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Posts for tag: dental implant

By Redwood Dental Health Center
December 11, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures
ReplacingMissingBackTeethIsImportant-JustAskChristieBrinkley

Supermodel Christie Brinkley has a one-in-a-million smile, but she is just one of millions who have benefited from today's preferred tooth-replacement technique: the dental implant. In a wide-ranging interview, Brinkley told Dear Doctor magazine about a helicopter accident she suffered while back-country skiing.

“I fractured two molars in the back of my mouth and I had to get two dental implants,” Brinkley told the magazine. “I am grateful for the dental implant technology that feels and looks so natural.”

You might think it serves little purpose to replace a missing back tooth that was barely visible in your smile to begin with — especially if you don't spend a lot of time posing for magazine covers. But this is actually not the case. Your molars are extremely important for chewing and even for maintaining a more youthful appearance.

Dentists generally agree that losing posterior (back) teeth can have many consequences for the remaining teeth and their surrounding structures, i.e., bone and gums. If back teeth are missing, the front teeth end up bearing more stress than they were built for. And there are certain things that happen when any tooth is lost, whether front or back, that can affect function and appearance.

For one thing, when a tooth is lost the adjacent teeth tend to drift into the empty space or tip towards it. This can adversely affect your bite. Too much shifting can render a tooth basically useless and also leave it more vulnerable to gum disease.

Another complication is the loss of tooth-supporting bone that inevitably occurs when teeth are lost. When a tooth comes out, the bone under it actually begins to melt away. Since back teeth support the vertical dimension of the face, their loss can cause what's known as “bite collapse” — a reduction in facial height that becomes increasingly noticeable over time and can make you look older.

A dental implant can prevent all of these things, while providing you with a replacement that looks and feels just like the tooth you lost.

If you are interested in learning more about implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. If you would like to read Dear Doctor's entire interview with Christie Brinkley, please see “The Secret Behind Christie Brinkley's Supermodel Smile.” Dear Doctor magazine also has more on “Replacing Back Teeth.”

By Redwood Dental Health Center
October 09, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures

Lost teeth can cause a host of problems, including a loss of your jaw bone and a collapsing appearance of your face, along with difficulty chewing and speaking.

Clearly, it is important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible. Options for replacement include the more traditional methods and the newest technique — dental implants. We believe that implants are your best choice for the following reasons.

  1. Implants prevent bone loss.

    Dental implants are substitute tooth roots. Like the roots of your original teeth, they stabilize the bone into which they extend — but in a different way.

    The part of the bone that encases the teeth is called alveolar bone, from the word root meaning “sac.” This bone has a special relationship with the teeth it surrounds. It develops as they first erupt into the mouth. If they are lost, the alveolar bone goes, too. It resorbs, or melts away, giving an impression that the bone, gums, and sometimes the lips are collapsing.

    Implants are made of titanium, which has the ability to join biochemically to bone. It takes the place of the original tooth root and prevents resorption.

  2. Implants support adjacent teeth.

    Your teeth work in harmony, an all for one, one for all relationship with each other. If one is missing, the remaining teeth will slowly move and shift causing them to receive forces that may not be well received. Losing any tooth increases the pressure on the remaining teeth. Losing a back (posterior) tooth can put pressure on the front teeth and they can be forced out of position. All these movements can change a person's appearance as well as in their ability to speak, bite and chew.

  3. They are easier to clean than “traditional” options.

    Fixed bridges are non-removable tooth replacements that attach to adjacent natural teeth. These teeth that are adjacent to the missing tooth have to be cut into small peg shapes on which the bridge is attached. The removal of their enamel may make them more prone to tooth decay and gum disease.

    Older replacement methods include removable options such as plastic “flippers” and partial dentures. These replacements rest on the teeth and gums, making the teeth they attach to receive greater pressure causing more mobility. In addition, they exert pressure on the gums, causing additional bone loss and increasing the potential for bone loss on the neighboring teeth.

    Full dentures, in cases where all teeth are missing, are kept in place by pressing on the gum tissues. This causes even more pressure on the bone, leading to bone loss and changing facial structures.

  4. They are longer lasting.

    Studies have shown that removable partial dentures are replaced about every five years; bridges are only 67% successful at 15 years; and implants are over 95% successful for 20 or more years.

  5. They are cost effective in the long term.

    Because implants last longer than other alternative tooth replacements, they may seem more expensive at first; but they will be cost effective over the long term.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about dental implants. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implants. Evaluating Your Options.”

By Redwood Dental Health Center
September 25, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures

How much do you know about dental implants? Test yourself with this quiz.

  1. Earliest recorded attempts at using dental implants were from
    1. Medieval England
    2. The ancient Mayans
    3. U.S.A. in the 1950s
  2. Dental implants are called endosseous. What does this mean?
    1. They fuse with the bone
    2. They are inside the mouth
    3. They are not real teeth
  3. What are most dental implants made of?
    1. Aluminum
    2. Titanium
    3. Steel
  4. What part of the tooth does an implant replace?
    1. The implant is the root replacement
    2. The implant is the root plus the crown
    3. The implant is the crown
  5. What is the success rate of dental implants?
    1. 50 percent or less
    2. 75 percent
    3. 95 percent or more
  6. What could cause an implant to fail?
    1. Smoking or drug use
    2. Poor bone quality and quantity at the implant site
    3. Both of the above
  7. What is a tooth's emergence profile?
    1. The implant and crown's shape as it emerges from beneath the gum line
    2. A measure of the urgency of the tooth replacement
    3. A measure of the time it takes for you to be able to chew on the new implant
  8. What are some of the factors that go into the aesthetics of designing the crown?
    1. Choice of materials
    2. Color matching
    3. Both of the above
Answers:
  1. b. The concept of dental implants goes back to the Mayan civilization in 600 AD.
  2. a. The word endosseous (from endo meaning within and osseo meaning bone) refers to the implant's ability to fuse with or integrate with the bone in which it is placed.
  3. b. Most implants are made of a titanium alloy, a metallic substance that is not rejected by the body and is able to fuse with the bone.
  4. a. The term “implant” refers to the root replacement, which is anchored in the gum and bone. A crown is put around the implant where it emerges from the gumline.
  5. c. The majority of studies have shown long term success rates of over 95 percent.
  6. c. Factors that could cause an implant to fail include general health concerns such as smoking and drug use, osteoporosis, or a compromised immune system; poor bone quality or quantity; and poor maintenance such as lack of proper brushing and flossing.
  7. a. The emergence profile has a lot to do with the implant's natural appearance. It involves the way the crown, which attaches to the implant, seemingly emerges through the gum tissue like a natural tooth.
  8. c. Choices such as materials, color, and position can be worked out in the design of a customized temporary crown, which acts as a template or blueprint for a final crown.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about dental implants. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Matching Teeth & Implants.”