Dental implant surgery entails placing a titanium or ceramic root-shaped piece inside the jawbone. What happens over a period of the next four months is that the cells actually grow and incorporate that implant to make it part of your body.
Dental implants are the best way to replace missing teeth. Today we have such advancements in dental implants where you can walk in with a full mouth of diseased teeth and leave with a beautiful set of a smile - top and bottom - all done in one day.
Dental implants are replacements of natural teeth and these are typically made of titanium or they can be ceramic. If someone is missing teeth, let's say from an accident or trauma or falling off a bike and they're missing the two front teeth, they would be a great candidate for dental implants. Also, if you lost a tooth due to decay, for example, or you have an existing bridge in your mouth that you really don't like, you're a great candidate for dental implants. The best way to see if you need a dental implant is to visit your dentist, so he can determine if your tooth is salvageable or you need an implant.
Dental implants have been around for over 40 years. We have had a lot of studies done in the last 20 years to know that implants are predictable and they're safe. When we say implants are predictable, we really mean that if we do the surgery, we know they're going to last. There are millions of implants being placed in United States in a year. I myself here in the practice place around 600-800 implants a year. We have studies regarding dental implants that are over 20 years in length and we know the success rate of dental implants is over 95%. Now, if somebody is a smoker or is sick and has certain immune issues, they have a lesser success rate.
The philosophy behind dental implants is that titanium and ceramics actually integrate with a jawbone. What does integration mean? It is actually when the bone cells attach so tightly to that implant surface where there is no gap and we cannot actually retrieve that implant. Titanium dental implants really started with an accidental discovery. Professor Branemark back in the 60s actually used titanium rods in animals and he figured out that these actually fused to the bone. That's the miracle about titanium and ceramic implants - they can actually fuse to the bone, so that means it becomes part of someone's body forever.
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