We specialize in implant placement. According to the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), dental implants have a success rate of 95% when placed by a dental specialist.
Although having a beautiful smile and the confidence that comes with that are important, there are also important health reasons to have dental implants. Whether replacing one tooth or several, implants are an important solution to restoring and maintaining dental health.
Once a tooth is lost, several things begin to happen that are not immediately noticeable to a patient and which can have a significant negative effect on both health and appearance. Tooth roots help hold teeth in place but they are also critical in maintaining health in the surrounding gums and supporting bone structures. Bone loss in the jawbone is one of the significant problems that naturally occurs once a tooth is lost. This bone loss can compromise the integrity of neighboring tooth roots and tooth stability. This bone loss is also a large part of what causes the “sunken” look that is seen in people who have lost several or all of their teeth. It is the reason patients who wear dentures find that over time their dentures are harder and harder to fit and keep in place.
Dental implants help maintain and strengthen bone structure. This means they do much more than replace the missing tooth – they also protect the existing teeth by helping to preserve bone structure.
Dental implants are metallic devices that replace the roots of missing teeth, so that Dental implants, crowns or bridges can be placed as anchors to support and stabilize loose dentures.
Dental implants are usually manufactured from a medical grade space-age metal called titanium, which heals very well when placed in human tissues. In addition to being used in dental implants, titanium is used in the manufacture of such devices as hip, knee and other joint replacements, bone plates, and some artificial heart valves. There are many types and brands of dental implants available, so it is important to choose an implant that is manufactured by a reputable company, and that has a design and surface quality that encourages healing.
How do Implants Heal?
After being placed in the jaw bones in a very precise, implants heal by a process called OSSEOINTEGRATION. This means that the specially designed porous surface of the implant and the nature of titanium allow it to actually attract bone forming cells to shift from the jaw bone into the implant itself, forming bone that anchors the implant in place. In most cases, this requires several months of healing prior to placement of crowns, bridges or dentures.
Who can benefit from Implants?
It is estimated by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons that more than 40 Million American over the age of 55 have lost some or all of their teeth due to decay or periodontal disease. As Americans live longer, many will face years or decades of complete or partial toothlessness. Others, often younger, will lose teeth for the same reasons, or due to traumatic injuries where teeth are knocked out and the surrounding bone is damaged and lost.
This loss of teeth results in embarrassing cosmetic deficiencies, the appearance of premature aging, decreased or difficult chewing function, shift of other teeth and change in bite, and shrinkage of bone (atrophy) in the area where teeth have been lost. For patients wearing dentures, this can lead to denture looseness, poor fit, acceleration of jaw shrinkage, painful chewing, inflammation of the gum tissue and emotional distress.
What is the Implant Team approach?
A team of dentists with expertise and experience works together to maximize your care and treatment. The Team consists of an oral surgeon and a restorative dentist who collaborate together to plan treatment to allow for the best placement of the implant. The oral surgeon places the implant, as an artificial root, into the jaws, as well a performs any surgical procedures, when necessary, prior to implant placement, such a bone or soft tissue grafts to prepare the deficient jaws to receive the implants with maximum chance of success. After a time of healing, the restorative dentist, your dentist, will take over and place crowns bridges, or attachments to support dentures on the implants. Afterwards, the Team members will provide appropriate follow-up care when needed.
What kinds of Implants do we use?
In this office, we use 2 types of implants:
1. A traditional sized implant manufactured by the Straumann Company, a Swiss company, who was one of the the leaders in the development of the “modern” dental implant. This type of implant can be used to replace most missing single or multiple teeth and are used to support crowns, bridges and for stabilizing loose dentures. For very narrow implant sites and small spaces, Straumann has developed a small diameter implant, the Roxolid implant, which is fabricated from titanium and zirconium and is much stronger than implants of much larger size.
2. A smaller implant that can be placed into thinner bone and smaller spaces, providing patients with jaw shrinkage (atrophy) the opportunity to experience the stability of dental implants. In many instances, these implants can be placed and existing or new dentures can be attached the same day. The name of the mini implant we use is the Midmark Mini Implant.
The first step is to talk with your general dentist to determine if he thinks you are a candidate for using implants. Then call our office at 770-461-2101 and make an appointment for a consultation appointment. Dr. Johnson will examine you and a current (less than one year old) panoramic x-ray of your jaws, then will review and discuss with you the findings of that exam, whether or not you are a candidate for implants, types of implants, any additional x-rays or preparatory procedures that might be necessary, surgery for implant placement, and post-surgical care. Qualified staff members will discuss fees and insurance coverage with you.
Our goal will be to determine if you are a candidate for implant placement, and to provide you with the necessary information for you to make an informed decision regarding your care. Not everyone who is missing teeth is a good candidate for oral implants.