Deconstructing Dental Implants

Dental implants are quickly becoming one of the most important technologies in dental offices across the United States. With the ability to restore function and aesthetics of a tooth and stabilize the jaw bone at the same time it’s no wonder. There are many reasons why a dental implant may be the best course of treatment, however there are many things a patient must understand about dental implants before she chooses one to ensure the success of the implant.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are dental restorations that replace the whole entire tooth – root and all. The “root” is a titanium rod that over the course of six months fuses to the bone in the jaw, and the crown is identical to the dental crowns you know and love. These crowns are screwed onto the rods once they have healed into the jaw and function as stable and durable teeth for a lifetime.

Why Choose Dental Implants?

Dental implants can be used in many applications. The decision to use a dental implant over a less invasive crown procedure would come into play if the root of the tooth was severely damaged. In most cases of tooth loss due to periodontal disease, dental implants afford a patient the chance to restore their smile, quality of life, and the the integrity of their underlying jawbone. When the cementum (the outermost layer of the tooth root) breaks away from the periodontal ligament the bone that kept the tooth in the socket begins to deteriorate. This happens at a very rapid rate and compromises the surrounding teeth. If nothing is done, this bone loss will progress and progress until the profile has physically changed. The jaw will sink in and cause many other functional problems for the patient. By placing a dental implant as soon as possible after tooth loss you can prevent and reverse this problematic bone loss.

This is actually one of the most important advances in dental science. Because bone loss happens so rapidly after tooth loss, ill fitting dentures are a fact of life for many patients. If dental implants are used to fix these restorations in place it can stifle bone loss and enable the patient to strengthen their bone from within while living with comfortable, functional dentures.

Caring For Dental Implants

Dental implants are amazing advances in dental science. They cannot decay and are just as strong as natural teeth; however, caring for them can be a bit different. Infection in the implant site is an extremely real fear that should be avoided by proper care and hygiene. The failure of dental implants happens all too often when they are not allowed to heal correctly or develop peri implantitis – a form of inflammation that occurs when bacteria enters the implant site. This can be extremely problematic because the bone you are attempting to fortify and grow with the implant is sensitive to begin with. Enabling harmful bacteria and inflammation to occur can have damaging repercussions including pain, odor, further bone loss, and failure of the implant. Advances to the way dental implants are being made is hoping to reduce the risk of infection by introducing anti bacterial biofilms and nanocoatings to the implants themselves. They are proving to be quite useful in aiding successful implantation, however there is no excuse not to practice proper oral hygiene.

Brushing and flossing are more important now than ever to prevent the loss of another tooth and the development of peri implantitis or periodontal disease. By brushing your teeth and dental implant for two minutes twice each day and correctly flossing once each day, you can ensure that the harmful bacteria that causes inflammation and decay are removed and your teeth and implants will remain healthy.

If you have been wondering if dental implants can improve your life and restore the function and aesthetics to your smile, give your Jacksonville, Florida dentist a call today. Dr. Shields cannot wait to see if these dental restorations can help your condition.


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Smiles by Shields
3940 San Jose Park Dr.
Jacksonville, FL 32217