My dentist recently recommended osseointegrated dental implants. What are dental implants and are they safe?
Proven safe and effective at replacing missing teeth, contemporary dental implants have been in use for more than 30 years.
Dental implants are typically made of titanium, a biocompatible material that is accepted by the body and serves as a strong and sturdy foundation for replacement teeth. Your natural bone locks the implant into place by fusing, or attaching itself, to the implant.
This process, known as osseointegration, gives teeth replaced using implants the stability and strength to support replacement teeth, withstand daily use, and function like regular teeth.
Dental implant surgery is one of the safest and most predictable procedures in dentistry when performed by a trained and experienced dental implant dentist. A dental implant is the strongest device available to support replacement teeth, and it allows your replacement teeth to feel, look and work naturally. In addition, dental implants are the only restoration method that stimulates your natural bone underneath the missing tooth.
Nearly all implant procedures are performed with local anesthesia in a comfortable dental chair. No pain is felt during the surgical procedures. Depending upon the number of implants placed, there may be swelling and/or tenderness for a few days following the surgery. Pain medication is usually prescribed which alleviates this discomfort. Patients generally prefer a soft foods diet for the healing period following surgery. Cold foods and tepid soups are suggested, as they aid in reducing swelling.
The entire osseointegration process and the building of the new teeth can be accomplished in as little as three months, though the upper teeth or replacing a complete denture with permanent teeth normally requires five to six months.
Dental implant patients range from age nine to 99. A single congenitally missing tooth can dramatically change the life of a child; the replacement of dentures in an older patient can make the golden years more fulfilling, and considerably gentler to both the digestive tract and the cardiovascular system. Generally, only patients with rare blood diseases, leukemia, or patients being treated with chemotherapy are contraindicated. Patients who have successfully undergone cancer therapy and received permission from their oncologist may benefit from implant treatment.
Six Important Factors To Take Into Consideration Before Deciding To Place An Implant Dental implants are big business. It is estimated that in 2005 almost a million implants were placed in people’s mouths in the United States. Today many dentists recommend that a tooth be extracted and replaced by an implant instead of doing a root canal or periodontal surgery. Unfortunately, dental materials are routinely placed in patients’ mouths without due regard for the health implications for those materials.
Well, what about implants? What are the possible systemic effects?
I believe there are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration before deciding to place an implant:
- The overall health of the patient
- The meridian upon which the implant will be placed
- The implant material itself
- The habits of the patient
- The impact on the patient’s self esteem
- The status of the rest of the mouth