Why Dental Implant?
The standard of care for replacement of missing teeth
Losing a tooth, particularly a front tooth, can be a traumatic experience. It can alter not just our ability to chew, but also how we feel about ourselves: our confidence, our self-esteem. It can alter our lifestyle and affect us socially and professionally. The question is what can you do about it? What are your options? Dental implants are a proven solution for people in good overall oral and systemic health who have lost one or more teeth due to periodontal disease, trauma or injury, or some other reason.
What is a dental implant?
Dental implants are screw-shaped or cylindrical root-form titanium posts that act as artificial tooth roots. These are carefully placed in the jawbone and allowed to heal. During the healing phase, your bone is growing right up to the implant surface in order to lock it in place.
Shortly thereafter, a crown is made to fit on top of the implants so as to replace a missing tooth or teeth with a “brand-new” tooth. In many cases, you can be functioning on your “new” tooth in as little as one day to 6 weeks!
• Morning time – Saliva flow almost stops during sleep and its reduced cleansing action allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.
• Certain foods – Garlic, onions, etc. Foods containing odor-causing compounds enter the blood stream; they are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled.
• Poor oral hygiene habits – Food particles remaining in the mouth promote bacterial growth.
• Periodontal (gum) disease – Colonies of bacteria and food debris residing under inflamed gums.
• Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances – May also contribute to bad breath.
• Dry mouth (Xerostomia) – May be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing.
• Tobacco products – Dry the mouth, causing bad breath.
• Dieting – Certain chemicals called ketones are released in the breath as the body burns fat.
• Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals – Drinking water and chewing food increases saliva flow and washes bacteria away.
• Certain medical conditions and illnesses – Diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia are several conditions that may contribute to bad breath.
Keeping a record of what you eat may help identify the cause of bad breath. Also, review your current medications, recent surgeries, or illnesses with your dentist.
What can I do to prevent bad breath?
• Practice good oral hygiene – Brush at least twice a day with an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush. Floss daily to remove food debris and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gumline. Brush or use a tongue scraper to clean the tongue and reach the back areas. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. If you wear dentures or removable bridges, clean them thoroughly and place them back in your mouth in the morning.
• See your dentist regularly – Get a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year. If you have or have had periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend more frequent visits.
• Stop smoking/chewing tobacco – Ask your dentist what they recommend to help break the habit.
• Drink water frequently – Water will help keep your mouth moist and wash away bacteria.
• Use mouthwash/rinses – Some over-the-counter products only provide a temporary solution to mask unpleasant mouth odor. Ask your dentist about antiseptic rinses that not only alleviate bad breath, but also kill the germs that cause the problem.
In most cases, your dentist can treat the cause of bad breath. If it is determined that your mouth is healthy, but bad breath is persistent, your dentist may refer you to your physician to determine the cause of the odor and an appropriate treatment plan.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
They look and feel just like your own teeth. Dental implants restore your confidence to talk, laugh, and chew with comfort and without worries.
Implants preserve the integrity of facial structures. Implants prevent the hard and soft tissue collapse that can occur under conventional bridges and removable partial or complete dentures. In patients who have lost all of their teeth, the lower one-third of the face is prone to collapse if implants are not placed to preserve the bone and the facial profile. Implants form a strong bond to the surrounding bone to provide support and anchorage for biting and chewing as well as stimulation for the bone to hold it in place.
Implant-supported crowns and bridges do not require neighboring teeth for support. When teeth are replaced using traditional tooth-supported bridges, the teeth on either side of the missing tooth are ground down so that the bridge can be cemented onto them. This tooth structure can never be replaced. Removable partial dentures use clasps and rests which have to be carved onto adjacent teeth. As the partial rocks back and forth, it can loosen the teeth it depends on for anchorage, causing them to be lost.
Implants replace the entire tooth and the missing root so it is a free-standing restoration. This leaves more of your natural teeth untouched and free of restoration which saves your natural teeth. You’ll have better health and nutrition because you can eat what you want. Patients with dentures often find themselves unable to eat certain foods, such as fruits and vegetables, which can compromise their nutrition. With dental implants, it is much easier to bite into and chew your favorite foods.
Implants allow for ease of cleansing. An implant supported crown can be cleaned like your other natural teeth, i.e. brushing and flossing. Cleaning under a bridge, however, requires the use of floss threaders for proper cleaning, while a partial must be taken out several times a day and scrubbed clean.
Enjoy your food. Patients who wear an upper denture often have trouble really tasting food because the roof of the mouth is covered. With implant supported replacement teeth, it is not necessary to cover the roof of the mouth, so it is possible to enjoy the taste of all your favorite foods.
What if i have already lost all of my teeth?
If you are a denture wearer and are having problems keeping your dentures in place or you cannot enjoy some of your favorite foods, implants can still make a big difference for you. Depending on your individual case, anywhere from 2 to 8 implants can be placed in each jaw to anchor your dentures in place. No more wobbling or clicking; no more messy pastes and glues. You will be free to enjoy all of your favorite foods with confidence and comfort.
