If you've already lost a tooth to periodontal disease or other reasons, you may be interested in dental implants—the permanent tooth replacement option.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that a periodontist places into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.
While high-tech in nature, dental implants are actually more tooth-saving than traditional bridgework, since implants do not rely on neighboring teeth for support.
Dental implants are so natural-looking and feeling, you may forget you ever lost a tooth. You know that your confidence about your teeth affects how you feel about yourself, both personally and professionally. Perhaps you hide your smile because of spaces from missing teeth. Maybe your dentures don't feel secure. Perhaps you have difficulty chewing. If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to smile, speak and eat again with comfort and confidence, there is good news! Dental implants are teeth that can look and feel just like your own!
Under proper conditions, such as placement by a periodontist and diligent patient maintenance, implants can last a lifetime. Long-term studies continue to show improving success rates for implants.
What Dental Implants Can Do?
· Replace one or more teeth without affecting bordering teeth.
· Support a bridge and eliminate the need for a removable partial denture.
· Provide support for a denture, making it more secure and comfortable.
Replacing a Single Tooth: If you are missing a single tooth, one implant and a crown can replace it. A dental implant replaces both the lost natural tooth and its root.
Replacing Several Teeth: If you are missing several teeth, implant-supported bridges can replace them. Dental implants will replace both your lost natural teeth and some of the roots.
Replacing All of Your Teeth: If you are missing all of your teeth, an implant-supported full bridge or full denture can replace them. Dental implants will replace both your lost natural teeth and some of the roots.
What will the periodontist do?
The periodontist will first assess your general health, and dental condition before a customize treatment plan can be made for each case.
Adjunctive treatment associated with implant therapy:
In order for implant therapy to work, there has to be enough bone for support. The periodontist may recommend procedures to augment bone and soft tissue before or during implant surgery. Soft tissue grafts may also be recommended to improve esthetics or function.
Sinus Augmentation: The upper back jaw has traditionally been one of the most difficult areas to successfully place dental implants due to insufficient bone quantity and quality and the close proximity to the sinus. Sinus augmentation can help correct this problem by raising the sinus floor and developing bone for the placement of dental implants.
Ridge Modification: Deformities in the upper or lower jaw can leave you with inadequate bone in which to place dental implants. To correct the problem, the gum is lifted away from the ridge to expose the bony defect. The defect is then filled with bone or bone substitute to build up the ridge. Ridge modification has been shown to greatly improve appearance and increase your chances for successful implants that can last for years to come.
Reference: American Academy of Periodontology website: www perio.org