Among dental restorations, implants are the closest prosthetic we have to real teeth. They not only replace the visible crown, but the titanium post imbedded in the jawbone adequately substitutes for the tooth root. Because of their unique design, implants are not only life-like, they’re highly durable and could potentially last for decades.
But while their success rate is remarkably high (more than 95% exceed the ten-year mark), they can fail. Ironically, one possible cause for implant failure is periodontal (gum) disease. Although an implant’s materials are themselves impervious to disease, the tissues and underlying bone that support the implant aren’t. If these natural tissues become infected, the secure hold the implant has can weaken and fail.
A gum infection usually begins with dental plaque, a thin biofilm of bacteria and food particles that builds up on tooth surfaces. Certain strains of bacteria within plaque can infect the gums. One particular form of the disease known as peri-implantitis starts as an initial infection and ensuing inflammation of gum tissues around an implant. The disease can quickly spread down to the bone and destroy the integration between the bone and the implant that helps keep the implant in place.
That’s why it’s important for you to keep the implant and the tissues around it clean of plaque, just as you would the rest of your natural teeth. This requires daily brushing and flossing around the implant and other teeth, and visiting your dentist regularly for more thorough dental cleanings.
You should also be alert to any signs of disease, especially around implants: gum redness, swelling, bleeding or pus formation. Because of the rapidity with which peri-implantitis can spread, you should see your dentist as soon as possible if you notice any of these signs.
Preventing gum disease, and treating it promptly if it occurs, is a key part of implant longevity. Preserving your overall dental health will help make sure your implant doesn’t become a loss statistic.
Dental implants are a surefire way to restore your smile, rejuvenate your appearance, and renew the way you feel about your look. However, understanding how the implant process works and just what it can do for you is crucial in making the decision to undergo this procedure. Learn more about more about dental implants by reading below, and contact Dr. Garrett Oka at Sweet Tooth Dental in Kailua Kona, HI, if you are interested in undergoing treatment!
The Long-Term Benefits of Dental Implants
A missing tooth causes the bone below it to degrade during a process called bone atrophy, a problem that is prevented by dental implants. Additionally, implants fill in your gaps to boost your self-esteem and confidence to help you feel great about the way you look. Thanks to their design and materials, implants are permanent and non-removable, allowing you to go about your daily life and oral care plan just as you would with natural teeth.
A Quick History of Dental Implants
Dentists began using modern dental implants in the 1970s. However, evidence of this powerful dental procedure has been traced back thousands of years. Bone, animal teeth, and even stone have all been used in various ancient societies to replace missing teeth. By the 1800s, prosthetic teeth made from gold were implanted into fresh extraction sites, paving the way for the modern implant styles we see today. Dentists tested various materials in the 1960s, developing the titanium implant used now.
What is a dental implant?
Am I a good candidate for dental implants?
A good candidate for dental implants is in good oral and general health and able to, in some cases, undergo anesthesia to complete their implant procedure. They should also have sufficient bone volume in the area of the implant and a strong at-home oral care routine to keep their teeth and implants healthy and free from teeth decay and gum disease.
Interested in implants? Call out Kailua Kona office today!
Dental implants can benefit many patients in a variety of situations. For more information about this wonderful treatment, please contact Sweet Tooth Dental in Kailua Kona, HI, at (808) 329-0889.
Discover the array of unique offerings that this tooth replacement can give your smile.
Tooth loss. It can be a frustrating situation but one that can easily be remedied thanks to a myriad of tooth replacement options that our Kailua Kona, HI, restorative dentist, Dr. Garrett Oka, has to offer. Whether you have dentures but you aren’t fully satisfied or you just lost a tooth and want to get a long-term replacement then you’ve come to the right place. Dental implants may give you exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Just Like Real Teeth
No other tooth replacement can boast this same benefit quite like implants can. After all, implants don’t just look like real teeth but they also function just like them. This small metal post is surgically placed into the jawbone where over several months the bone and implant fuse together to become one. An implant serves to replace your missing tooth’s roots, which are vitally important for your overall oral health. Even though you can’t get your real tooth back, we believe you should have the next best thing.
A Lifelong Restoration
Most tooth replacement options have a shelf life. While we wish that every restoration could last forever, it’s simply not the case; however, dental implants are durable enough to last several decades. This is because the implant is made from reliable titanium and it becomes a permanent part of the jawbone. This is the only restoration that does this, so with the proper oral care in place you could just end up having your implant for the rest of your life.
Prevent Bone Loss
If you’ve lost a tooth there is an empty space in which the jawbone isn’t getting the stimulation it needs. If you don’t get a proper tooth replacement within the first year of tooth loss this can greatly impact the density of the jawbone. Over time, bone loss will become more and more significant, affecting the overall structure of your face and leading to premature sagging and wrinkles. The only way to prevent this is to place a dental implant, which will provide the jawbone with the stimulation it requires to prevent deterioration.
Feel Confident Again
This is one of the most important benefits of getting any dental restoration. Our goal as your Kailua Kona general dentist is to make sure that you get the tooth replacement that makes you feel confident in your smile again. We know how important a healthy, beautiful smile is not just to your appearance but also your self-esteem. Imagine feeling confident going out to dinner with friends or on a date and being able to enjoy all of your favorite foods without worrying?
Do you have questions about getting dental implants in Kailua Kona, HI? Are you ready to find out whether your smile could benefit from these amazing restorations? If so, call Sweet Tooth Dental and let us know that you want to sit down and discuss getting implants with us.
If you’ve just received a dental implant restoration, congratulations! This proven smile-changer is not only life-like, it’s also durable: more than 95% of implants survive at least 10 years. But beware: periodontal (gum) disease could derail that longevity.
Gum disease is triggered by dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles that builds up on teeth. Left untreated the infection weakens gum attachment to teeth and causes supporting bone loss, eventually leading to possible tooth loss. Something similar holds true for an implant: although the implant itself can’t be affected by disease, the gums and bone that support it can. And just as a tooth can be lost, so can an implant.
Gum disease affecting an implant is called peri-implantitis (“peri”–around; implant “itis”–inflammation). Usually beginning with the surface tissues, the infection can advance (quite rapidly) below the gum line to eventually weaken the bone in which the implant has become integrated (a process known as osseointegration). As the bone deteriorates, the implant loses the secure hold created through osseointegration and may eventually give way.
As in other cases of gum disease, the sooner we detect peri-implantitis the better our chances of preserving the implant. That’s why at the first signs of a gum infection—swollen, reddened or bleeding gums—you should contact us at once for an appointment.
If you indeed have peri-implantitis, we’ll manually identify and remove all plaque and calculus (tartar) fueling the infection, which might also require surgical access to deeper plaque deposits. We may also need to decontaminate microscopic ridges found on the implant surface. These are typically added by the implant manufacturer to boost osseointegration, but in the face of a gum infection they can become havens for disease-causing bacteria to grow and hide.
Of course, the best way to treat peri-implantitis is to attempt to prevent it through daily brushing and flossing, and at least twice a year (or more, if we recommend it) dental visits for thorough cleanings and checkups. Keeping its supporting tissues disease-free will boost your implant’s chances for a long and useful life.
If you would like more information on caring for your dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Gum Disease can Cause Dental Implant Failure.”
Let’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?
Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?
Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.
Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.
But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?
In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.
Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.
What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.
If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”