Dental Implants

The dental world has changed dramatically in the last 10-15 years with the increase in predictability and clinical success of dental implants. Studies have found the success rate of dental implants to be as high as 97%! 

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a screw-shaped titanium post that is placed into the bone where a tooth is missing. It mimics the function of a natural tooth root and provides an incredibly stable foundation for a dental prosthesis.

The most common use for a dental implant is to replace a single missing tooth. Historically, the best way to replace a missing tooth was with a dental bridge. A bridge uses the teeth on either side of the space as supports for replacement of the missing tooth. This requires us to grind down those teeth to make room for the bridge. With dental implant treatment the teeth on either side of the space do not have to be touched because the support for the new crown comes from the implant within the bone. It is a self-supporting structure. This also decreases the chance of needing replacement in the future due to breakage or decay of teeth on either side of the space.

If more than one tooth is missing, two or more implants can be used to replace two or more teeth. Dental implants excel when they are connected to each other by an implant-supported bridge.

In some cases there may not be enough bone in the area of a prospective dental implant, in which case bone grafting may be necessary prior to – or alongside – dental implant treatment.

See our section on Bone Grafting and Guided Bone Regeneration procedures for more information.

Can dental implants provide support for dentures?

Yes! In fact, in many cases we can modify your existing dentures or partials to fit over dental implants for heightened support. The only time this would not be possible is if the fit or function of your current denture or partial is questionable, in which case we would likely recommend a new prosthesis be made first. 

Lower dentures are notorious for moving around in the mouth. Even the very best lower dentures are prone to instability. This causes a tremendous amount of frustration and decreased quality of life in many patients. Thankfully, lower dentures can be stabilized with the addition of two or four dental implants in the lower jaw. When lower dentures are modified to snap onto dental implants, patients report vastly better function, confidence, nutrition, well-being and quality of life. It is also much healthier for the jaw bone to have a denture supported by implants rather than one that rests on the oral tissues.

What if I want to avoid conventional dentures altogether?

One of the most exciting and life-changing ways dental implants can be used is in full-arch treatment.

Dentists have been making conventional dentures for centuries but they have inherent disadvantages. They cause bone loss over time by sitting on top of the oral tissues and applying a constant pressing force. Dentures also tend to feel unnatural due to the fact that they are removable. They have to be big and bulky in order to be sufficiently strong.

Enter dental implants. For people who would otherwise need conventional dentures, they can instead have 4-6 dental implants placed in each arch (upper and lower) and have what we call “fixed hybrid dentures” permanently placed on top of the implants. Fixed hybrid dentures are much smaller and stronger than conventional dentures. They feel and look more natural as well. You won’t have to worry about them falling out at an inopportune time. Also, you’ll never have to remove them before bed (although great oral hygiene is tremendously important with dental implants!). Since the implants absorb the biting forces, you don’t have to worry about getting progressive bone loss like you do with conventional dentures.

How long will my implant last?

We expect our dental implants to last a long time and provide many years of reliable function with proper maintenance. Without maintenance and good home care, implants can fail over time.

If you have missing teeth or you need teeth removed, make sure to ask us about the advantages of dental implants. We will be happy to talk you through the process and discuss whether dental implants are right for you.


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