What is a Dental Implant?
Implants are a tooth replacement option that involves placing a new “root” into the bone of your jaw. Once this titanium “root” has fused with your bone it can be used to support a crown, bridge, or denture. These implants can also be used to replace partials and other forms of dentures. The success rates for dental implants are extremely high. This is due in part to the fact that root-form implants are made of a biocompatible material, titanium. Because titanium is accepted so well by the human body, it is also used for orthopedic implants, such as hip and knee replacements. Dental Implants have now become the standard for replacing older dentistry and missing teeth because they look and feel like your natural teeth and have a higher success rate than all other forms of tooth replacement. The initial cost is generally higher for an implant over other forms of tooth replacement, but the long term benefits easily outweigh the difference in additional cost. An investment in implant dentistry is an investment in overall health, appearance and well being, as it involves preserving the integrity of facial structures, as well as replacing missing teeth.
Why are Dental Implants the best option?
Dental implants can last a lifetime, unlike bridges, partials and dentures that may need to be replaced several times. Unlike bridges, partials and dentures, a dental implant replaces the lost tooth root, which will prevent jaw bone resorption that occurs with bridges, partials and dentures. The loss of tooth roots will cause a change of the smile and contours of the face over time. A bridge, once the common single tooth replacement method, requires the alteration of each neighboring healthy tooth, which is cut down and shaped to accept a crown. With a dental implant treatment, there is no compromise to adjacent teeth. The lost root and crown is replaced leaving neighboring healthy teeth in place. Removable partials connect to healthy teeth by hooks. Partials may be removed for cleaning and may need to be replaced often. The partial hooks connected to healthy teeth create tooth stress and will loosen the healthy teeth over time. Full arch dentures and partials have the added disadvantage of accelerating the bone resorption process, which, among other things, causes the appearance of premature aging.
Am I too old for Dental Implant treatment?
Providing your overall health is good there is really no age restriction. The desire to improve your quality of life is frankly a more important consideration than age. It is not unusual for people with dentures to upgrade to implant supported dentures. It provides a renewed self-confidence in their smile and speech. It also provides renewed chewing stability, plus brings back foods into their life that were once off limit. This can be important as we age because it allows us to continue to enjoy a quality of life throughout the “Golden Years”.
Why should I replace old metal fillings with White (Resin/Composite) Fillings?
Silver or Amalgam fillings are made of an amalgamation of metals containing silver, mercury, copper, and tin. Over time these metals turn black (oxidize) which can cause them to darken your smile. Also as we eat and drink hot or cold items the metal expands and contracts which can weaken the natural tooth around them. Since amalgam fillings are not bonded to teeth bacteria can penetrate the space between the filling and tooth and can decay the tooth from the inside causing it to fracture. Resin/Composite fillings are made of tooth colored materials and are bonded to the tooth sealing the spaces and preventing further decay. Also Resins are 90% as strong as natural tooth and can withstanding the strong chewing pressure and strengthen the existing tooth structure.
What is Bonding?
The composite resin used in bonding can be shaped and polished to match the surrounding teeth. It is used to improve the appearance of a chipped or discolored tooth. Also if you grind or clench your teeth, your doctor may recommend bonding to protect your tooth from chipping or fracturing. This can prevent your tooth roots from being exposed which can cause pain or sensitivity to hot and cold.