Dental Implants

Replacing Teeth and Restoring Confidence with Dental Implants

Imagine being able to smile widely with confidence or looking in the mirror with pride every time you open your mouth. Or, being able to chew on both sides equally or bite into an apple without concern.

You can achieve those goals with dental implants that not only restore teeth, they restore your smile and self-esteem.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a post that acts as an artificial tooth root. It is the base or foundation for the tooth crown and is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth, bridge, or implant-supported denture (overdenture). A dental implant is a common option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or other reasons. Implants are very similar to natural teeth, are very strong, and can last for many years.

An implant is made from type 4 titanium, shown by Dr. Per-Ingvar Brånemark in the 1960s to have the ability to integrate and fuse with bone tissue. His research allowed the development of the dental implant of today to be used to replace missing teeth.

If you are in good health and have healthy gum tissue free of periodontal disease and with adequate bone in your jaw to support the implant, you are a strong candidate for dental implants. In some cases, ridge augmentation, a bone graft procedure, may be necessary to regrow the bone prior to dental implants.

Dr. Even Hen will give you a full exam and evaluation, explain the process involved with dental implants, and discuss your options for tooth restoration.

Replacing a single tooth

This requires one implant and a crown that is attached to the post, and maintains the health and stability of neighboring teeth. Bone is better preserved than with a bridge because the bone does not resorb or deteriorate, which also mars the esthetics; and a single implant is easier to clean than a bridge. It also avoids having to cut down those teeth adjacent to the area for the bridge.

Replacing multiple teeth

Several missing teeth can be replaced with an implant-supported bridge, which, unlike a traditional denture, is permanently secured and does not involve your other teeth.

Implant-retained dentures

If you are missing all of your teeth, an implant-retained full bridge or full denture can replace them. This appliance is supported by and attached to implants as opposed to a regular denture that rests on the gums. Implant-retained dentures are usually made for the lower jaw because dentures there require more stability, but they are made for the top jaw as well.

Implant-retained dentures have an acrylic base that looks like gums, with porcelain or acrylic teeth attached to the base. There are two types: bar-retained and ball-retained. Dr. Even-Hen will advise you on the best option depending on your needs and preferences.

As with regular dentures, an implant-supported denture should be removed daily to clean it and the gum area, and it should not be worn during sleep.

Sinus lift for implants

Also called sinus augmentation, this procedure helps correct a common problem - lack of sufficient bone quantity and quality in the upper back jaw, which is a challenging area in which to place dental implants. This difficulty is due to the density of bone and the area's close proximity to the sinus. When a tooth in the back of the upper jaw is extracted, the sinus may invade the space where the roots of that tooth were. That natural movement of the sinus or the individual's genetic anatomy can cause insufficient bone height for an implant and may necessitate this sinus procedure.

Since the success of a dental implant is reliant on underlying bone structure, sinus augmentation is a proven corrective measure that raises the sinus floor and develops bone for the placement of dental implants. The two types of sinus procedures are the "lateral window" Caldwelll Luc procedure and the less invasive osteotome procedure. Dr. Even-Hen will advise you if this is a necessary step and which type is best suited for your specific situation.

Caring for your dental implants

Your new teeth are just like your own teeth and require daily home care and regularly scheduled dental checkups. Brushing and flossing will keep your implant clean and free of plaque, which is so important for your overall oral health. It is strongly recommended that Dr. Even-Hen see you periodically to monitor your implant, teeth, and gums.