore patient confidence when they eat, laugh and smile. There are a variety of treatment options for edentulous patients, including removable, implant-retained overdentures or fixed teeth supported by dental implants. With the advanced "Teeth In An Hour" protocol, patients are able to leave the office after their surgical appointment with immediate, esthetic, functional teeth often requiring no incision, no sutures and little post-operative swelling or discomfort.
Dental Implant Surgery
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, dental implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first few months following surgery, the dental implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a regular diet during this time.
After the dental implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Your surgeon will uncover the dental implants and attach small posts, which will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. These posts protrude through the gums. When the artificial teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure usually takes three to four months. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, the doctors at Berks Oral Surgery are able to place single stage implants. These dental implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require a minimum of six weeks of healing time before artificial teeth are placed.
There are even situations where the dental implants can be placed at the same time as a tooth extraction - further minimizing the number of surgical procedures. Advances in dental implant technology have made it possible, in select cases, to extract teeth and place dental implants with crowns at one visit. This procedure, called "immediate loading," greatly simplifies the surgical process.