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ANSWERS TO YOUR DENTAL IMPLANT QUESTIONS
 

Am I a dental implant candidate?

You bet. Dental implants are the perfect option for people missing one, two, or more teeth.

You may also be a candidate for dental implants if:

  • You have problems with existing crowns or bridges.
  • You have loose dentures.

 

 

What are the benefits of dental implant treatment?

First of all, you will be able to smile. A big, healthy, happy smile. And you will have a lot to smile about, too. Dental implants allow you to speak, eat, sing, kiss - in other words, do everything you want - with total self assurance.

United States denture wearers spend over $150 million a year on adhesives in the futile effort to hold their dentures in place. With implants, you will not have to worry about loose dentures, an inconsistent fit, or other embarrassments such as unpleasant taste, bad breath, or poor appearance.


Besides my mental health, do implants have other effects on my health, that differ from the overall health care provided by other treatments for tooth loss?

In addition to improving your self-esteem, dental implants will also make a big difference in your overall physical health and appearance.

As a result of losing one or more teeth, you inevitably lose mass in your jaw. This affects the overall skeletal structure of your face which not only changes your profile, but also may result in thin lips, drooping muscles, jowls or witch's chin. Spreading bone loss in the jaw affects the gums and ridges in your mouth, as well as the muscles and nerves in and around the mouth. These conditions, which are the inevitable consequence of tooth loss, are associated with a host of anatomic and clinical problems, ranging from increased tongue size, to looseness of remaining teeth, to loss of sensation, to severely painful conditions. These conditions may only be avoided through use of dental implants, because implants may halt and even reverse the bone loss that results from losing teeth.

 

How do dental implants prevent bone loss?

Bone needs stimulation to maintain its form and density. That is why the astronauts lose bone mass while they are in space - their bones lack the stimulation that results from our everyday resistance to gravity. The bone in your jaw is constantly reinforced by the force applied by your teeth.

  • The teeth transmit force to surrounding bone, so when you lose a tooth, the lack of stimulation results in bone loss or "resorption".
  • Dental implants are inserted into the jawbone in place of missing teeth. Then prosthetic restorations, like porcelains, bridge-work, or dentures are attached to a post or abutment placed inside the implant. So when you chew, the implant acts like the root of a tooth - it transmits force to the jaw and stimulates the bone.
  • It is as if implants "trick" the bone into thinking there is still a tooth present. By transmitting the natural forces of chewing to the jaw, implants increase bone density. Dental implants have been proven not only to stop bone loss, but in some cases actually to reverse bone loss and restore the health of the jaw.
  • Our dental implants are specifically designed to take into account the varying strength requirements of the different bone densities found in the human jaw. That means better health for you over the long term.
  • Another health advantage that implants provide over conventional bridgework is that implants prevent the necessity of having other teeth cut down, in order to build a bridge or crown, which is necessary in certain clinical situations.

Can I still eat my favorite foods with implants?

Yes. Implants are remarkably strong, and remember - they stay put, unlike removable dentures. So you can eat and enjoy whatever you wish. Everything from apples to deep-fried anything. Want the details?

  • The components of the implant system are designed for strength. For example, the components are manufactured from a biocompatible titanium alloy, which offers a yield strength 65 percent higher than the strongest grade of commercially pure titanium.
  • The maximum bite force of a traditional denture ranges from 5 to 50 pounds. Almost one-third of denture wearers are able to eat only soft or mashed foods, and 50 percent avoid many foods. 17 percent claim that they chew more effectively without dentures!
  • By contrast, patients with implant-supported restorations may increase their bite force by 85 percent within two months of completing treatment, and by 300 percent after three years. Implant-supported dentures and bridges function similarly to natural teeth.
  • In addition, dental implants do not have problems with caries (decay), root caries, or hot/cold sensitivity. When you have a dental implant, you can floss and brush as you do with your own teeth.

Do implant procedures cause much pain?

Relax. In most cases these procedures produce very little, if any, discomfort. In fact, many patients do not have to use any pain pills. Your decision to use implants will help you to avoid much pain and discomfort in the long term. Besides, given the overall health care benefits, you should not deny yourself proper treatment out of fear of pain. As with any medical or dental procedure, your attending doctor, the dentist, is equipped to provide you with appropriate treatment, including any pain medicines you need.

What if I have further questions?

We expect you will. The more you learn about dental implants, the more questions you may have. The implant systems we use have resulted from more than ten years of asking questions,and we haven't stopped yet. Southwestern Dental Center is committed to constantly extending our knowledge and improving the benefits of implant procedures and we are also willing to share our knowledge with you. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have. We're here to help!

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