November 29, 2011

Are You A Candidate For Dental Implants?

If you face the loss of one or several teeth or if you’re dissatisfied with dentures or other options available to you, dental implants may be right for you. After a thorough dental evaluation you’ll know if you are a candidate for dental implants.

Many people wonder if they are a candidate for dental implants. It may surprise you, but most people who are missing some or all of their teeth, or who are facing tooth loss, actually are candidates for dental implants.

The basic characteristics of a dental implant candidate is that they have general good health. For our more senior patients, there’s no concern about the additional aches and pains of the golden years preventing you from having dental implants. Even patients with diabetes can have dental implants if they are controlled diabetics. Patients taking blood thinners can have their dosages and the timing of their medication adjusted to accommodate the dental implant procedures. People who have had cancer and received either radiation or chemotherapy have to wait one year before they are candidates for dental implants. People who have Aids or women who are pregnant aren’t candidates for dental implants. It’s easy enough to wait until after the baby is born to have dental implant procedures.

The dental implant candidate must have healthy gums in order to proceed with dental implants. Also, there needs to be sufficient underlying jawbone to support the implants. However, even for patients who don’t have sufficient jawbone, and aren’t candidates for routine dental implant bone grafts, there are advanced bone grafting procedures that can be performed that use bone from the patient’s hip to replace missing jawbone.

The final characteristic for being a candidate for dental implants is to have a good attitude to ensure that you follow through with vital oral hygiene habits.

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November 22, 2011

What Are The Benefits Of Dental Implants?

Because dental implants are designed to fit the structure of your natural teeth, they provide a highly stable support to replace one or more teeth without affecting adjacent teeth. Dental implants can support a bridge and eliminate the need for a removable partial denture. An additional benefit of dental implants is that they provide support for a denture, making it more comfortable and secure.

Because dental implants function like natural teeth, your confidence will be renewed. The days of being embarrassed to speak and laugh in social settings are over. With dental implants you also experience improved biting pressure. Healthy teeth are able to absorb over 500 pounds of biting pressure per square inch. Dental implants can often restore the amount of pressure that can be withstood compared to the same level of healthy natural teeth. Now, with dental implants you can enjoy eating foods that you haven’t been able to eat for years. Imagine enjoying salads or biting into an apple or enjoying a big juicy steak!

Because your replacement teeth are securely anchored to your jawbone, they can’t slip or slide like unsecured dentures can. Dental implants don’t sacrifice the quality of your adjacent teeth, so more of your own teeth are left untouched, a long-term benefit to your health.

Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth.  Because implants integrate into the structure of your jawbone, they can help prevent bone loss and gum recession. With proper oral care and regular dental visits, implants can last a lifetime.

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November 15, 2011

What Happens During Dental Implant Treatment?

Implant treatment is usually performed by a general dentist, oral surgeon, prosthodontist, periodontist or a team of these doctors. At Tavormina Dentistry we are proud to be able to say that we are your dental implant team. We provide both placement of dental implants, restorations for dental implants, sinus lifts and bone grafting procedures related to placing dental implants.  If we receive a referral from a general dentist, we can do bone grafting and implant placement for the general dentist and then the general dentist completes the restorations for his patient. We have also done sinus lifts and bone grafting for periodontists only trained in implant placement.

 To devise the best treatment plan for you we first complete a medical and dental history and a thorough oral examination with x-rays. We want to make sure you are a candidate for dental implants from a dental and medical perspective.

First, a member of your team surgically places the implant in the jaw with the top of the implant just above the top of the bone. Your gums cover the implants. Generally, from three to six months or more is allowed for the bone tissue to grow around the implant and hold them securely in place.

Immediately after surgery we will give you specific post-surgical instructions to assure the best possible healing. We are unique in that we are trained to give you medication to prevent pain, swelling and infection. At the implant placement appointment you may be fitted with temporary dentures or natural-looking teeth to help you function as normally as possible until your dental implants are ready for the final restoration. You may have special dietary and oral hygiene instructions.

Once the jawbone has firmly healed around the implant, a small post is attached to each implant. The post protrudes through the gumline and serves as an anchor for the replacement tooth. After your gums have fully healed, the replacement teeth or dentures are securely attached to the posts.

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November 8, 2011

About Dental Implants

The facts about dental implants are helpful when considering replacing your missing teeth. Dental implants are the permanent way to replace missing teeth, with a look and feel that’s as close to your natural teeth that exists today.

Dental implants are metal posts or frames surgically placed into or onto the bone beneath the gums. The implants fuse with the jawbone providing a stable support to artificial teeth, preventing individual teeth, bridges or dentures from shifting in your mouth. They are a high-tech way to replace missing teeth, and offer more stability than traditional bridgework since they do not rely on neighboring teeth for support.

Implant supported teeth allow you to speak, smile, and eat with confidence. Knowing about dental implants and the comfort they provide is an amazing discovery. Teeth supported by dental implants stay in place so you experience comfort and confidence and the freedom to enjoy foods you haven’t eaten for years.

Once you’ve had implant treatment, you need to treat your new smile like you would your own teeth and be vigilant about your oral health. You want to protect your dental implants because they are your new tooth roots, and they may not be subject to decay like your natural teeth, but they are subject to gum disease. We recommend that our patients who have had dental implants visit us every 3 months for check-ups and professional cleanings. We also find that one of the best tools for protecting your dental implants and oral health at home is the Hydrofloss. It is an irrigator that changes the polarity of the water it uses and keeps dental plaque from accumulating under the gums. More about the Hydrofloss and dental hygiene for dental implants in future posts.

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November 1, 2011

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are manmade replacements for missing tooth roots.  They serve as an anchor to replace one or more teeth. Dental implants can be used to anchor a bridge that is fixed, cemented in place, or as anchors for removable teeth.

In most cases dental implants are made of titanium and resemble screws that are placed in the dental bone. Dental implants that are placed in the bone go through a process called osseointegration, which is the process of actually integrating into and becoming part of the dental jawbone. This process actually strengthens the jaw and maintains the dental bone. After teeth are extracted and there’s no more root in the bone, the body doesn’t have a reason to keep the dental bone there, and the dental bone disappears. That’s why it’s important to have dental implants placed soon after tooth loss, before the dental bone is lost. There are procedures to graft dental bone back, but bone grafting cannot be used in all circumstances, and even when bone grafting is possible, the bone grafting procedures add time and money to the end result- replacing the missing tooth/teeth, and making a tooth replacement.

There is also a type of dental implant that sits on the bone instead of in the bone. This type of dental implant is called a subperiosteal implant and is used when there isn’t enough height of dental bone remaining into which implants that are like roots can fit. The subperiosteal implant is recommended, when necessary, for replacing missing teeth in the lower jaw only. There is so much to say about dental implants and we will continue speaking more about them in upcoming posts.

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