Why You Should Want Dental Implants
Dental implants are available to replace teeth that have been extracted so that natural appearance and function can be restored. They can be used to provide the support and stability needed for a partial or denture or as a stand-alone solution when an appliance isn‘t desirable. A dental implant is simply an artificial tooth with an artificial metal root. The unit is usually made of titanium. A dentist or periodontist can install dental implants over the course of several appointments.
Dental implants may require adjustment, but they are durable devices that can last for years when properly installed and taken care of. They are a smart option when the desire is to:
- provide a new tooth-like structure without doing damage to surrounding teeth as
- correct joint or bite problems that can result from teeth shifting
- improve the appearance of the face or mouth
- restore the ability to speak, chew or digest properly
- support a bridge, denture or other device.
After taking an impression to determine the fit and whether adequate bone and tissue are available, the dentist numbs the area. The implant is attached to the bone and allowed to heal. Integration with the bone can take six months.
A few weeks after the post is installed, an artificial tooth made to the patient’s exact specifications is placed on the post. Perfect fitting can require more than one visit to the dentist. Once a permanent artificial tooth is placed, it should remain stable and comfortable for many years with few if any adjustments.
Functional, and Highly Successful
A couple of decades ago, dental implants were considered new, fringe procedures and weren’t recommended by the dental establishment. Times have changed, however. Implants have progressed greatly and enjoy a better success rate than ever.
In decades past, dentists who installed implants were looked upon unfavorably, according to San Diego holistic dentist Dr. Daniel Vinograd. Implants were considered to be outside the realm of usual and normal dentistry and were often considered imprudent and ill-advised.
In truth, implants really weren’t a good idea at first because they were very invasive and involved large blades that were inserted into the jaw — simply to replace a single tooth.
Two and a half decades later, however, implants are among the most quickly growing areas of dentistry, and the success rate that once hovered at around 50 percent now tops 99 percent when the procedure is properly executed. When patients have lost a tooth or know they’re going to, it’s no longer necessary for the patient to lose that tooth function.
Implants From A Biological Dentistry Perspective
Implants, root canals and other major and invasive procedures are among the most concerning procedures that a biological dentists must deal with. With situations were these procedures might be warranted, the most common and obvious possible concern is bacterial infection existing in and around the tooth. A tooth root that’s infected or a tooth that has periodontal problems is a great challenge to the body — a bigger challenge than that presented by having an implant or root canal.
So is a bridge preferable to a root canal or implant? Much of the consideration must focus on the general health of the patient. Also, the condition of the adjacent teeth must be considered. If they’re already damaged and placing a bridge doesn’t result in much greater loss, a bridge could actually result in an improvement to the adjacent teeth as well. If the adjacent teeth are uncompromised, however, an implant might be a more intelligent decision to preserve the good teeth.
Considerations For Implants
So what consideration must be taken into account for a dental implant? Must the patient meet certain requirements to be a good candidate? Actually, the primary consideration is the amount of healthy bone near the implant site. Perhaps 95 percent of the population have plenty of bone tissue to support an implant.
A few years ago, implants were quite long and invasive — up to 18 to 20 millimeters. These were simply huge.
In the last 10 years or so, dental implants have become much, much smaller. In fact, there has been a significant shift to smaller, less invasive implants without a compromise in quality. Research indicates that smaller implants actually integrate with the bone better than larger ones and last just as long as those placed in years past — in many cases longer.
Today’s implants are usually in the 10 to 15 millimeter range. That’s a significantly invasive device, but it’s a remarkable improvement compared to devices used in the past. Still, there are other options that deserve consideration.
Short implants or mini-implants are the first choice of Dr. Vinograd. It’s important, however, to make a distinction between thin
mini-implants that are place for mounting dentures and the better Bicon implants that support a single tooth. Bicon implants are short and well-designed — with a lot of available surface that can integrate well with the bone of the jaw.
These mini-implants or short implants are usually about 6 millimeters in length and much less invasive than any other implant choices available today. Because they don’t need to integrate with so much bone, they’re by definition less invasive and require less recuperation time. As a bonus, they’re significantly less costly too.
For larger implants when there isn’t enough available bone, grafting into the area is necessary, and it is sometimes necessary to lift sinuses and reposition nerves, all invasive procedures — and all very costly. Plus, all of these procedures can lead to significant complications.
The small 6-milimeter implants are more versatile, cost less and can be placed in more kinds of spaces, making them superior in many ways. While there has been some doubt about the durability of mini-implants and their ability to last over the long term, the research indicates they’re effective, efficient and actually more successful than longer implant types.
Dental Implant Material
From a biological perspective, perhaps one of the most important considerations is what the implants are made of . Most today are titanium, the most biocompatible of all metals. In Europe, zirconia implants are common, and those are also biocompatible.
Zirconia implants as currently made, however, are of one piece. They’re also quite long and invasive. Titanium implants are made of two pieces. With one-piece implants, placement is critical and the dentist must often reshape the implant, and this can cause some microfractures.
When the issue of microfractures is paired with the invasiveness, whether zirconia implants provide the best possible outcome is uncertain. When there’s plenty of bone and no anticipated problems with the line of insertion, they can be acceptable.
So What Should You Do?
Dr. Vinograd has chosen to stick with short, biocompatible Bicon implants, the least invasive choice. It’s the kind he would place in a family member or have placed in himself.
When looking into implants, patients are likely to find a great deal of information. But as patients explore more, they’re likely to find the fewest reported problems and the best anecdotal evidence supports the use of Bicon implants and similar small titanium implants.
They integrate well, people usually like them a lot and there are few problems. While leakage was once a problem with the implants, the design has been improved, and well-placed implants have a 99 percent success rate.
Dr. Vinograd has expanded the use of implants in his San Diego dental practice because he has found them to be successful dental procedures that are well-received by patients, biocompatible and function as they should. That means they’re a smart choice for patients to consider along with the other restorative procedures available that can give great function and good looks too.