Dental implants are used to replace damaged or missing teeth. Unlike bridges and dentures, dental implants are permanent tooth replacements that maintain the appearance, comfort, and function of your natural teeth. This makes them a much preferred tooth replacement alternative amongst patients concerned, not only with the aesthetics of their smile, but the comfort and upkeep of their replacement teeth. Most patients with missing or damaged teeth are candidates for dental implants, presuming they are in good health. Because dental implants require surgery, your periodontist must assess your individual circumstances to determine if you are healthy a viable candidate for the procedure.
Dental implant surgery requires multiple sessions, but the procedure is widely practiced and has become highly routine among most dental professionals. As with any surgical procedures, there are some risks that should be considered, but you can discuss these with your dentist or periodontist to take all factors into consideration.
When performed by an expert periodontist, the dental implants procedure is fast, relatively painless, and effective. And with proper aftercare and consistent upkeep, any of the procedure’s potential risks is drastically minimized.
Dental implants have been used by periodontists for over 30 years, so the procedure has a long history of success. While dental implant surgery is considered to be one of the safest and most predictable dental procedures, here are some factors to consider when electing to receive dental implants:
● Infection at the implant site. Infection at the site of any surgical procedure is something any medical professional would caution their patients about. With dental implants specifically, the procedure involves inserting the implant into the bone socket of the missing tooth–that is, into the jawbone itself. Periodontists take every precaution to keep the area sterile and minimize the risk of infection, and if you follow aftercare instructions thoroughly, you reduce the risk of infection post procedure.
● Damage to surrounding structures. Because the procedure involves drilling into the jawbone, in rare occasions, there is the risk of damaging the bone, the surrounding teeth, nerve endings, or even blood vessels. If your own jaw is not strong enough to support dental implants, you may require bone grafts to reinforce the structure of your jaw, and this also has the potential to do damage to the existing area. But such instances are rare in procedures handled by skilled periodontists.
● Sinus problems. When dental implants are placed in the upper jaw, there is the potential for the implant to protrude into the sinus cavity and cause problems with your sinuses. Periodontists avoid this with comprehensive examinations before the procedure. X-rays, CT scans, and molds of your teeth all go into helping your periodontist determine the precise shape, size, and structure of your jaw to help them place the implant directly.
There are a myriad of advantages to choosing dental implants, both aesthetically and functionally. They look and feel natural, providing you with a health replacement for your natural teeth that gives you a radiant smile. They are also permanent, unlike bridges and dentures, so as long as you take regular care of them (as you would with your natural teeth), you do not have to worry about removing them daily or taking extra steps to care for them beyond brushing and flossing. There is no impediment to your speech, and very little pain after the procedure, and with dental implants, there are no restrictions to your diet.
In fact, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, dental implants go above and beyond mere tooth replacement insofar as they actually stimulate bone growth. The titanium that the implants are made of fuses with your natural bone in a process called osseointegration. This not only offers stability for the implant, but as more bone grows to fuse with the titanium, your jawbone is strengthened, and this can provide needed reinforcement against future tooth loss.
All in all, dental implant surgery is a safe procedure with a wide array positive benefits for patients. If you are considering dental implants, it is important to research not only the procedure but also the periodontist you want to work with. Some dentists, like Dr. Jan Linhart, have a periodontist on staff, but if they don’t, they can likely recommend one. Remember, you are in control of your oral health. Be active in your research and explore all your options for ensuring the safest way to attain the smile you’ve always wanted.