|Oral and Maxillofacial Procedures » Dental Implants|
Dental implants are true wonders of dental science. They give us the ability to replace almost any missing tooth with one that is equivalent in almost every way. It feels like a natural tooth when you chew, it looks like your natural tooth, and it can’t get cavities or tooth aches. Dental implants can be used to replace individual teeth, several teeth or all of the teeth. They can be used to stabilize dentures so the dentures do not twist out of place or move up and down. They can be used to help with orthodontic care where the natural teeth are difficult to move.
Dental implants are one of the best dental treatments available today! They make it possible to replace missing teeth with restorations that look, feel and function like natural teeth. They restore the ability to eat virtually anything and to smile with confidence, knowing that your teeth appear natural, and that facial contours have been preserved or restored.
Dental implants actually have two components; one is the root shaped part (the implant) which is placed in the bone, and the other is the crown, or tooth shaped part, that attaches to the top of the root part. The top of each implant has a component for attaching the crown to the root. There are many different manufacturers of dental implants. Each manufacturer uses a different system for attaching the crown. The crown must be custom made by your dentist to match the color of your other teeth, and to fit into the space available.
Dental implants are tiny titanium cylindrical posts which are inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing. They are placed into the bone through small incisions in the gums. The titanium surface is specially treated to make bone adhere to it. There may be threads, grooves, or holes in the implant surface to help stabilize the implant. Because the bone attaches directly to the implant, the implant is held very firmly in the bone. It is actually much harder to remove an implant from the bone than a natural tooth. The jaw bone bonds to the implants so that they are even tighter that your natural teeth. They are resistant to periodontal disease and help to maintain the bone height and volume. The final crowns or dentures are usually attached to the implants within a few months, and in some cases, on the day the implants are placed. You should be able to wear a temporary denture and chew well during the healing phase.
Dental implants are placed during a simple surgical procedure in which a small hole is drilled into the bone where the original tooth root was located. The hole is about as deep as the original tooth root, but it is a little smaller in diameter. Dental implants can be placed in either jaw but they must have sufficient bone to support the chewing forced placed on them. In most cases there is sufficient bone to support the implant. If there is not adequate natural bone present, bone can be grafted to the site to increase the support for the implant. We can use synthetic bone, which is the easiest way, or bone harvested from the patient’s upper or lower jaw, or from their hip or leg. The simplest most effective approach is selected. The bone may need to be added at a separate surgery a few months before the implant is placed, or it may be added to the site at the same time the implant is placed. When a bone graft is used, some additional healing time is suggested prior to placing the final crown on the implant.
Dr. McBride has extensive experience with all aspects of dental implants. He will be happy to show you how you can have a beautiful, natural smile, an excellent bite, and normal chewing function. You will be surprised at the minimal discomfort and inconvenience during the restoration process.
Restoring Your Smile with Dentures and Implants
When you are missing teeth, have decayed teeth, or advanced periodontal disease, you might have trouble chewing or speaking clearly. You may even be reluctant to smile or laugh in public. These problems can be overcome with dentures supported by dental implants. Dentures can relieve your pain, restore chewing and normal speaking, and give you a beautiful smile.
Types of Dentures – How Implants Can Help
A partial denture that is not removable, usually called a bridge, can replace several teeth, whereas, a complete denture is usually removable and can replace all teeth in the upper and/or lower jaw. The choice depends upon the number of teeth that need to be removed.
A partial denture, or “bridge”, can be held in place by dental implants placed in the jawbone, or by teeth on both ends of the bridge. Dental implants are solid titanium posts that are screwed into the bone to replace the roots of the missing teeth and act to support the “crowns”, usually made of porcelain and metal, that replace the visible portions of the missing teeth. The dental implants are very strong, resistant to periodontal disease, and tend to last a lifetime with good care. It is like having your own, natural teeth back.
