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Is the dental implant prone to cavities and gum disease?

oral surgery ChicagoMany patients who seek dental implants as replacements for missing teeth initially lost those teeth due to advanced decay or gum disease, and they want reassurances that the new appliances, including dental implants, will not suffer a similar fate.

During the initial meeting with the oral maxillofacial surgeon, prospective dental implant candidates may ask about the devices’ susceptibility to cavities or periodontal disease. The answer is not quite as straightforward as a patient may hope, though.

The implant itself, which is made of titanium, is not directly affected by the oral bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. Furthermore, the bacteria have no impact on the materials used for the prosthetics, either.

However, that strict definition doesn’t really capture the entire answer to the question. Dental implant patients do not have a free pass from the effects of oral diseases after they’ve received dental implants.

After the oral surgery in which the dental implants are inserted into the jaw, the bone forms a bond with the implant’s surface. Therefore, the patient must have stability in the surrounding bone to ensure the implant’s long-term success.

Periodontal disease or tooth decay that progresses to the point of causing bone loss can threaten the longevity of the dental implants, then. If the bone in the vicinity is weakened by gum disease, the implant may fail and need to be replaced.

Furthermore, no oral surgery, including dental implant placement, can be completed while uncontrolled gum disease is present. This is another way in which gum disease may impact dental implants, albeit a more short-term concern.

Dental implants can last for decades when patients take good care of them, and the implant itself will not be affected by oral bacteria. However, oral diseases can compromise the implant’s stability in a more indirect fashion, so you should be certain to work with your oral surgeon to develop a complete oral hygiene plan to reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease.

For more information about dental implants, contact the ORA office of Steven Koos DDS, MD at 312-328-9000 today.

Improve Your Quality of Life with Dental Implants

dental implants ChicagoMany patients worry that their quality of life will suffer following tooth loss, and rightfully so. If you receive an uncomfortable, ill-fitting appliance to replace your missing teeth, then you may not look and feel like your best self.

Therefore, it’s important to weigh a number of different factors when choosing a tooth replacement treatment. Your various options, including dental implants, conventional dentures or bridges, all have certain characteristics that can affect your comfort and the smile’s function.

Dental implants tend to give patients an improved quality of life in many ways. First of all, they look and feel like natural teeth. The materials used to create the prosthetic crowns, bridges or dentures are quite lifelike. Also, because the implants provide a physical link between the replacement teeth and the jaw, dental implants feel more like a patient’s biological teeth, as well.

Because dental implants are inserted into the jaw by an oral surgeon, they become a fixed part of the mouth’s structure through osseointegration. That process unfolds as the surrounding jawbone forms a bond with the implant’s titanium surface.

The bond between bone and implant offers greater stability to the jaw, which keeps the jaw’s contour consistent over time. With dental implants, the replacement bridge or denture should retain its fit for many, many years.

The structural nature of dental implants improves a patient’s ability to chew, which also benefits the patient’s quality of life. With dental implants, a patient is able to continue to enjoy a wide variety of foods, including healthy choices like fresh fruits and vegetables.

Dental implants also give patients peace of mind. Because the prosthetic arch is secured to the jaw, patients won’t experience an embarrassing denture “slip-up” at a most inopportune time.

Patients who are concerned with their quality of life after tooth loss should explore dental implants as a treatment option. Schedule a consultation with the dental implant experts at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio to learn more about tooth implants and whether they are suitable in your case.

Tooth Loss Due to Injury: What is the best tooth replacement option?

replacement tooth ChicagoPatients who lose a tooth due to a facial injury will want a long-term replacement tooth that will stand the test of time.

When faced with such circumstances, an increasing number of patients are turning to dental implants.

In comparison with other options to replace a damaged tooth, like a partial denture or fixed dental bridge, a dental implant is more durable because it offers a structurally complete replacement tooth including a root-like structure and the missing crown.

Dental implants are made of titanium, and in the months after the oral surgeon places the implant in the jaw, the bone will grow around the implant and form a bond with it. This process—osseointegration—makes the implant a permanent fixture in the mouth.

Because dental implants act as artificial tooth roots, they perform the same essential functions that a root would. In fact, the tooth’s root is quite important, although we tend to take it for granted. Not only does the root support the crown, it also stabilizes the jawbone.

