Our team at Olympia Prosthodontics & Cosmetic Dentistry can improve your smile, replace missing teeth and help you chew your regular diet with the placement of dental implants. An implant is an excellent choice for replacing missing teeth, as it is more than just replacement, but a rebuilding of the original structure. Dental implants allow us to replace single missing teeth, multiple missing teeth or even permanently set a full arch denture device. The surgical process for placing implants is minimally invasive and often approved for elderly and medically delicate patients, but it does require the ability to heal at a reasonable rate. Our staff can meet with you, review the process, and discuss candidacy expectations. With small adjustments, most of our patients can have a dental implant placed.
Dental implants can be used to restore missing teeth. We use them to restore a missing tooth root, which can then have a dental prosthetic placed over the implant. Dental implants are used in combination with a dental crown, a dental bridge and dentures for a permanently fixed solution.
DENTAL IMPLANTS AND BONE HEALTH
Missing teeth often goes hand in hand with decreased bone mass in the jaw. Bone is constantly renewing and growing, the cells are always at work when the bone is being used. Our jawbone, like all of our bone, requires the stimulation of movement to stay robust and healthy. Our jawbone receives this stimulation through the constant fleeting touches of our teeth making contact with each other each day while chewing, speaking and even breathing.
When a tooth is lost, the tooth is no longer present to send this motion through the root and to the bone. The bone quickly recognizes the loss and then pulls back the resources to keep this portion of bone robust, this is known as atrophy. You may have seen the signs of atrophy following the removal of a cast on an arm or leg, the bone is visibly smaller and takes a bit of work to become healthy again.
The first step in the implant treatment plan is deciding if enough bone is available, often it’s not. When a patient has insufficient bone, we can add the bulk we need through a bone graft procedure. The process is simple, but requires time to grow.
HEALING AND DENTAL IMPLANTS
After the implant is placed, the bone should heal and grow around the threads of the implant, so being able to heal reasonably is vital to the success of the implantation. There are reasons that a patient may not be able to heal at a reasonable rate, some we can assist with and some we can not. Problems that can impact a patient’s ability to heal can include:
- Patient has uncontrolled diabetes.
- Patient is currently receiving cancer treatment.
- Patient smokes tobacco.
- Patient is taking certain prescribed or illegal medication that slows healing.
All of the above conditions do not entirely eliminate candidacy for implant surgery, but we may need to discuss changes with you or your physician before surgery can take place.