IS IT TIME TO CONSIDER DENTAL IMPLANTS?—ASK YOUR MARCO ISLAND DENTIST
If you’ve lost teeth or are facing tooth loss, you’re probably wondering what the best procedure is for replacing them. Dentures were the preferred tooth loss option for decades, and, yes, founding father and first U.S. president George Washington did have dentures. However, these prosthetic teeth inserts weren’t made of wood, as commonly believed, but instead were made of a combination of ivory, human teeth, gold, spiral springs, and rivets.
You might be surprised to learn that humans have been trying to develop more permanent, implanted teeth for centuries. Unfortunately, the success ratio was severely limited because the various experimental materials used for the implants failed to fuse with the underlying bone. This, of course, significantly compromised the permanence of those early implants. In 1952, a Swedish orthopedic surgeon named Per-Ingvar Brånemark discovered that titanium easily fused with bone, which led him to place the first titanium dental implant in a patient in 1965. Based on that discovery, Brånemark is considered the “father of modern dental implant prosthodontics.”
Because the dental implant process is much more complicated than fitting dentures, it took time for this new technology to gain popularity. Meanwhile, advances in implant technology have helped make the implant process and the end result more efficient and affordable. Today’s implants are considered the standard of care in tooth replacement, and many dentists have received the advanced training needed to perform the implants.
Dental Implants Available in Marco Island, Florida
Marco Island dentist Dr. Jonathan Van Dyke has undergone such advanced training and is pleased to offer dental implants to his southwest Florida-area patients. Dr. Van Dyke firmly believes implants are the best option for replacing lost teeth, restoring oral function, and helping people recover their smiles. They are more comfortable and natural feeling than dentures and provide a permanent solution that enhances overall oral health. Partial dentures and bridges can serve as a shorter-term cosmetic fix for missing arches, but they will not prevent underlying jawbone loss. Bridgework also needs two or more natural teeth to function as denture abutments, exposing them to cavity risk and other oral health concerns.
What Exactly are Dental Implants?
Dental implants rely on a titanium screw—commonly referred to as a “post”—to provide a strong anchor in the jawbone that securely holds a dental crown in place. The post is surgically inserted into the jawbone and serves as a replacement for the missing tooth’s root. Once the bone has securely fused with the post’s titanium, your dentist attaches a lifelike crown to it via an abutment which firmly connects the post and crown with a fixation screw. Once securely fixed in place, an implant and its adjoining crown work just as effectively as the tooth it replaced, and the crown looks no different than a natural tooth.
How Long Does the Implant Process Take?
Dental implant surgery is a multi-stage process that takes time due to the need for bone healing and bone fusing with the titanium post. This healing and fusing dictate much of the timing, but other issues or pre-implant prep work can also influence the process’s duration. This could include the need to remove a damaged tooth (or teeth), jawbone prep work, and/or bone grafting. The timeframe can also be prolonged for those getting multiple implants.
The entire dental implant procedure can generally take from as little as six months to a year or more. Whatever the duration, the process is worth it as dental implants have the greatest success ratio among all implanted surgical devices.
Signs You Might Be a Good Candidate for Dental Implants
There is any number of signs that might indicate that you’re a good candidate for dental implants. Consider first your smile and know that if you hesitate to smile due to missing teeth, you are a prime candidate for implants. Natural-looking dental implants will give you a reason to smile, as they will resolve any related oral health issues those missing teeth may be causing. Other signs that might make you a good candidate include:
- You have broken, chipped, or cracked teeth
- You have difficulty chewing
- You have an infected tooth
- You already have or need a dental bridge
- Your dentures are ineffective or uncomfortable
Consult with a Southwest Florida Dental Implant Expert
If you believe you could benefit from dental implants, Dr. Van Dyke has the training and experience needed to help you make your smile look new. With advanced training under world-renowned implantologist and implant dentistry pioneer Dr. Virgil Mongalo, Dr. Van Dyke is dedicated to closely tracking all advances in the field of dental implant surgery. To learn more about how Dr. Van Dyke can help you restore your smile with dental implants, contact Island Tower Dentistry today at 239-394-1004 to make an appointment!