When a tooth’s root is absent, the jaw slowly wears away. That is why bridges and particularly dentures sometimes fail. The jaw’s shape changes as resorption occurs, and the original appliance loses its fit over time. Ultimately, a bridge or denture may need to be replaced.

Dental implants also offer more effective chewing motion. Because of the link between the implant and the jaw, dental implants can tolerate chewing forces that equal those applied by natural teeth. As a result, patients who opt for dental implants often find that they can keep their favorite foods in their diets.

Patients have many choices when deciding on treatment for a replacement tooth. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of all of your options. Be sure to talk to your oral surgeon about dental implants if you’ve suffered tooth loss due to an injury.

To learn more, contact the Chicago dental implant office of Steven Koos DDS, MD at 312-328-9000 and schedule your professional consultation today.

Do I have to get a new denture with my dental implants?

dentures ChicagoIn their quest for a more stable solution to tooth loss, many patients who wear dentures express interest in upgrading to dental implants. They may be reluctant, though, to give up the perfectly functional appliance that they already have.

Dentures that are supported by dental implants have a slightly different design than conventional dentures that typically rely on adhesive to keep them in place.

Most notably, implant-supported dentures must have precision attachments within the denture itself that can slide over and lock onto the dental implant abutments.

Not every denture can be readily adapted for dental implants, though. In many cases, a new appliance may need to be fabricated, especially if fit of the original denture has changed significantly over time.  Also, the implant dentures usually are reinforced with wire mesh internally for added strength and durability.

Each patient should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to see if the current denture can be used with dental implants or if it must be replaced.

If you do need to get a new denture, rest assured that patients have ample opportunity to provide input into the design and aesthetics of the appliance. Patients who were pleased with their original denture can choose design features intended to closely replicate it. Those who thought there was room for improvement in the appearance of the first appliance can take this opportunity to get an aesthetically enhanced prosthetic.

Keep in mind that even if you do need a denture, it is unlikely to lead to a significant delay in the dental implant placement process.

Patients who already wear dentures, on rare occasions may be able to keep those dentures and have them adapted to fit dental implants.  Each patient’s case should be evaluated by an oral surgeon to determine the best course of action for the desired long-term outcomes. Denture wearers who want to pursue dental implants are encouraged to schedule a consultation with our skilled team of oral surgeons at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio.

Will I need to have an implant placed with each missing tooth?

Technological advances in implant dentistry continue to benefit patients in a number of ways. For example, dental implant manufacturers are working to create devices that facilitate a faster process of osseointegration that results in a stronger bond between bone and implant surface.

One notable development in implant dentistry is the All-on-4 treatment technique, which allows an edentulous (toothless) patient to completely restore his or her smile with just four dental implants. 

One notable development in implant dentistry is the All-on-4 treatment technique, which allows an edentulous (toothless) patient to completely restore his or her smile with just four dental implants.

If you are concerned that replacing a number of missing teeth with dental implants requires an implant to be placed at each socket, that may not be the case at all. Because the All-on-4 implants are designed specifically to support the entire weight of a prosthetic arch, the oral surgeon can place the four implants toward the front of the jaw.

This approach offers an added benefit to patients who have already experienced extensive bone loss as a consequence of tooth loss, like people who have worn dentures for several years. The bone remains thickest at the front of the jaw, so the vast majority of dental implant patients qualify for All-on-4.

Nonetheless, each patient’s case is unique, and the oral surgeon should thoroughly evaluate your mouth structure to determine whether you can get by with a small number of dental implants. For some patients, the oral surgeon may recommend individual dental implants to replace the teeth at the rear of the jaw, as they are subjected to stronger chewing forces.

A consultation or evaluation is the initial step for every patient who pursues dental implant placement. This appointment gives you the opportunity to discuss the best treatment approach with your oral surgeon and why that approach is indicated in your case.

Talk to your oral surgeon in advance of dental implant placement to determine how many dental implants you will need to restore your smile. You can learn more by contacting the Chicago ORA office of Steven Koos DDS, MD at 312-328-9000.

Which Teeth Can Be Replaced By Dental Implants?

replacement tooth ChicagoVirtually any missing natural tooth can be well served by an artificial replacement tooth. With the longstanding popularity of modern dental implants, it seems that there are no boundaries to the possibilities of tooth replacement.

