Dental implants are the best and most innovative solution to missing teeth in modern dentistry. Every day, we see mouths healed and lives changed through the installation of dental implants. They can fasten bridges and dentures in place, as well as serving as replacements for individual teeth. If you are missing a single tooth, we can use a dental implant to give you a permanent replacement without damaging adjacent teeth.
Dental implants consist of small metal fixtures rooted in your jawbone that can support one or more replacement teeth. Implants use biocompatible materials, which allow your bone to grow around them and between their ridges, fusing them in place with the strength of a natural tooth root. This process is called osseointegration. Research has shown this type of implant is effective in over ninety-six percent of all patients treated.
Semantically, the term osseointegration stems from the Greek word osteon (bone) and the Latin word integrare (to make whole). While dental implants as a concept can be dated back centuries, osseointegrated dental implants were introduced in 1981 by Swedish physician Tomas Albrektsson. The technologies used during impression phases, as well as the materials used during procedures have advanced at a rapid rate, which has seen this become the most popular form of dental implants by a considerable distance, particularly for single tooth replacements.
Before planning your future with dental implants and a restored smile, you first need to confirm whether they are the right treatment type. Osseointegrated dental implants are designed to replace a tooth that has been lost or requires excavation. However, a tooth that was lost years ago may not be suited to this solution as the jawbone may have changed shape in light of the root removal.
While modern dental implants are a little less invasive than they were in previous generations, they continue to take their toll on the jaw and gums. Therefore, it’s imperative that all patients are committed to healthy habits throughout the treatment timeline. Chemicals from smoking will cause major complications, which is why quitting is essential. Similarly, a solid oral hygiene routine will need to be followed.
Proposed patients that have previously used bisphosphonate medications may also need to look at alternatives as these medications can change the way that the jaw naturally heals. All of these issues and more can be discussed with the Dental Partners of Boston team, but appreciating them before an initial consultation is still vital.
Dental implants work as an aesthetic and functional replacement for missing teeth. While there are other options to address tooth loss, such as removable bridges, dental implants are highly recommended. Some of the advantages of dental implants are:
Natural look: Dental implants have no visible metal fixtures; once finished, they appear to be healthy, natural teeth.
Full function: A single crown or a bridge supported by a dental implant functions like your natural teeth. You can speak, eat, and smile as you would naturally. Even full dentures are at their most secure and reliable when fastened using dental implants.
Permanence: A successful dental implant becomes a permanent part of your mouth and, with proper care, should never need to be replaced.
Ease of care: Cleaning dental implants is as simple as brushing and flossing the way you would with your own natural teeth. This means you can care for them without changing your everyday routine.
Retention of bone structure: Where teeth are missing, the surrounding bone will abate, which can affect other teeth and eventually change the shape of your face. Dental implants stimulate bone tissue and allow you to keep your healthy bone mass and jaw profile.
While many of the benefits relating to dental implants revolve around restored appearances and confidence, the troubles associated with leaving the gap unfilled are far greater. The jawbone can change its structure, infections can occur, and other teeth can become misaligned or damaged as a direct consequence.
When replacing a single tooth, the use of osseointegrated dental implants is one of the first options that Dental Partners of Boston will investigate. Under the right circumstances, their ability to restore look and function are second to none. Millions of teeth are replaced using this method every year, giving patients the incentive to start smiling once more.
The placement of dental implants is a surgical procedure best performed by a periodontist. Periodontal education includes specific training with dental implants, allowing placement with care and precision that will provide the best chance for the implant's successful integration.
After initial exams to determine where the implant must be placed and ensure you have sufficient bone mass to support it, we will place a small metal fixture in your upper or lower jaw in the space normally occupied by the roots of the missing teeth. This fixture can support a single dental crown, a bridge to replace multiple teeth, or a fastening for dentures.
Over time, the surrounding bone will grow right up against the implant, securing it permanently. Usually, there is a period of months between the implant installation and the attachment of the permanent crown or bridge to ensure that the implant integrates properly with the bone; however, in some cases, it is possible to install both the implant and the crown in a single procedure. Caring for your implants is similar to taking care of your natural teeth. Subsequently, then, the timeline for getting single tooth dental implants might proceed like this:
While the entire process does take several months, osseointegrated dental implants can restore a smile to its former glory by providing the best replication of a natural tooth. However, this does mean that patients must also take great care to promote long-term benefits. Otherwise, degeneration can lead to serious problems that require further treatments at an added expense and consumption of time.
It can take a few days to acclimatize to the new prosthetic tooth, but we advise booking an additional check-up if the dental implant continues to cause discomfort beyond a fortnight as minor adjustments may be needed. Mouth sores and other symptoms should not be ignored.
Aside from this, the dental implant requires the same level of daily oral hygiene as natural teeth. Brushing twice daily, using mouthwash, and flossing should all be on the agenda. Furthermore, you should follow biannual cleaning and check-ups to maintain the right levels of care.
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth. When using a single tooth replacement, the above method of osseointegrated dental implants is the most common solution. However, when multiple teeth are missing, there are different options available. Multiple dental posts may be used to support single crowns, a bridge, a partial denture, or a full denture. The extent of tooth loss and positions of each lost tooth will have an impact in the decision-making process.
Naturally, single tooth implants are easier, cheaper, and less prone to complications. Whether it’s a single tooth or multiple teeth, though, Dental Partners of Boston can help.
Standard dental implant treatment protocols require an implant to be integrated with bone prior to crown placement. But for many patients, one-stage surgery and immediate dental implants can shorten the process to a single visit. At Dental Partners of Boston, we've successfully provided same day implants for many happy patients. The advantages of immediate dental implants are easy to recognize: they allow for immediate replacement of a lost tooth without the need for a waiting period or temporary measures. Dental Partners of Boston's implant dentists have been successfully utilizing several systems for immediate dental implants, including Teeth in One Visit and Teeth in an Hour.
To learn if you are a candidate for dental implants, including immediate dental implants, from a Dental Partners of Boston implant dentist, please contact our office today to request an appointment.
Sergio A. Guzman