What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants have 3 parts; a bio-compatible, small titanium post, an abutment, and then the dental restoration. The post is implanted into the jaw bone via a simple surgical procedure. The implant integrates with the jaw bone acting as the tooth root and providing a solid foundation for an artificial tooth. An abutment is attached to the post and then restored with a dental crown for a single tooth and a dental bridge or denture for multiple teeth. The type of implant you will need depends on the number and location of your missing teeth. Our Philadelphia, PA dentist office can use dental implants to replace missing teeth due to disease or lack of oral hygiene as well as missing teeth due to injury or trauma.
Why do so many people choose dental implants to replace missing teeth?
Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option to preserve the jaw bone, preserve the health of the surrounding teeth and give you back full chewing function. Even though dental implants cost more in the beginning, other dental restorations will eventually need repaired, replaced or adjusted. That cost will add up over the years. Dental implants are permanent and require the same care as your normal teeth. The office of Dr. Pamela Doray offers dental implants to their patients in and around Philadelphia.
Do I qualify for dental implants?
Candidates for dental implants include people who have damaged or missing teeth. Anyone can get implants except for children since their jawbone have not completely developed. Young adults can get implants at around age 16 for girls and age 18 for boys. Healthy bone structure is the most important qualification. The jaw bone needs to be healthy so the implant can completely fuse with the bone to support the dental restoration. If you have bone loss, Dr. Doray may recommend bone grafting to ensure the success of your dental implant. Patients also need to have healthy gums. If you suffer from gum disease, you must first be treated for that before receiving dental implants.
Can I replace my dentures with dental implants?
Yes, Dr. Doray offers denture implants for patients missing an entire arch of teeth. Many people choose dentures because they are the cheaper and faster option. Some people may realize that dentures are not the best option after wearing them for awhile. They require a lot care, may slip around and may need repaired because the fit can actually change over the years. Our Philadelphia dental team can help you switch to implant dentures. Since dentures do not replace the tooth root, the jaw bone will begin to deteriorate. A bone graft may be needed depending on how long you have had dentures. After healing from a bone graft (if it is needed), as few as four implants are surgically place in your jaw bone. A new denture is then attached after the dental implants have fused with your jaw bone.
What is the success rate?
Dental implants are now considered the gold standard in tooth replacement. The national success rate for implants is over 95%. Factors like smoking greatly increase your chance of implant failure. If you choose dental implants as your missing teeth replacement, you have to be committed to good oral hygiene habits for the rest of your life. They must be cared for just like your natural teeth. If bacteria grow on your teeth or gums, infections and diseases can develop causing your implants to fail.
What is the dental implant process like?
You will first meet with one of our dentists for a consultation and exam. Then a very detailed and precise treatment plan is created. If you need any pre-treatments such as a bone graft or tooth extraction that will be performed first. The entire process will take about 3-6 months longer if a bone graft is needed due to healing time. If not, then you will move on to the surgical phase where the implants are surgically placed. This will require 3-6 months of healing time. During this time, you will either have a healing cap on the implant or we may place temporary teeth for your comfort. Last is the attachment of the abutment and the dental restoration at our Philadelphia dentist office. The process can take anywhere from 6-9 months.
How do you care for dental implants?
Once healed, implants require no more maintenance or care than your natural teeth. Just like your permanent teeth, dental implants depend on healthy gums and surrounding tooth structures for support. It is important that you continue your oral hygiene home care routine which should include brushing and flossing daily and visiting your dentist at least twice a year for dental cleanings. This will ensure the long term success of your implants and oral health.