An adult who has lost a natural tooth, whether due to periodontal disease, an accident, or a cavity should at least make plans to consult an oral surgeon in order to fully understand the advantages of a dental implant.

There are few limitations regarding the use of dental implants, and these artificial teeth can be placed in healthy jaw bone, either in the front of the mouth or the rear. For a front tooth, your oral surgeon may select an implant post that is slim in diameter, or a wider post for a rear tooth. To achieve the most realistic and attractive result, the crown that is placed atop the dental implant will be selected to mimic the characteristics of the neighboring teeth.

If you are missing a natural tooth, or if you are in danger of losing your real tooth, your oral surgeon will need to confirm that you are a suitable candidate for this type of replacement tooth. You should be of stable health and free from any uncontrolled chronic health conditions. The bone where the implant is to be placed should be wide enough and deep enough for the proposed implant post. For patients who have insufficient bone or gum tissue, additional surgical procedures may be recommended to make the tooth replacement possible.

Finally, a candidate for the dental implant procedure should have a fully matured jaw bone. The dental implant procedure is not typically recommended for children who have not yet completed the normal growth process.

Your oral surgeon is interested in replacing your missing teeth with an artificial tooth that is sturdy, comfortable, and also natural-looking. If you are in need of a replacement tooth, make an appointment by contacting the ORA office of Dr. Steven Koos to find out which implant option is right for you.

Will a Sinus Lift Affect My Breathing?

A sinus lift is an important oral surgery procedure which may be performed in conjunction with the placement of a dental implant. Depending upon your own unique anatomy, the roots of the upper molars might be located close to or inside of the maxillary sinuses, creating a hole when the tooth is removed. If a dental implant must be used to replace a natural upper molar, it is very possible that the dental implant post may also extend into the hollow sinus area. 

…a dental implant cannot heal successfully if it is not completely surrounded by healthy bone, and often the thin bone of the sinus cavity cannot support an artificial tooth.

Unfortunately, a dental implant cannot heal successfully if it is not completely surrounded by healthy bone, and often the thin bone of the sinus cavity cannot support an artificial tooth. To counteract this problem, and to successfully use a dental implant to replace an upper molar, it may be necessary to lift or augment the lower portion of the sinus. This procedure is known as a sinus lift, and without it, replacing your missing tooth may not be possible.

But, what are the consequences of the sinus lift procedure? The surgery is designed to lift and thicken the bone that lines the sinus cavity, but will the procedure affect your ability to breathe?

While some sinus lift patients may temporarily experience a stuffy nose after oral surgery, most report no change at all, and some have even reported an improvement in their breathing capacity. During the healing period following the surgery, your oral surgeon may prescribe nasal decongestants and antibiotics for a short period of time. You should not expect the condition of your sinuses or your ability to breathe to become worse after your surgery.

A sinus lift will not affect your voice, your allergies, or your breathing. However, by making it possible to replace your upper molars, you will regain the strong and healthy smile that you may have thought you’d lost forever.

Contact ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio at 312-328-9000 today for a complete examination.

Dental Implants: Say goodbye to denture adhesive

dentures ChicagoIn theory, dentures aren’t a bad choice when you have lost all of your real teeth and are in need of a replacement, and you can not afford a better alternative. Today’s dentures are made from high-quality realistic looking materials and they can replace a number of teeth with just one appliance. In reality, however, conventional dentures have numerous shortcomings.  They are rarely able to stand up to the long-term demands of daily life, and their fit and performance can dwindle until they become more of an annoyance than an asset.

Denture glues and paste can provide only minimal relief for a set of teeth that just won’t stay in place throughout the day. That’s why such a large number of adults are turning towards dental implants for a more durable and dependable solution to their missing teeth.

With dental implants, you can truly say farewell to denture adhesives. Whereas a conventional denture reline may free you from denture glue for a few weeks or even months, dental implants will never require additional adhesives, and you’ll be able to put your trust in your teeth for a very long time.

Traditionally, it has been acceptable to use one implant as a substitute for one natural tooth. This is still the gold standard when it comes to tooth replacement. Fortunately, a small set of dental implants can also be useful for replacing all of the teeth—just like a denture. Think of it as the modern generation for dentures. Secured by four dental implants, an entire row of teeth can be surgically secured to the jaw bone for total tooth replacement that is also stable.  This is known as an implant retained denture – it literally “snaps” on, but is still removable.

