A dental implant is nothing more than a metal screw that is placed into the jawbone. It acts as an anchor for a false tooth or a set of false teeth. The slide, below to the right, shows the replacement of a lateral incisor with a dental implant retained restoration.
Anyone in reasonable health or anyone who wants to replace missing teeth can get an implant. You must have enough bone in the area of the missing teeth to provide for the anchorage of the implants. Some people are missing all their teeth and most of those are excellent candidates for dental implants, but today, we use implants to replace small bridges, removable partial dentures and even missing single teeth.
The success rate depends very much on where the implants are placed and what they will be called upon to do. The best case scenario is the placement of implants in the front portion of the lower jaw. Here success can be as high as 98-100%. In other areas of the mouth, success rates can drop significantly. According to figures that we have today, the success of implants in the front part of the upper jaw is anywhere from 90-95%. Success rates of implants in the back part of the upper and lower jaw can be in the 85-95% range. The success rate in my practice for the past five years has been 99+% for all implants placed.
There are really not too many things that can go wrong with dental implants. They can fail to integrate into the bone and come out. They can fracture or break. There can be problems with the connection between the implant and the prostheses. There can be an infection or an inflammatory condition in the soft tissue and sometimes in the bone as a result of the implant placement. There can be damage to the nerves in the lower jaw and there can be damage to the maxillary sinus or the nasal cavity. All of these complications are rare and usually account for less than 5% of all dental implant treatments. These complications can usually be easily corrected.
The question is, who should you see about getting missing teeth replaced? Before implants, you went to either your general dentist or, if you wanted a specialist, to an Oral Surgeon. Itís the same today. If you want to replace missing teeth, talk to Dr. Zajacz and he will be glad to discuss the use of dental implants in that process. If you decide that dental implants are for you, then your Dr. Zajacz can arrange for you to meet with an oral surgeon, for that phase of the treatment.
The actual procedure to surgically place a dental implant is done under local anesthesia and is generally not at all painful. When the anesthesia wears off about three or four hours later, you might expect some discomfort. The level of discomfort is quite different from patient to patient, but most patients do not have significant problems.
Some patients do have varying degrees of pain or discomfort, which may last for several days. Swelling and bruising may also develop.
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