What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is the next best thing to a natural tooth.
Placing a dental implants involves two steps. First, a root form is surgically implanted into your jaw. After that heals, the replacement tooth is placed on top of the root form.
As with any surgery, healing and recovery time is needed. This process is called osseointegration – meaning the bone grows in tightly around the root form, creating a solid foundation. Thanks to today’s modern practices, the healing period is much shorter. Once an oral surgeon or periodontist has placed the root form, Dr. Khodadadi will complete the restoration of your tooth. He will screw the abutment into the root form, and place the crown on top.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
If you are missing a tooth, you are a good candidate for a dental implant. If you meet the following criteria, a dental implant may be in your future.
- Patients require a healthy amount of bone present in their jawbone for successful implants. If bone loss has occurred, you can still be a candidate for a dental implant after a bone grafting procedure.
- There are two options for replacing a single missing tooth—a dental implant or a bridge. If you have healthy teeth adjacent to your missing tooth, a dental implant would make more sense. A bridge requires the placement of crowns over the healthy teeth, but an implant requires only replacing the missing tooth.
- If you are missing teeth in the far back of your mouth, a bridge won’t work because there is no supporting tooth behind it. You can still get a dental implant there. You can also get implants if you are missing multiple teeth. Permanent dental implants would be more comfortable than a removable appliance.
- Patients missing all their teeth may prefer dental implants over removable full dentures. Removable dentures reduce your chewing efficiency by 50% or more, and over time, lead to gradual bone resorption (jaw shrinkage) and even facial collapse. While resorption takes over 10 years to occur, a jaw that has shrunk too much will be unable to support any kind of denture. Dental implants prevent this from happening. Instead of using removable dentures or adhesives, two to eight root forms will be implanted in your jaw, and these will be used to anchor the dentures.
Who Should Not Get Dental Implants?
Not everyone is an ideal candidate for this restorative procedure. Please inform us if you have any of the follow conditions, and we will find a better solution.
- Patients with certain chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hemophilia, and certain immunodeficiency disorders can increase the risk that the dental implant will fail. Certain conditions leave you more susceptible to infections around the implantation site. The more severe the condition, the higher the risk of failure.
- Heavy smokers can be more susceptible to implant failure. If you are a smoker, you can still be a candidate if you are otherwise in good health, but please inform Dr. Khodadadi.
- Patients should not get implants during pregnancy.
- Patients with alcohol or substance abuse problems are not advised to get dental implants, as these conditions can negatively impact treatment and follow-up care.
Advantages of Dental Implants
- Dental implants are anchored in your jaw, like a natural tooth, giving them the look and feel of real teeth.
- Dental implants prevent jaw shrinkage (bone resorption), which can lead to the long-term, serious problem of facial collapse.
- When placed well, dental implants are difficult to tell apart from a natural tooth.
- Unlike a dental bridge, dental implants do not require any work on the neighboring teeth.
- Dental implants do not require grinding of adjacent teeth like a removable partial denture would. Removable partial dentures also require clasps on the neighboring teeth for support; these clasps can trap food, leading to tooth decay.
- Dental implants can build confidence—you don’t have to worry about your teeth slipping, falling out, getting lost, or getting food caught in them.
Disadvantages of Dental Implants
Despite their many advantages, dental implants are not perfect.
- They can be more expensive than other types of tooth replacements. This expense may not be covered by your dental insurance.
- If the teeth adjacent to the implant site need dental crowns anyway, a dental implant is less advantageous.
- Dental implants require extra visits, including to a specialist to place the root form. After that appointment and a healing period, Dr. Khodadadi will place the crown on top.
- After placing the root form, several weeks may be needed for healing. In the meantime, you may receive a temporary tooth replacement.
If you want to find out if you are a candidate for dental implants, please fill out the Appointment Request form or call our office.