Dental implants were first used in dentistry in 1952 as an alternative to complete or partial removable dentures. They have developed to become a standard procedure for those with missing teeth who want the likeness of real teeth that are not removable. Our offices at Stansell Dentistry Associates work closely with you to help determine if dental implants are a viable option for you.
Tooth Replacement Options
There are several options available to you if you are missing a single tooth, several teeth, or a complete row of teeth. The goal of a tooth replacement is to ensure you have a set of fully functioning teeth for chewing and to help improve the aesthetics of your smile. There are currently three methods of teeth replacement available to you. These options include a fixed dental bridge, a removable denture (complete or partial), and a dental implant. Each has its pros and cons, which must be considered by both you and your dentist before surgery.
A fixed dental bridge is used when you do not have a complete row of teeth missing. One of the four methods will be used to create a bridge of fake teeth that are permanently placed in your mouth. Using one or two adjacent teeth, a dental crown is cemented to those teeth and the fake teeth are placed in a bridge to fill the gap.
Removable dentures are used when you are missing several teeth, called a partial denture, or if you are missing an entire row, complete dentures. These are used for people who want teeth they can safely remove every night and are less expensive than a dental implant. They also require the least amount of surgery unless you must go through a tooth extraction. Dentures are also known to deter your taste and sensory experience when eating food.
Dental implants can be used whether you are missing one tooth, several, or all your teeth. This makes them the most versatile of the tooth replacements. Unlike dental bridges, they do not require any surgery or altering to the adjacent teeth to work. A surgical fixture is placed into your jawbone and will fuse with your bone after a few months. These give the most stable and natural feel of real teeth. This is a preferred option if you want teeth that feel and look as natural as possible.
Types of Dental Implants
Several different types of dental implants have been used over time. The old standard was subperiosteal, where the implant was placed underneath the gum and rested on top of the jawbone. This procedure is dated and rarely used due to the poor long-term results produced for patients. The new standard is now endosteal implants, which are placed in the actual jawbone. This allows the tooth to naturally fuse with the bone over several months. During the healing phase, you will be required to avoid any hard or tough foods that may potentially interfere with the fusion. Long-term results are favorable since they act like natural teeth, allowing you to eat what you want.
If you experienced gum disease, you may be recommended a technique named the All-On-4® implant. Periodontitis can cause instability within your gumline and bone structure, which may render an endosteal implant useless for you. Some teeth may not fuse with the jawbone and can be lost over time. The All-On-4 implant was created by Nobel Biocare and gets its name from the procedure itself. Four implants are strategically placed in the upper or lower jaw where your bone is the strongest and least affected by gum disease. A thin denture prosthesis is then screwed into these four implants, giving you a suitable set of teeth that, unlike normal dentures, do not come out of your mouth. Like an endosteal procedure, they provide a long-term solution, giving you stability and a natural-looking smile.
If you are considering a dental implant, our team at Stansell Dentistry Associates can help guide you. Give us a call at 984-477-0177 today to set up an appointment for an examination.
For more information, check out our Dental Implant FAQ page