A Restoration with a Solid Foundation
Tooth Root Substitutes
Sometimes, people lose permanent teeth due to accident, injury, disease, or extraction. In such cases, we find dental implants to be a secure, functional replacement option. They're superior to many other replacement choices because they actually restore comfort and beauty, while also remaining functional for the long run. What's more, they do not rely on neighboring teeth for support, and therefore do not represent a threat to the integrity of your overall dental structural health. Sometimes, Dr. Kaiser or Dr. Hoehner will recommend implants as anchors for bridgework or fixed dentures as well.
Advantageous Anchors, Permanent Posts
Since they are permanently, surgically anchored to the jawbone, dental implants offer impressive advantages over other tooth replacement options. Their stability and permanence allows them to restore, not limit, your ability to speak and eat normally. Also, their firm positioning supplies support to facial musculature, improving rather than detracting from your normal appearance. And this solid foundation means that once they're implanted, you'll never have to deal with the inconveniences and discomfort of ill-fitting prostheses again. In fact, you'll probably forget they're even there.
The implant itself consists of a small titanium post, inserted into the jawbone below the gum surface at the location of the missing tooth. As the bone bonds to the post, it forms a secure foundation onto which artificial teeth are attached and shaped to match your existing teeth. Depending on how many teeth you're missing, we'll determine the best kind of restoration for your case. If you're missing one or two teeth, your restoration will most likely be a simple crown. For two or more missing teeth, you'll probably require permanent fixed bridgework. And, if we're replacing a complete set of upper or lower teeth, we'll evaluate the advantages of removable vs. fixed prosthesis, which in turn determines how many implants per jaw are required.
Worth the Wait
Once we've determined that implants are the best option for you, we work with you individually to evaluate the specific type of implants appropriate to resolve your particular concerns, carefully assembling all steps of your treatment plan. Then, the implant process itself requires three separate steps, anchoring, attachment, and restoration. In order to ensure that each step is carried out precisely as needed, Dr. Kaiser or Dr. Hoehner not only coordinate, but actually carry out everything here at our Bowling Green office with an expertise derived from 45 years of practice in implantology.
Bonding Base to Bone
To place your implant(s), Dr. Kaiser or Dr. Hoehner will first surgically anchor the tooth root substitute post-implant into your jaw-bone below the gum tissue. He'll also insert a special bone-grafting material into the socket, to maintain jaw bone health and growth. The inserted post must form a solid, enduring base with sufficient stability to withstand the tremendous mechanical pressure involved in normal chewing, so we'll typically allow four to six months for the post to incorporate into the bone. During the wait, Dr. Kaiser or Dr. Hoehner will provide a temporary bridge or dentures to facilitate eating and to help maintain facial muscle support. Then, the lab will carefully custom designs and manufacture your artificial tooth or teeth to be placed over the implant.
Placing Prosthesis, Ready for Restoration
Once we're certain that your implant post has bonded with your jawbone, Dr. Kaiser or Dr. Hoehner will prepare the implant to receive your restoration tooth or teeth. This step requires attaching the anchor post to the implant by first uncovering each implant and then connecting it to a small post.
Next, when the lab has completed their custom fabrication of your artificial teeth or restoration, Dr. Kaiser or Dr. Hoehner completes the final step of implant placement process. He places the prepared restoration over your implant posts, resulting in a secure, attractive, replacement tooth or set of teeth--teeth that will function just as effectively as your remaining natural teeth. Depending on the number of teeth involved, this final part of the implant process usually requires only a short time to complete.
Statistics of Success
Those unfamiliar with implant technology may question the success rate of such procedures. Surprisingly enough, the technology is well over 40 years old, and has proven successful in tooth replacement, depending primarily on the recipient's health, as well as the location and function of the teeth being replaced. Teeth placed in the lower front jaw may be up to 98% successful, while upper teeth may be up to 96% successful. It's also best if recipients are in good general health, with proper bone structure and healthy gums. Often, people unable to wear dentures are among those who benefit the most from implants. On the other hand, chronic health problems such as clenching, bruxism, or systemic diseases may decrease the success rate of the procedure immensely. Finally, those who smoke or drink alcohol may also be poor implant candidates.
Cost and Commitment
Due to the surgery involved, dental implant procedures are only slightly more in cost than traditional bridgework. However, dental and medical insurance may cover portions of such restoration. It's best to discuss this with Dr. Kaiser or Dr. Hoehner and our staff during your evaluation for implant placement, so that we can assist you in working with your insurance company.
Finally, as an implant candidate, you should seriously consider your own commitment to future oral health. As you might imagine, poor oral hygiene itself is a common cause of implant failure. This means that you'll want to be sure and brush and floss around your implants several times a day, according to the specific instructions we give you. Further, you may need up to four annual professional cleanings to maintain healthy gums.
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