Dental Implants

Did You Know…

The success rate of dental implants has been reported in scientific literature to be as high as 98 percent.
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Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat a normal diet, knowing that his or her teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence. Statistics show that 69% of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth to an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal or tooth decay. Furthermore, by age 74, 26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth.

Twenty years ago, these patients would have had no alternative but to employ a fixed bridge or removable denture to restore their ability to eat, speak clearly and smile. Fixed bridges and removable dentures, however, are not the perfect solution and often bring with them a number of other problems. Removable dentures may slip or cause embarrassing clicking sounds while eating or speaking. Of even greater concern, fixed bridges often affect adjacent healthy teeth, and removable dentures may lead to bone loss in the area where the tooth or teeth are missing. Recurrent decay, periodontal (gum) disease and other factors often doom fixed bridgework to early failure. For these reasons, fixed bridges and removable dentures usually need to be replaced every seven to 15 years.

Further, conventional dentures may contribute to the loss of bone in the area where teeth are missing. The presence of natural teeth preserves the jawbone. When a tooth is missing, the bone may atrophy (shrink). When a missing tooth is replaced by a dental implant, the fusion, or osseointegration, of the implant and bone provides stability, just as the natural tooth did.

Many patients who have selected dental implants describe a quality of life that is much more comfortable and secure than the lifestyle endured by those with fixed bridges or removable dentures. Dentures often make a person feel and look older than they are, cause embarrassment in social situations when they slip and click, and restrict the everyday pleasure of eating comfortably.

What Are Dental Implants?

The implants themselves are tiny titanium threaded screws that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small extensions (abutments) that protrude through the gums are then attached to the implants. These abutments provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth. Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing. With an overall success rate of about 95% and almost 50 years of clinical research to back them up, dental implants are frequently the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth.

The Implant Team

Implant treatment is a team effort, shared by us as the oral and maxillofacial surgeons who will place the implants and by your restorative dentist who will provide the temporary prosthesis as well as restoring the implants with a permanent prosthesis once healing is complete. We firmly believe in maintaining close communication with the restorative dentist to develop the ideal treatment plan for each patient, whether it is for a single implant to replace a missing tooth or multiple implants to replace the entire dentition for a patient missing all his or her teeth. To insure the most accurate treatment planning we use the latest three-dimensional imaging technology, as well as SimPlant computer guided implant treatment planning.

The Surgical Procedure

For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. In the first procedure, implants are placed within the jawbone. This surgery is usually accomplished with IV sedation and local anesthesia and there is usually minimal post-operative discomfort. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums, gradually bonding with the jawbone. Patients are usually able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time.

After the bone has bonded to the implant, the second phase begins. The implants are uncovered and small posts (abutments) that will protrude through the gum are attached. Theses abutments will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. The entire course of implant treatment usually takes six to eight months. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily activities.

Surgical Advances

Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, we are often able to place single stage implants which do not require a second operation to uncover them. They do require a minimum of six weeks to heal before artificial teeth are placed on them. In selected cases, implants can be placed at the time of tooth extraction, minimizing the number of surgeries as well as the overall treatment time.

Who Can Have Dental Implants

Almost anyone can have dental implants. If you are considering implant treatment an evaluation visit will be scheduled. At that visit we will review your medical history and perform a comprehensive clinical and radiographic evaluation. If you can have routine dental treatment, you can generally have an implant placed. While precautions are advisable for certain conditions, patients with such chronic diseases as high blood pressure and diabetes are usually successful candidates for dental implant treatment. Although smoking lowers the success rate of implants, it doesn’t eliminate the possibility of getting them. Whether you are a young, middle-aged or older adult; whether you need to replace one tooth, several teeth, or all your teeth, there is a dental implant solution for you. With the exception of growing children (implant tooth replacement in children is usually deferred until their jaw growth is complete.), dental implants are the solution of choice for people of all ages.

In general terms, there must be sufficient jawbone structure present to allow implant placement. In marginal cases, surgical techniques such as bone grafting can often be done to allow implant placement. These various options can be discussed during an evaluation visit with our doctors for dental implants in NYC.

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