March 30, 2015

When Are Dental Implants Necessary?


Are you considering dental implants because you have missing teeth and you don’t want dentures? Dental implants are a popular option for people who desire a natural smile. The AAID (American Academy of Implant Dentistry) facts and figures have reported the number of people getting dental implants at 500,000 per year. There are currently 3 million people with implants in the U.S. and this number increases every year.

Reasons to consider Dental Implants:

  • Natural looking
  • Prevents jawbone degradation
  • Maintains your facial bone structure
  • They are fixed in your mouth, not removable like a denture
  • Natural looking teeth customized just for you
  • Don’t have to change your diet
  • Are a long term solution
  • Protects your existing teeth
  • Great track record for successful surgeries

Dental implants are typically made of titanium because of its high bonding ability with the jaw bone. Dental implants are the closest equivalent to replacing missing teeth a person can get.

The History of Dental Prostheses

Before dental prostheses were readily available, patients who were missing teeth found it impossible to regain a natural smile. Ancient dental prostheses were crude in design and a poor substitute for natural teeth. Previous designs were cumbersome with limited functionality. The many limitations of removable prostheses paved the way for modern day dental implants of today.dental implant model in surrey

By the mid 20th century a number of modern day techniques emerged. Previous implants were highly unpredictable and expensive. Different patients reported signs of failure shortly after implant surgery. Many people who formerly received implants ended up having the implants removed. Modern day procedures and education have eliminated many of the drawbacks of past dental surgeries.

A Swedish orthopedist named Per-Ingvar Branemark introduced the term osseointegrated implants to the cosmetic industry. Osseointegration is the merging of living bone and the incorporation of a load carrying implant. Dr. Branemark’s technique utilized biocompatible titanium alloy implants inserted into the alveolar process. The alveolar bone tissue is a ridge of bone that houses the tooth sockets that anchor the teeth of the maxillae and the mandible.

Different Types of Dental Implants

Subperiosteal Implant

Used on patients who don’t have adequate bone tissue. Custom designed metal framework that fits over the existing bone. Can be used to replace multiple teeth. Dental professionals are the best at determining what implant is best to use. The gum tissue grows around the implant.

Endosteal Implant

Implanted directly into the bone. Different styles provide an anchor through which a single pin can be inserted into an individual’s existing tooth. The endosseous blade implant was developed by L.I. Linkow and R. Robert. The paper was published around 1968 and it soon became popular in the scientific community. Root form implant is another name for endosseous or endosteal implants. The inserts resemble screws, nails or cones that come in various widths and lengths. This type of implant surgery is ideal for patients with normal bone tissue.

Intramucosal Inserts

The mushroom shaped inserts attach to the gum side of the dentures. Intramucosal inserts fit into specially prepared indentations in the roof of the mouth.

Ramus Frame Implant

A recommended implant for people with thin lower jawbones. Subperiosteal root form implants can not be used if a patient has a lack of jawbone tissue. The Ramus frame implant is embedded in the back corners of the mouth in the jawbone during surgery. After the gum tissue heals a thin metal bar is visible above the gumline, special dentures are made that interconnect onto this bar.

Transosseous Implant

Previously implanted into patients with little bone tissue in their lower jaws or with no bottom teeth. Transosseous implants required extensive surgery with the aid of anesthesia and hospitalization. This type of implant was primarily used for patients with no teeth in the lower jaw. The two metal rods inserted through the chin bone were visible inside the mouth. The rods were used to attach a customized denture for the patient. Endosteal implant methods are now used in place of transosseous implant surgery.

Blade Form Implant

Another form of endosseous plate form implant placed in the jawbone. Blade form implants are shaped like flat rectangles of metal with one or two metal prongs. The prongs are made to support crowns or bridges.

Dental Implant Procedure

Implants fall under two categories those that are bonded to the jawbone and those that rest on top of the bone. Dental implants can be made to replace a single tooth or a series of missing teeth in the upper or lower jaw.

Dental implant steps:

  1. During a dental implant procedure a D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) will surgically place the implant into the jawbone to bond with the bone. The implant bonds to the jawbone in a process called osseointegration. As the jawbone “heals” around the implant it gets anchored in place. Healing times vary widely depending on the health of the patient.
  2. For those patients who require a second visit the dentist will customize a dental crown. The artificial tooth will be customized to blend in with a patients other teeth. Other patients will have custom made bridges or dentures to fit the oral cavity.

The Health Benefits of Dental Implants

Dentures can be a long term solution for people who are understandably self conscious because they have missing teeth. Gum disease and tooth decay both contribute to accelerated tooth loss. The (CDC) Centers for Disease Control & Prevention released a 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported that 25% of adults aged 60 years and older have lost all of their teeth.

Another study revealed more than 20.5% of U.S. adults aged 65 and older have lost their teeth due to tooth decay or gum disease. – 2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Replacing a missing tooth is not just for the vain at heart. Missing teeth can drastically alter the shape of the mouth. For every tooth missing the remaining teeth end up shifting position, this causes the sunken jaw appearance in so many denture wearers. Another major cause for tooth decay and disease is missing teeth. Investigating getting dental implants is not purely for aesthetic reasons. The long term health benefits of dental implants provide more stability and support than dentures or partial dentures.

Patients with adequate bone and gum tissue in good health are usually prime candidates for dental implant surgery. If you would like to discuss your options, contact us for a free consultation.

About Dr. Michael Layton

Dr. Michael Layton - South Surrey Dentist, Dental ImplantsDr. Michael Layton (DDS) is the dentist for Peace Arch Dental, a dental office in the South Surrey/White Rock, B.C. area. He has been in the dental industry for the last decade and received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Washington. He takes pride in providing positive and caring dental solutions for people of every walk of life. You can follow him on Google+.