When people are missing teeth, we have various options. One of the options is something that stays in that the patient cannot remove, and we call that fixed. The other option is something that the patient can take in and out, and we call that removable. When people prefer fixed restorations that don't come out, then if they have teeth present, we may use the teeth, we may not. If we don't use the teeth, then we're relying on dental implants. Dental implants are a natural tooth replacement that look and function just like a natural tooth. We do hope that they'll last a lifetime. The restorations that are on the implant may or may not last a lifetime, just like our teeth don't, but they look and feel natural.
Actually today, the single tooth dental implants, it's a very brief procedure; it's painless, with or without sedation. We're also doing immediate implant placement so that we, typically, can place a tooth in your mouth the same day that your tooth comes out so that you actually are never without a space. We may or may not have an actual temporary tooth on your implant, it depends on how strong the bone is when we place the implant. We have a tool that we use to measure that at that time. If it's strong enough, we can attach a tooth to it. If it's in the front of your mouth, that's a little bit more demanding in that patients really want to go home with something that looks natural. If it's in the back of the mouth and you can't really see it, we may not place a temporary on the tooth there.
Losing a tooth from your smile can be devastating. What are you supposed to do? How do you replace something that was never supposed to come out? Dr. Wilhelm, a prosthodontist in Woodbury, MN, wants to introduce you to dental implants. These are able to do the job of your natural teeth and last you just as long as well.
The Wonder of Dental Implants
Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that will give you back everything you lost along with your real teeth. They are able to mimic your real teeth in almost every way, the most important being the stability they offer. Your real teeth don’t move while they are in your smile – that is what nature intended. Dental implants, made from titanium, bond with your jawbone and literally become a part of your bone structure. This process is called osseointegration. The ability of titanium to fully integrate with your skeletal structure makes it the ideal option not just for dental implants, but for any type of repair to your bones. This why titanium is used for the rods placed in broken bones and for the screws and plates that fix ankles. Your bone is actually stronger following the placement than it was before.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Stability – Your bite depends on your teeth holding firmly to their position in your mouth. If you lose your real teeth, you need a tooth replacement option that will give you the same level of stability while you eat, speak, and smile. Dental implants offer an unsurpassed level of stability that will leave you with a bright, confident, fully functional smile.
Bone Health – Dental implants provide a real benefit for your prolonged bone health. When your teeth are no longer in your jaw, voids are created. If nothing is used to fill those voids, the bone will begin to break down over time. This is why when you see people who have lost all of their teeth and have not gotten dental implants, their faces look shriveled. This is not just because their teeth are gone but because the bone mass in their face has deteriorated. Dental implants will fill the voids and support your bone structure in the same way your natural tooth roots did.
Life Span – Your real teeth are meant to last you for the rest of your life. So why consider an option that is going to last only 15 years at best? Dental implants are realistically the only tooth replacement option that can last your entire life. The first dental implants using titanium were placed in a patient in 1965, and those implants lasted for the next 40 years. Imagine what today’s versions are capable of! Plus, Dr. Wilhelm is a specialist who is even more qualified to create long-lasting tooth replacements.
Dental Implant Options
There are several ways Dr. Wilhelm can use dental implants to help you rebuild your smile.
- Single Tooth Replacement – This type of option will replace a single lost tooth from your smile. One implant will be placed, and a crown will be custom made to attach to the implant and fit into the open spot in your smile.
- All-on-4® Implants – All-on-4 gives Dr. Wilhelm the ability to give you a complete restorative dental arch (all the teeth in either the upper or lower jaw) without having to place an implant for each missing tooth. This method uses four dental implants strategically placed and angled along your dental arch to hold your custom dental restoration. This less-invasive approach gives you a new smile with less surgery.
- All-on-6 Implants – This is basically the same as All-on-4 but with six dental implants. Dr. Wilhelm will go over your situation and help you determine which option will work best for you.
- Implant-Retained Dentures – Dental implants are so good at stabilizing dental restorations that they have been integrated into treatment with dentures. With implant-retained dentures, Dr. Wilhelm will place a number of dental implants along your jawline (he will determine how many are needed for maximum support). These implants have ball attachments on them that will fit into matching receptacles on the bottom of your denture.
- Implant-Supported-Dentures – Instead of balls, a bar is used to keep your dentures steady while they are in your smile. The implants will be placed, and the bar will connect them to each other. Your denture restoration will then clip onto the bar to give you a stable feel and a secure smile. You will get all the benefits of dental implants, from bone loss prevention to eating the foods you love without fear of slippery dentures.