When a tooth is list, the bone that houses the tooth begins to resorb due to lack of stimulation. This causes a decrease in width and height of the bone in the area the tooth is list. Neighboring teeth and opposing teeth begin to move into the space. This causes food lodgment, subsequent decay, gum disease and abnormal forces being transmitted to teeth leading to fracture of cusps which may necessitate root canal treatment or extraction. Loss of teeth can also cause the cheek and lips to collapse, giving an aged look.
The consequences of tooth loss can be prevented by replacing the lost tooth in a timely manner. Although there are several options, a good choice is dental implants. Implants are tiny titanium screw or posts that are surgically placed in the bone. Once integrated into bone, they act like roots onto which small posts are attached which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors to the replacement teeth. Implants maintain the bone height by stimulation and placement. Since implants are titanium posts, there is no chance for decay on implants.
Who is a candidate for implants?
Anyone who is missing one or several teeth is a candidate for implants, even those with the following health concerns:
Existing Medical Conditions: If you can have a 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.
Gum Disease or Problem Teeth: Almost all implants placed in patients who have lost their teeth to periodontal disease or decay has been successful.
Currently Wearing Partials or Dentures: Implants can replace removable bridges or dentures, or they can be used to stabilize and secure the denture, making it much more comfortable.
Smokers: Although smoking lowers the success rate of implants, it doesn't eliminate the possibility of getting them.
Procedure: Dental implant placement usually takes two surgical appointments:
During the first surgical appointment the implant sire is prepared to receive the implant following strict aseptic procedures. The selected size of the implant is placed in the prepared site. The gum tissue is sutured over the implant. The implant takes 4-6 months to fuse with the bone.
During the second surgical appointment, the implant is uncovered and the appropriate post is attached to which the replacement tooth is anchored. An impression of the post is taken and sent to the lab for the fabrication of the implant crown. During this time, a temporary crown is placed. Once the final crown is back, it is cemented with permanent cement.