If you have gaps and missing teeth and you’re embarrassed about it, don’t fret as there is hope for you
First developed by Dr. Per Ingvar Branemark in the 1970s, dental implants have provided millions of patients with something to smile about! Nowadays, people do not have to live their entire lives with missing teeth, large gaps, loose partial or full dentures or solutions such as bridges that are destructive to adjacent teeth. The problem isn’t just esthetics, the alveolar bone, which surrounds the teeth and holds them in, requires regular stimulation in order to stay healthy. When a tooth is extracted the stimulation stops and the bone gradually starts to erode which can result in changes to not only your smile but your face. When teeth are removed and not replaced there can be a loss of 25%-50% of bone width in the first year alone, and more in subsequent years. With time, the contours of the face and lips change, making an individual look noticeably older. Eventually, the bite may effectively collapse — along with the self-confidence!
Dental implants are titanium posts (the same metal that is used for hip and knee joints) that fuse with the jaw bone and serveas anchors for replacement teeth. Dental implants hold the bone in place and protect against bone loss – just like real teeth. This protects against bite collapse, tooth, tooth movement, and loss of facial support which cause the appearance of premature aging.
Improved Appearance – When teeth are lost, ongoing shrinkage of the jawbone occurs making the face look older. Dental implantscan slow or stop this process. Dental implants look and feel like your own natural teeth.
Improved Comfort –
Dental implants eliminate the pain and discomfort that occurs with removable full or partial dentures. Since dentures sit on top of the jawbone and gums, continual use of them results in increased shrinkage of the jaw bone which in turn alters the fit of the denture resulting in slipping or rocking of the dentures. Exposed nerves and irritation of the gum tissue may add to the discomfort.
Implant supported replacement teeth are like natural teeth because they are anchored securely to your jawbone. Dental implants when used can result in “rock steady teeth” eliminating the “loose” dentures that people lived with before. This results in a greater confidence in not only your smile but your chewing ability.
Gum irritation and the pain of exposed nerves associated with conventional full or partial dentures can be eliminated.
With ill fitting dentures, the teeth slip and slide around the mouth. The facial muscles become tense in an attempt to hold the teeth in place. This often results in mumbling, slurred speech or clicking noises. When dental implants are used to hold in your teeth, they allow you to speak with confidence in a relaxed and natural tone, knowing that the teeth are“rock steady”.
Improved Self Esteem-
Considering all other benefits, dental implants can improve your self-esteem. You may feel better about yourself. You can regain nearly all the capabilities that most people have with natural teeth, giving you renewed confidence, and allowing you to enjoy life, do what everyone else is doing and not think twice about it.
Eat Better – The average denture patient with an excellent fitting denture eats at 15-20% efficiency when compared to a person with natural teeth. As the jawbone shrinks, your chewing efficiency is reduced even more, making it difficult to eat certain foods. Dental implants can restore chewing efficiency comparable to that of natural teeth.
This allows you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain, enjoy what everyone is eating and not think twice about it. A full upper denture covers the palate of the mouth and reduces the ability to taste foods and to speak properly. With dental implants, you can have the palate removed from your upper denture so you can taste and enjoy your food, and worry less about your speech being slurred.
Dental implants can eliminate the numerous embarrassing inconveniences of removable partial and full dentures when food gets caught under the dentures. You will eliminate the use of gooey denture adhesives that must be re-applied throughout the day. You will no longer need to cover your mouth when you laugh or smile, for fear that your teeth will pop out or fall down.
Protect Your Remaining Natural Teeth –
Dental implants are often more appropriate than a bridge for the replacement of one or more adjacent teeth. With conventional bridgework, the teeth surrounding missing teeth must be ground down and this can damage the nerves of the teeth. The average lifespan of a dental bridge is 8 years and 90 % of the time when it fails one or both of the anchor teeth holding the bridge in has substantial decay ( cavities) on it which at times necessitates this tooth being removed. As your bridge grows in size it will last fewer years and eventually a fixed bridge is no longer possible. Dental implants often eliminate the need to modify these adjacent teeth, resulting in a conservative, yet esthetic restoration.
At Canyon Dental & Laser Skin Care, Dr. van As performs all the dental implants surgical procedures. He is an active member of International Congress of Oral Implantology ( ICOI) and a past member of the Renaissance Implant Study Club here in Vancouver, and has experience both placing and restoring multiple implant platforms including HiOssen, Ankylos, Nobel, and Astra. He has written articles on the role of lasers with dental implants and was one of the first clinicians to begin placing HiOssen Implants in Canada. Dr. van As is on faculty for the BITES Institute (www.bitesinstitute.com) which educates dentists to how to place and restore dental implants in their practice.