Do I Need Dental Implants?

Generally, if you lose your teeth, you can decide on having dental implants. However, it is important to be in the best of health. However, certain diseases and health conditions can affect your decision of getting dental implants.

For instance, cancer, uncontrolled diabetes, drinking alcohol, smoking, jaw radiation as well as uncontrolled periodontal or gum disease may affect the way dental implants will fuse to your bone. It is crucial for your dental surgeon to know everything about your past and present medical history as well as the over-the-counter, alternative and prescribed medications you are taking.

To know how and where implants are placed, there is a need for a detailed evaluation of your whole stomatognathic (“stoma” – mouth; “gnathic” – jaws) system, in which the teeth function.

This requires a compilation of records with study models of your bite and mouth, as well as specialized radiographs or x-rays that may come with 3D scans, referred to as computerized tomograms or Ctscans. Planning with computer images makes sure dental implants can be placed accurately in the right location in the bone.

How and why is bone loss related to teeth loss?

To maintain the form and density of bones, they need to be stimulated. When it comes to the alveolar (sac-like) bone, which surrounds and supports the teeth, it needs stimulation from the teeth. So, whenever a tooth is lost, lack of stimulation results to the loss of the alveolar bone. On the first year after a tooth is lost, there is a 25% reduction in bone width and an overall reduction in height in the following years.

More teeth lost results to more function lost. This causes a number of serious functional and aesthetic problems, especially in individuals who have lost all teeth. It does not stop at that. Once the alveolar bone is lost, the basal bone or the jawbone proper,which is the bone underneath it, also starts to resorp or melt away.

How can the bone be preserved or re-grown so it can support dental implants?

During tooth loss/removal, the bone needs to be grafted into the extraction sockets to preserve bone volume required for implant placement. Surgical procedures can also regenerate or re-grow the lost bone, to supply the needed bone substance for fastening implants. As a matter of fact, the main reason to choose dental implants as a replacement of loss teeth is jawbone maintenance.

To stay healthy, bone requires stimulation. Since dental implants fuse to the bone, they make it stable and prevent more bone loss. Resorption is a normal and unavoidable process wherein bone is lost when it is not connected to or supporting the teeth. Dental implants are the only way to preserve the bone and stop resorption.

Who places dental places and how are they placed?

Only a dental team can evaluate as well as plan dental implant placement plus restoration: fabrication of dentures, crown and bridgework that attach above implants and are visible inside the mouth. The dental team comprise a dental surgical expert: an oral surgeon, periodontist or general dentist that has advanced training in implant surgery; restorative dentist for planning and placing tooth restorations; and a dental lab technician for fabricating tooth restorations.