Dental Implants Edmonton AB
The Best Solution for a Missing Tooth
Missing teeth. Whether a tooth had to be pulled due to excessive decay or whether it was lost during a pickup hockey game, you’re in good company. Studies show that 23% of Canadian adults are missing at least one tooth; 6% have no teeth remaining.
Missing teeth can lead to a variety of unpleasant oral health consequences. At Today’s Dental, we recommend replacing missing teeth with dental implants. Dental implants replace missing teeth on a one-by-one basis, so they don’t rely upon adjacent healthy teeth for support. They function exactly like natural teeth and can last the rest of your life.
What are dental implants?
The term dental implant is actually a bit of a misnomer. The implant itself is the portion of the prosthetic that is the anchor. Implants are shaped like a screw and are made of titanium. They are screwed down into the hole formerly occupied by the root of the natural tooth. Once in place the jawbone is allowed to grow around the implant, making it a part of the jaw, a process called osseointegration. When the jaw has fully accepted the implant, a post is attached to the top of the implant and an artificial tooth atop that. When completed, the implant now looks and functions exactly like the patient’s natural teeth.
What are the advantages of dental implants in Edmonton AB?
Many people opt to not replace a missing tooth, as the numbers above illustrate. People don’t think a missing tooth or two is any cause for concern. The reasons can be financial or simple inertia.
But not replacing a missing tooth can lead to serious problems with your oral health. The teeth on both sides of the missing tooth or teeth now don’t have pressure on them to stay in place, and they tend to slide over to fill in the gap. This creates problems with the alignment of the teeth and the overall bite. Formerly straight teeth can become crooked with noticeable gaps. Also, the force created by biting and chewing is sizable. That energy travels down the teeth into the jawbone beneath. It is this energy that triggers the jawbone to continually create new bone mass, keeping it healthy. When a person is missing a tooth or teeth, the jawbone under these gaps begins to deteriorate and, if allowed to continue, the face in that area can collapse inward.
There are many benefits to replacing a missing tooth with an implant:
- They keep the adjacent teeth from sliding over into the gap.
- They transfer bite force energy down into the jawbone, exactly as a natural tooth does.
- They function just like natural teeth.
- They don’t require any special care or attention.
- Unlike bridges, which need to be anchored by crowns on the teeth abutting the gap, implants do not impinge on the adjacent teeth.
- They are almost as strong as your natural teeth.
- The success rate of implants approaches 95%.
- They can last for decades.
How will I know if I am a good candidate for an implant?
The key for a patient to be able to have a dental implant to replace a missing tooth is the patient’s jawbone mass. The jawbone must be sufficient to handle the implant. If a patient has had a missing tooth or teeth for some time, there may have been significant bone loss in the jawbone, and this could preclude the patient from being ready for an implant. In these cases, we use jawbone grafts to rebuild the jawbone before we can start the implant process. Jawbone mass is basically the only determinant if a person can have an implant.
Why should I get an implant instead of a bridge?
Some patients balk at the time required to place an implant and opt instead to have a bridge. While this is an option, at Today’s Dental we feel implants are superior. First, bridges need to be anchored on each side of the missing tooth or teeth. Crowns are placed on the healthy teeth to anchor the bridge. To place those crowns, the healthy teeth must be shaved down to make room for the crowns. Implants don’t impinge on neighboring healthy teeth.
Second, implants behave just like a natural tooth. The patient can eat anything he or she desires without worrying about the bite strength or about breaking the bridge. Hygiene is also no different than what is provided for a natural tooth. Plus, the bite force energy discussed above is delivered down into the jawbone with an implant, just as a natural tooth.
What is the implant procedure in Edmonton AB?
There are four steps to placing a dental implant:
- Implant placement — First, the patient is anesthetized. Then the jawbone is exposed and the titanium implant is screwed down into the socket that held the former tooth root. If necessary, a small hole may be drilled to facilitate the process.
- Osseointegration — Now the jawbone needs time to grow around and accept the implant. This process is what makes an implant behave just like a natural tooth; it becomes part of the jaw. Osseointegration takes from three to six months.
- Placing the post — Once osseointegration is complete, the patient returns to our office and we attach a post, clinically termed an abutment, to the implant. This time we allow the gums to heal around the post for approximately six weeks.
- Attaching the crown — When the gums have fully healed, we cement the crown (false tooth) to the abutment and the process is complete.
How long do implants last?
The titanium implant will most likely last the remainder of the patient’s life. The crown that is attached to the implant usually has a 15-year lifespan, but good hygiene can extend that. Also, even if the crown needs replacing the implant that is part of the jawbone is still in place, so the process is very easy.
Do I have to provide special hygiene for my implant?
One great thing about implants is that they function and are cared for exactly like a natural tooth. Simple daily brushing and flossing are all that’s required. Of course, that hygiene regimen should include twice yearly professional cleanings from the Today’s Dental team.