What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant can be used to replace missing teeth, stabilize loose fitting dentures, or support a bridge. Similar to natural teeth, the surface of dental implants fuse to the bone of the jaw making it strong and functional. Dental implants can replace one tooth, several teeth, or all teeth at the same time.
After dental school,Dr. Bulloch attended four additional years of school training in the art and science of dental implants. Since graduating, he has placed several thousands of dental implants throughout his practice.
Dental Implants vs. Bridges
The average lifespan of a bridge is seven to ten years. The design requires significant drilling and grinding into healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth. If the connection of the bridge to either of the neighboring teeth fails, the entire structure can be damaged and must be replaced.
A dental implant is a free standing tooth that doesn’t affect any neighboring teeth and most often lasts a lifetime. It acts just like a healthy tooth and does not require any special care above normal proper oral hygiene and routine checkups.
Dental Implants vs. Partial & Conventional Dentures
Partial dentures are false teeth that snap onto the remaining healthy teeth. They create stress on the neighboring teeth and contribute to additional teeth loss over time. Partial and full dentures may not fit properly and need to be removed frequently to be cleaned.
Full dentures only provide 10-20% of the biting capacity of normal teeth and therefore require getting used to. Denture adhesives help with stability, but often melt with hot foods or drinks; impacting the flavor of your food.
Over prolonged use, dentures contribute to the shrinking of the jaw bone, leaving less and less bony ridge for the denture to hold onto. This leads to serious and often debilitating problems later in life.
Dental implants are much more stable, are cleaned just like regular teeth, and help protect the remaining natural teeth by sharing the chewing forces. Dental implants are nearly as strong as natural teeth so you can enjoy the same foods and eating habits you’ve always had.
Dental implants can also be used to stabilize partial dentures without putting healthy teeth at risk. They can remove the necessity of drilling and grinding of healthy teeth.
Implants also help prevent bone loss. They mimic real teeth by stimulating the surrounding bone. The stimulation prevents the bone from regenerating and makes for a strong and stable foundation.
Who Can Get Dental Implants?
The best way to know if you are a good candidate for dental implants is to come in for a free consultation. Advances in implant design have made implants a viable option for almost all patients. Most implants are a simple fit, but some require a buildup of the bone, using synthetic materials or other preparation. A consultation would answer any questions you may have regarding possible treatments and costs.
All of our implant treatment plans are done with the use of computerized 3D x-ray technology, giving us the most accurate planning and the best possible treatment for our patients.
Recovery Time for Dental Implants
Recovery times vary depending on the complexity and number of implants. Additional procedures such as bone grafts can affect the recovery. The majority of implants are simple and associated with little postoperative discomfort. Most patients resume normal activity immediately with no downtime. Larger reconstructions can cause some discomfort and swelling for a few days which is mitigated with prescription pain killers.