Whether in beautiful West Vancouver, BC, or out on a family vacation, anyone of any age can lose one or more teeth at any time. At eight or eighty-eight, a fall can break your front teeth instantly. Large fillings can fail and if the tooth is too weak, it may have to be pulled. When missing teeth are not replaced, the remaining teeth can shift or rotate, changing the bite and making chewing painful and difficult. Jaw bones lose density and shape, causing changes in appearance.
Historically, teeth have been replaced with removable dentures or fixed bridges. Over the last decade, dental implants have become an increasingly more reliable and predictable option, both as a result of advances in surgical techniques and improved bio-materials.
Dental implants are usually made of titanium and are surgically placed into the jawbone, literally replacing the root of the missing tooth. Following a variable healing period, replacement teeth in the form of crowns or dentures will be attached.
The procedure is an established way to replace missing teeth with proven success rates of better than 96%. Patients with impeccable oral hygiene habits and regular dental checkups can enjoy implants that last a lifetime.
Prior to treatment, medical and dental histories are screened and Dr. Shainbom will perform a thorough examination – including study of the patient’s panoramic X-rays and CT scans. Oral hygiene routines (brushing) and oral habits (grinding) are reviewed. This in-depth clinical evaluation identifies whether the patient is a good candidate for implant treatment, and a treatment plan is established with the patient’s knowledge, understanding and consent before procedures begin, which may include referrals to other specialists such as endodontists.
Implants are placed into the bone under local anesthesia, and the implant is left under the gum for a period of at least 4 months for the implant to fuse (integrate) with the bone. When ready, the implant is exposed and a healing cap is attached to the implant, allowing the gum to shape or form above the implant. The healing cap is replaced with a fixture that is attached to the implant and to which the final crown is screwed or cemented.
And Now For the Fine Print:
Dental Implants generally require a greater financial commitment than a fixed or removable denture. The cost can vary due to the very personal anatomy of each patient and his or her requirements, and will include the surgical placement of the implants, the fees for all the implant components and the final crown/s or denture and its placement.
The best candidates for dental implants are those who habitually maintain the best dental hygiene, and whose supporting bone and gum tissue are favorable to implant surgery. Smokers or persons with compromised immune systems or other particular health concerns may not enjoy the same level of success, and these issues should be discovered and discussed on referral. Also, because this is a surgical procedure, there is a small risk of problems which can result from any surgically-invasive procedure. These include, but may not be limited to, infection, pain, and other unforeseen complications from the surgery.
Undoubtedly, the best feature of implants is that the new teeth which fit over them do stay in place. No need to give up popcorn or stock up on poly-grip. One can laugh or sneeze without fear of their denture or bridge winding up in their soup. Implants are independent of adjacent teeth, so there is no cost or stress involving teeth which are otherwise just fine. They are as easy to keep clean as normal teeth, and most important, they preserve bone density, preventing the bone loss which occurs when lost teeth are not replaced.
Implants have proven to be extremely safe, reliable and cost effective in replacing missing teeth. Their success rate makes dental implants one of the more predictable and ideal means of restoring normal use of one’s teeth, and especially, the beauty and confidence of one’s smile.