Understanding the Benefits of Dental Implants
A Patient’s Guide:
More than half of today’s population is affected by the loss of one or more teeth. Because our lifestyles, social activities, and appearances are so much a part of our individual uniqueness, tooth loss may be a deeply personal issue. However, with the latest advancements in dentistry, no one should feel self-conscious about their smile, their comfort, or their ability to eat certain foods. Today, because of dental implants, thousands of people are looking better than ever and enjoying foods they have not tasted in years.
If you are missing a single tooth or many teeth, dental implants may be an option for you. Implants have the look, feel and function of natural teeth. They are the most attractive, the most natural, and the most comfortable replacement for missing teeth. Implants can replace teeth that have been missing since birth or teeth that have been lost to gum disease, infection, trauma, or decay. They can be used to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth, and they can dramatically increase the retention and stability of dentures.
Dental implants help distribute chewing forces throughout the jawbone, so they can help restore the chewing power lost with missing teeth. They also minimize the erosion of the jawbone that normally occurs when teeth are lost. Many patients who have received dental implants comment that there is a significant improvement in the quality of their lives. Patients feel more confident and comfortable eating and smiling. Implants also eliminate many of the problems associated with bridges, removable partials, and full dentures.
Consequences of Tooth Loss Following tooth loss, loss of the underlying bone also occurs. As bone reduction occurs, problems associated with the lack of support can lead to denture discomfort, mobility and lack of retention. Continued loss of bone from the upper and lower jaws can affect the appearance of the overlying facial soft tissue, giving the patient the appearance of aging.
Problems Associated with Missing Teeth • Change in facial appearance • Embarrassment • Inconvenient adhesives • Decreased taste • Difficulty eating • Decreased self-esteem • Pain and discomfort • Difficulty speaking • Bone loss
How Dental Implants Can Benefit You Dental implants provide a foundation of support in the mouth for artificial teeth, helping to eliminate any embarrassment associated with removable teeth. More importantly, implants improve your ability to chew and speak.
The Benefits Are Plain and Simple • Restore natural tooth appearance • Increase chewing function and taste • Improve speech • Preserve remaining natural teeth • Provide increased comfort • Improve self-esteem • Eliminate dental bridges • Eliminate partials/dentures • Ensure tooth stability • Eliminate adhesives • Reduce bone loss
Most Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Implants
Who Can Benefit From Implants? No matter who the patient, implants can help. Health, rather than age, is usually the determining factor for prospective patients. Dental implants are for patients with failing bridges, young adults with congenitally missing teeth and premature tooth loss, accident victims, long-term denture users, or adults who suffer the embarrassment and inconvenience caused by removable teeth.
Are Dental Implants a New Procedure? No, quite the contrary, the implants we use today have been developed and perfected within the past 25 years Many implant procedures have become routine to experienced implant specialists. The implant systems we use in our practice are the best that implant dentistry has to offer.
Are Implants Successful? Some patients have had their implants for as many as 25 years. How long an implant remains depends on the general state of health, habits, commitment to follow-up and home care. In general, implants have a very high success rate.
What About Rejection or Infection? Implants are made from biocompatible materials — materials our bodies do not consider foreign — and therefore, no rejection occurs. Since these materials are made of metal such as titanium, there is no likelihood of causing an antigen-antibody response, a rejection similar to that which sometimes occurs with heart and kidney transplants. The possibility of an infection occurring around healed dental implants is the same as that for natural teeth. As with natural teeth, you must practice good oral hygiene to keep the tissues healthy, therefore, implants and replacement prosthesis must be professionally maintained.
Will People Know I Have Implants? Not unless you tell them. Since the prosthesis (replacement teeth) covers the implant posts, no implant components can be detected.
What’s the Procedure for Having Implants Placed?
A sample implant timeline is indicated below. Your actual timeline may vary depending on the complexity of your treatment.
Implant Evaluation: This portion of your implant treatment consists of a detailed consultation and the development of a treatment plan. If you are under a physician’s care, or if your medical history indicates, we may request that you consult with your physician prior to implant placement. We require a thorough medical history to determine whether there are any conditions that could affect the outcome of treatment, such as diabetes, drugs allergies, tobacco usage, therapy, or bleeding problems.
Radiographs are taken and allow us to evaluate your specific anatomy. This information is valuable in that it assists us in determining the number and placement of implants. Most patients will have a cone beam CT scan performed in order to evaluate the current quality and quantity of existing bone, to measure the exact dimensions of bone for precise implant placement and to evaluate the position of key structures such as sinuses and nerves.
Treatment Phase: After your implant placement, you will have several appointments with Dr. Haggerty in order to evaluate your healing and to answer any questions that arise during the healing process. It takes approximately 12-18 weeks for the bone and gum tissue surrounding your implant to heal before your restorative dentist can begin fabricating your new prosthesis (crown, bridge or denture). Once your implant is ready to restore, Dr. Haggerty and will make arrangements with your dentist in order to let him or her know the exact size and type of implant used.
Why Choose Lakewood OMFS to Place My Dental Implants?
The placement of dental implants is a complex procedure requiring specific knowledge and training. Dr. Haggerty’s advanced surgical skills combined with years of dental implant experience allow them to predictably satisfy you implant needs. Dr. Haggerty has multiple peer reviewed journal publications and book chapters on the art and science of dental implants and bone grafting/reconstruction. At Lakewood Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Specialists, our modern facilities allow for the placement of dental implants with local anesthesia, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) sedation, oral sedation or intravenous (IV) general anesthesia, thus ensuring complete patient comfort for everyone. From our spacious surgical suites, state of the art equipment, in house cone beam CT scanner, digital impression scanner and friendly and experienced staff, Dr. Haggerty have done everything possible to provide the highest level of patient satisfaction combined with the highest quality of services in the area.
Scheduling for Treatment with Dr. Haggerty Please ask a friendly member of our experienced staff to schedule a consultation appointment to discuss whether or not dental implants are right for you. You may contact our office at 816-554-8300 or via email at Info@LakewoodOMFS.com. For more information regarding our practice and dental implants, please visit our website at www.LakewoodOMFS.com