Even more sophisticated procedure are available now, namely the All-on-4 dental implant technique, and it represents the perfect combination of immediately attached long-spanning dental bridges and dental implants. Full coverage and long-term stability are the cornerstones of a fantastic smile, and denture adhesives can become old news.

If you are no longer willing to settle for teeth that must be glued into place each day, contact ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio at 312-328-9000 in Chicago, Illinois and arrange a consultation to learn more about dental implants today.

Is My Child a Candidate for Dental Implants?

Losing teeth is a milestone of childhood. It’s all about the Tooth Fairy and the adorable gap-toothed smile, but there are times when missing teeth just aren’t part of the plan. For a child, there is always the expectation that a lost tooth will be replaced by an adult tooth, not by dental implants.

Millions of children are born with congenitally missing teeth and there is no chance that the permanent tooth will grow into position. Each year, there are also numerous unfortunate accidents in which a child’s permanent tooth is knocked out as the result of a traumatic injury or lost due to extensive tooth decay.

It is imperative that missing teeth be replaced with some temporary, space-holding appliance, especially for a child. Failing to do so could lead to speech impediments and jaw bone defects. Long-term tooth loss can also contribute to a poorly aligned bite and other orthodontic issues. Just as importantly, a missing tooth can impact a child’s social development and self-confidence. 

…proper permanent alignment increases dramatically when the dental implants are placed in bone that is fully mature. 

Ideally, dental implants are the choice alternative when natural teeth need to be replaced. They are generally the strongest choice, the longest lasting, and the most esthetically pleasing solution to missing teeth. Plus, they can be used to flawlessly replace a front tooth or they can add strength for the replacement of a missing rear tooth.

Implants that are placed in healthy bone can be expected to last for decades or even a lifetime. However, proper permanent alignment increases dramatically when the dental implants are placed in bone that is fully mature. Your oral surgeon might suggest dental implants for a child, but the procedure may be postponed until it is determined that the jawbone has completely matured. This typically occurs during the late teens or early adulthood.

If your child is missing a tooth, it isn’t too early to begin considering dental implants. Your oral surgeon can determine if your child is a candidate now, or if your child will be a future candidate for the procedure. Call our dual degree oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Drs. Steven Koos, to schedule a consultation today to learn more.

When can I return to work after dental implant surgery?

oral surgery Chicago LoopConvenience is one of the major advantages associated with dental implants, and this extends to the treatment and recovery process, as well. This can benefit patients who are hoping to avoid significant disruptions to their personal and professional lives following implant placement.

Although dental implant placement does involve oral surgery, the outpatient procedure takes just a few hours. It is performed in an oral surgeon’s office, and the patient is able to receive all necessary anesthesia and sedation.

The recovery period is often much shorter than patients are anticipating, too. Patients can eat a soft meal later in the day of the surgery, and most will return to work within a day.

The specifics of the procedure will depend on your particular case, and the oral surgeon can advise you if there are any unique circumstances that might mean a longer recovery period for you – like bone grafting, a sinus lift, ridge split osteotomy, and immediate implant placement after extraction.

Complications that arise after the initial dental implant oral surgery could interfere with your regular routine, though. Therefore, it is important to work with your oral surgeon to develop a plan to minimize your risk of infection or other post-operative issues that may develop. For example, if your oral surgeon prescribes a course of prophylactic (preventive) antibiotics, be sure to take all of the recommended doses. Also, follow the surgeon’s oral hygiene instructions. You may need to alter your technique slightly at the implant site from a few days to several weeks immediately after the surgery.

Additionally, the process in which the jawbone bonds with the dental implants unfolds over the course of several months after the dental implants are placed, so be sure to ask your oral surgeon what steps to take to achieve the best possible outcome, as well.

Most patients are able to return to work within a few days after dental implant placement. If you follow your oral surgeon’s post-operative instructions to reduce your risk of complications, the chances are high that you’ll be able to resume your regular routine in a very short time.

To learn more about dental implant treatment, contact Chicago’s premiere dental surgery clinic, ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio, at 312-328-9000 to schedule your visit.