Complete dentures have a plastic base that supports the artificial teeth, which are usually plastic. They provide a full set of upper or lower teeth (or both, if necessary). They can be held in the mouth with dental implants (posts placed directly into the jawbone) or by a seal that forms between the denture and the gums with the help of saliva. Implants have the advantage of providing excellent stability to the denture compared to the saliva seal. This lets you bite harder so you can chew tougher foods, and eliminates denture sores that occur when the denture rubs against the gums.
Dentists can place complete dentures after all of the teeth have been lost or removed, and the gum tissue has healed. Some patients are able to have their dentures placed immediately after having their teeth removed, without a healing period. Because immediate dentures are made before all of the teeth have been removed, the dentist will need to adjust the fit once the oral tissues have healed.
Getting Used to Your Dentures – The Advantage of Implants
It may take a few weeks before you become comfortable with complete dentures. If your dentures are not supported by implants, they will tend to move a little as you eat and speak. They may feel loose until you learn to use your tongue to help hold them in place. They may rub on your gums and cause denture sores. If sores develop, you should return to your dentist and have the denture adjusted so the sores heal and your denture is comfortable.
It may take time to learn to insert and remove your denture easily. The easiest way to remove the upper denture is to pull down gently on the outside edge of the denture at the back of your mouth. Try one side and then the other. Usually one side works better than the other. Never force it into place, because you could scrape your gum tissue. If you are having trouble, see your dentist to have the denture adjusted. If the dentures are too loose to be comfortable, your dentist may suggest that you use a denture adhesive to help hold them in place. Ask your dentist to recommend the best adhesive product for your particular problem. A better solution is to have your dentist put a new lining in your dentures so they are stable and fit comfortably. The best solution is to have a few dental implants placed so that your denture is connected to the supporting bone and will not move at all.
If you have implants to stabilize your denture, your denture will clip on the implants making it very secure and comfortable. It will not be able to rub against your gums and cause sores. Your dentist will show you the best way to remove your dentures. The implant clips fit very precisely into the denture, so you must position it carefully when putting it back in you mouth. You will need to brush the exposed portion of the implants as prescribed by your dentist.
If you have a denture supported by dental implants, you will be able to chew well very quickly. However, if you do not have implants, you will have to learn how to eat with dentures. Chewing takes longer and requires a different tongue position than with your natural teeth. Learning the new chewing habit will take some practice. Start with soft foods (potatoes, eggs, pasta, meatloaf) cut into very small pieces. Chew evenly on both sides of your mouth, and use your tongue to help hold the lower denture in place. As you learn to chew with your dentures, you will be able to add tougher foods to your diet. If you find that you cannot chew as well as you would like because the dentures move too much, you may be able to have dental implants placed to make your dentures more secure.
You may notice a little difference in your speech with your new dentures. The front teeth on dentures may not overlap the way your natural teeth overlapped. This changes the way your tongue must move when you speak. With a little practice, you will learn to speak perfectly.
Caring for Your Dentures
Your dentures are delicate and can break, even if dropped only a few inches. When handling your dentures, stand over a folded towel or a basin of cool water. Never put your dentures in hot water because the heat may warp them.
As with natural teeth, you should clean your dentures daily to remove food particles and plaque. Brushing can harm the smooth surface of plastic dentures, so it is better to soak the dentures in a denture cleaning solution. Usually, a denture-cleansing tablet is dropped into a glass of warm water, and the denture is permitted to soak in the solution for 10 to 15 minutes. Your dentist can recommend cleaning products that are appropriate for the type of denture you have. Rinse your dentures thoroughly before inserting them in your mouth.
Don't wear your dentures when sleeping. By leaving them out, you give your tissue time to relax and recover from the pressure of the dentures. When you're not wearing your dentures, put them in a glass of water to keep them from warping.
Even if you wear dentures, it is important to see your dentist regularly. Your dentist can check for oral cancer or other oral diseases, and ensure that your dentures remain adjusted properly to keep them as comfortable and beautiful as possible.