To one extent or another, most of us fear the unknown. This holds especially true when it comes to visiting the dentist. No matter how nice he or she is, going to the dentist is not high on the list of our favorite things to do. Having regular dental check-ups is vital, not only to our oral health, but to our overall well being, as well.
Dental professionals are your partner in helping to create a better “you”, in terms of wellness, self-esteem and appearance. By working together, the dentist and patient can create a game plan that will change the patient’s’ life in truly significant ways. Yet no matter how dedicated and determined we are, sometimes being the best patient possible is easier said than done. This is particularly true when our dental professional tells us that we may need to consider having a treatment or procedure that is very different from the routine check-up and polishing that we are used to. This is where our all too human fear of the unknown comes into play. You are just finishing up an appointment for a cleaning and check-up. You are ready to head out the door, when your dentist asks if he can speak with you for a moment. When you hear the words, ” Dental Implant surgery”, your mind is flooded with questions. You start to sweat and worry. Yes, you have been concerned about those missing teeth for quite some time, but is it really necessary to have surgery?
Very patiently, the dentist answers all of your questions. The more that you learn about dental Implants, the more at ease you become. Anxiety fades and a welcome sense of serenity pervades the room. Information and knowledge is power, and all of a sudden you realize that you are in control of the situation. The great mysterious unknown does not look to be quite so daunting, after all.
At dental.net, we are always on the lookout to provide you with the latest information on changes and innovations in the ever-changing field of dentistry. Your questions are our concerns. As part of our mission to provide you, the consumer and patient, with practical and useful information, we will reach out to dental professionals who have recognized experience and expertise in their specialty. These extremely skilled men and women are dentists who make a difference.
Dr. Aris from New York strongly believes that one’s medical education is a continuously evolving process. As we spoke, the doctor could not emphasize enough just how much dental implants have changed the face of cosmetic dentistry over the last twenty years. Sitting back in his very comfortable looking leather swivel chair he told me that, ” Today, dental implants have become a common surgical procedure with predictable and reliable long-term results. The advantages of implants are that you can avoid most gum problems, recurrent tooth decay and many of the other issues usually associated with traditional bridgework. Implants also help to preserve the natural tooth structure”.
Continuing on, he explained that, before the development of dental Implants, removable dentures were the only real option to replace a missing tooth or teeth. He feels that the convenience factor alone is off the charts when it comes to having implants put in. The patient does not have to take the implants out at night and place them inside a glass of water, as you do with conventional dentures or bridgework. Another benefit of implants is their longevity. If they are properly placed and there are no unforeseen complications, dental implants can last upwards of thirty or forty years.
I was surprised to learn that dental Implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device. Dr. Rotsos said that, “The implants that professionals like myself use are made out of bio-compatible materials such as titanium. The implant itself is very strong, but is also quite light in weight. Bio-compatible basically means that the implant device cannot be rejected by the body.” However, the Doctor did caution this writer that there are exceptions to the rule. He said that, rejection of dental implants due to a person’s allergy to Titanium, is extremely rare, but it has happened. So it is vital that before any surgical procedure is performed, that they know the patient’s medical history. “The safety of our patients is paramount”. concluded Dr. Rotsos.
Implants are synthetic structures that are placed in the lower area of the tooth, inside a space that is normally occupied by the root. In effect, an implant is the replacement for the root of the tooth. Implants are anchored to the jawbone and act as a foundation for the new “tooth” that will be put in after the implant heals. The artificial teeth are called tooth replacement restorations. They are so well designed that these crowns mimic the look and feel of natural teeth. The doctor explained that the implants help to maintain the shape of your jawbone, along with its density. Your facial skeleton also reaps the benefits of this procedure, as do your soft tissue structures, including the gums, lips and cheeks. “Implants can give you back your smile. We get tremendous satisfaction from making our patients happy”, beamed Dr. Aris. He said, the advantages of this surgery have far-reaching implications. No matter how well-made removable dentures are, they can be loose-fitting, making it harder to chew your food and your speech can also be affected. Again, dental implants are more or less a permanent solution for missing teeth.
Candidates for Implants should have gums that are reasonably healthy as well as enough bone to hold the implant, Dr. Aris develops an individual treatment plan that is best suited to the patient’s needs and medical history, as well as their budget. One size does not fit all at NY Dental. Dental Implants can be a bit on the expensive side, but the feeling that a patient gets, the self-confidence and freedom from dentures, is priceless. Expense is relative and if you can receive the benefits of a permanent implant, then why choose an option that can only last for a few years?
There are two distinct chapters to the dental implant process and achieving your new “look”. First, the implants are placed into the Jaw. After the initial surgery, Dr. Rotsos recommends that the patient stick to a diet of soft foods like mashed potatoes, warm (not hot) soup and other options that do not involve a lot of chewing. The patient has to allow the implants enough time to heal and become integrated into the jawbone. The time factor varies with different patients. He called this healing process “osseointegration”, in technical terms. He also said that patients want things to heal fast, but the implant healing process has to happen organically.
After the implants have taken hold, the next phase is to put in the crowns or tooth restorations. There have been cases where both the implant and crown were placed into the mouth on the same day, but this is far from commonplace. The healing timeline can take weeks or even months.
Dr. Rotsos confided to me that one of the most commonly asked patient questions is “How much time will I have to spend in the dental chair for an implant procedure?” Dr. Rotsos informs his patients that on average, dental implant placement should not take more than an hour, depending on the number of implants they are dealing with and their location.
Another frequently asked question during a consultation is, “Doctor, will I feel any pain during the surgery?”
Dr. Aris replied, that usually, the patient feels little or no pain and discomfort. He went on to say that, dental implant surgery is performed using a local anesthesia. Once the anesthesia takes effect, the patient is numb. It is basically as uneventful as getting a filling. When the anesthesia wears off, you may experience some minor discomfort, as is the case with most dental procedures. Your dentist may recommend something over the counter or prescribe medication to help you deal with the discomfort. There are no open wounds with implant surgery, so that should not be a problem.
In many ways, implant dentistry is an Artisan procedure. You can be the best surgeon in the world, but for the finished product to come out just right, it helps if the dentist has a lot of experience as well as an artistic touch. One does not have to be Michelangelo or Da Vinci but your dentist should have a “feel’ for doing precise and creative work. You could say that the new crown is the “sculpture or artwork”. The crown is specially made to fit in right beside your existing teeth. And each crown is identical to the size, shape and color of your natural teeth. Implants can be placed in either the upper or lower jaw. After you have received your new teeth, you simply need to continue practicing good oral hygiene.
The big day has finally arrived. It is go time. This is your final visit (except for a follow-up) and you cannot wait to see the new you. Your dentist hands you a mirror, and when you take a peek, you just cannot stop smiling. The grin is ear to ear. Get ready to have both friends and family compliment you on your new smile. As you leave your dentist’s office, brimming with good feelings and self-confidence, you will look back on that initial consultation and wonder what you were so worried about.
Dental Implants are not magic. But with the services of a talented and dedicated dentist and his or her team, implants will improve your health and give you a regal smile.