Are you one of the millions of Americans who are missing one or more teeth due to trauma, decay, or gum disease? Missing teeth can change a person’s looks, speech, ability to eat, and posture of the neck and body. Snoring, neck and back pain, and severe headaches or migraines may result from missing teeth. When multiple teeth are missing and not replaced, the bone structure of the jaw is dramatically reduced. As a result, the head, face, and facial skin begin to outwardly exhibit those changes by appearing “sunken,” wrinkled, “hollowed,” or quite simply, more aged. Because dental implants replace the root of the missing tooth, the height and width of the jawbone is maintained as well as the overall facial structure.
Over the years, the ways to replace teeth have continued to improve. Fantastic technology allows dentists to repair, improve, or replace teeth so that they are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth in both appearance and function. For missing teeth, the latest advances in dental implant technologies allow for more predictable and optimal results.
Dental implants are man-made replacements for missing teeth, which provide a foundation, or permanent support, for crowns and dentures. Some implants can have crowns or dentures placed on them immediately after the implant is placed, but more typically there is a period of weeks or months that allows the bone to integrate tightly around the implant before placement of the teeth over the implant.
Implants have now become the standard of care for replacing missing teeth. They provide benefits that removable partial or complete dentures or fixed bridges cannot provide. For example, they function, feel, and look just like natural teeth. Additionally, implants have shown a higher success rate over time than fixed bridges. If the teeth on either side of the missing tooth are both healthy, it is better to preserve the healthy tooth structure and simply replace the missing tooth with an implant.
Comparing the fees for a dental implant versus a fixed bridge with no other complications are fairly similar. A variety of published research shows the success rate of implants is quite a bit higher than that of a fixed bridge in addition to the average expected lifespan of fixed bridges on natural teeth as typically 10-15 years. Individual dental implants have no potential need of root canal therapy and can be placed where a fixed bridge cannot, such as a back tooth or in a long span of missing teeth. Thus, the financial investment for implants over time is a very sound decision.
The Smile Centre team believes it is important for each patient to be educated on all their treatment options so they can decide which procedures and outcomes suit their goals, lifestyles, and budgets best. Many of our guests have such busy schedules with family and work that they truly appreciate being able to complete all their treatment in one location in minimal visits. Dr. Stanley and his team have tremendous experience utilizing advanced dental technologies including some that bridge the gap between the medical and dental specialties, for example, computerized tomography (CT or CAT scan) which allows three-dimensional digital imagery of hard or bony tissue. Dr. Stanley was one of the first dentists in Florida to own such a machine and has utilized it in diagnosing and treating his patients. They show 3-D images of the bones of the jaws, sinuses, and nerves which allow placement of dental implants with unprecedented accuracy and predictability. CT scans enable the dentist to measure the width as well as the height of the bone unlike a conventional x-ray. This allows for optimal pre-operative planning of the size and type of implant parts and analysis of the surgical site and placement.
In many cases, implants can be placed at the same time teeth are removed. For teeth that are already missing, the CT scan provides accurate information about the availability and quality of bone in the area to receive the implants. In areas where there is insufficient bone, a variety of grafting materials are available for restoring the bone needed for implant placement. These advanced technologies help minimize discomfort and swelling during the implant placement, which can be done with only local anesthetic. For people who are apprehensive about dental procedures, in-office sedation is available that relaxes the patient and basically vastly reduces or eliminates their anxiety and awareness of even being in a dental office.
Implants are very predictable procedures with 95% to 98% functioning successfully 15 years after placement for non-smokers and those without major medical conditions. They can be used to replace one tooth, individually replace all missing teeth, or provide support for dentures by placing a few implants that the denture(s) then snap onto. For people who have had challenges with loose-fitting dentures, removable dentures can be eliminated. Implants and crowns can restore normal function and aesthetics allowing people to eat their favorite foods comfortably to restore a healthy bite to support the jaws, face, head, and neck.
For more information, call one of our three conveniently located offices today and mention this article for a complimentary initial consultation. Call our University/Sarasota office at 941-227-4176, South Trail/Sarasota office at 941-227-4183, or Venice office at 941-227-4186. We look forward to meeting you!
University Palm Aire Plaza at Sarasota
5899 Whitfield Avenue, Suite 105
Sarasota, FL 34243
The South Trail Office at Sarasota
3220 S. Tramiami Trail
Saratosa, FL 34239
The Galleria at Venice Avenue
1500 East Venice Avenue, Suite 203
Venice, FL 34292