How long do implants last?
Published clinical research shows that implant supported restorations have been successful for over 40 years (since 1965) with success rates now reaching over 95%. These cases were carefully followed from the very beginning and are likely to remain successful for the lifetime of these patients.
Dental implants are designed to be permanent but there are many factors that contribute to their longevity. Home care and regular visits to the dentist or specialist are probably the most critical aspects. However, smoking, grinding of the teeth, or too much pressure on the implants can alter their success.
By comparison, research shows that the typical tooth supported bridge lasts from 7-10 years and that partials and dentures last an average of only 5 years. In fact, insurance companies expect that bridges, partials, and dentures will last 5 years and will therefore pay for replacements every 5 years.
In what situation then, if any, would a dentist recommend a tooth supported bridge?
Until recently, most dentists considered conventional bridges the treatment of choice for replacing missing or lost teeth. However, over the past decade there have been tremendous advancements in dental implant systems allowing more options for dentists.
Sometimes if the adjacent teeth have large restorations (fillings) that must be replaced or if the teeth are severely broken down, a tooth supported bridge may be the best option because those teeth could benefit from the protection of crowns attached to traditional bridges.
Most dentists, however, detest the idea of grinding down perfect teeth in order to place a traditional bridge and will therefore recommend dental implants in these cases.
Where do i start?
You can begin by making an appointment with us or any one of the doctors or your general dentist for a consultation. Dental implants feel so natural and look so good, you just may forget you ever lost a tooth.
What are porcelain veneers and how can they improve my smile?
Porcelain veneers are very thin shells of tooth-shaped porcelain that are individually crafted to cover the fronts of teeth. They are very durable and will not stain, making them a very popular solution for those seeking to restore or enhance the beauty of their smile.
Veneers may be used to restore or correct the following dental conditions:
• Severely discolored or stained teeth
• Unwanted or uneven spaces
• Worn or chipped teeth
• Slight tooth crowding
• Misshapen teeth
• Teeth that are too small or large
Getting veneers usually requires two visits. Veneers are created from an impression (mold) of your teeth that is then sent to a professional dental laboratory where each veneer is custom-made (for shape and color) for your individual smile.
With little or no anesthesia, teeth are prepared by lightly buffing and shaping the front surface of the teeth to allow for the small thickness of veneers. The veneers are carefully fitted and bonded onto the tooth surface with special bonding cements and occasionally a specialized light may be used to harden and set the bond.
Veneers are an excellent dental treatment that can dramatically improve your teeth and give you a natural, beautiful smile.
What can i do about stained or discolored teeth?
Since teeth whitening has now become the number one aesthetic concern of many patients, there are many products and methods available to achieve a brighter smile.
Professional teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel, and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Over-the-counter products are also available, but they are much less effective than professional treatments and may not be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
As we age, the outer layer of tooth enamel wears away, eventually revealing a darker or yellow shade. The color of our teeth also comes from the inside of the tooth, which may become darker over time. Smoking, drinking coffee, tea, and wine may also contribute to tooth discoloration, making our teeth yellow and dull. Sometimes, teeth can become discolored from taking certain medications as a child, such as tetracycline. Excessive fluoridation (fluorosis) during tooth development can also cause teeth to become discolored.
It’s important to have your teeth evaluated by your dentist to determine if you’re a good candidate for bleaching. Occasionally, tetracycline and fluorosis stains are difficult to bleach and your dentist may offer other options, such as veneers or crowns to cover up such stains. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is also important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. before bleaching begins. Once the bleaching is done, your dentist can match the new restorations to the shade of the newly whitened teeth.
Since teeth whitening is not permanent, a touch-up may be needed every several years to keep your smile looking bright.
The most widely used professional teeth whitening systems:
Home teeth whitening systems: At-home products usually come in a gel form that is placed in a custom-fitted mouthguard (tray), created from a mold of your teeth. The trays are worn either twice a day for approximately 30 minutes, or overnight while you sleep. It usually takes several weeks to achieve the desired results depending on the degree of staining and the desired level of whitening.
In office teeth whitening: This treatment is done in the dental office and you will see results immediately. It may require more than one visit, with each visit lasting 30 to 60 minutes. While your gums are protected, a bleaching solution is applied to the teeth. A special light may be used to enhance the action of the agent while the teeth are whitened.
Some patients may experience tooth sensitivity after having their teeth whitened. This sensation is temporary and subsides shortly after you complete the bleaching process, usually within a few days to one week.
Teeth whitening can be very effective and can give you a brighter, whiter, more confident smile!
Schedule a Your Dental Appointment
What our patients say
It is my pleasure to commend Dr. Liu and his staff for the excellent dental treatment!Amy
The result of my dental treatment with Dr. Liu was beyond my expectations!Marie
A pleasant experience each time I visit because of such caring and helpful team.Gary