Health Info & Resources for Seniors
With the advent of body joint replacement, it becomes only natural that dental implants are the obvious answer when it comes to teeth which are no longer able to function as they should. Dental implants are becoming the “go to” solution for many people because of their effectiveness, ease of placement and affordability.
In fact, over 3 million people have implants and that number is growing by more than 500,000 a year with a success rate of over 90 percent after five years, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.
Dental implants are literally plugs which are inserted into the jaw and act just like a real tooth root when they integrate with the body. They can immediately replace a tooth or be located where there is currently no tooth. The procedure is
painless and is usually done under local anesthesia.
Once placed, they need to sit quietly to integrate with the body. This integration time varies, but most are strong enough to support a crown within 3 to 4 months. Some people are even able to have function on the implant the day of placement based on guidelines your doctor can discuss with you. During the healing phase, patients can wear a temporary mouthpiece which provide replacement teeth for those missing. After the integration is complete, patients
have impressions taken, and the abutment and crown are fabricated for delivery at the final patient visit.
The benefits of implants are that they are not removable like dentures and partials. They also can’t come loose and get food trapped under them. Plus, they don’t feel like you have a mouthful of hardware that can affect speech and chewing. Although most people can have implants placed, there are some contraindications to them which your doctor can review with you. Serious medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, and other autoimmune problems could potentially affect the integration of implants. Smokers are also at an 8 times greater risk of implant failure than nonsmokers.
Your oral health is a big part of the success of implants, and although implants can’t get decay and are very resistant to breakdown, sound basic home care and regular dental checkups will keep them in tip top health. Dr. Dave Burt has been practicing dentistry for more than 38 years in the Lehigh Valley and owns Mountainville Dental in Allentown. His website is dentalsleepmedicinelv.com.