Our Grove Dentist
Dental Implants at Our Grove
Our bodies are masterful in the way that they direct nutrients around the body. While we’re busy going about our day, subsystems in our body work to regulate and direct the important nutrients to where they need it most. How does the body know where to send what? Where bones are concerned, resistance generated from bearing weight or other strain signals to the body that those bones require a regular flow of nutrients. Bones of the jaw are no exception to this rule – they thrive under pressure. To your jaw, chewing is akin to bearing weight, since human bite forces are impressively strong. Every time your jaw is stimulated by the pressure of the teeth driving down through each socket, reinforcements in the form of nutrients work to keep that bone strong in a process called ossification.
Dental implants represent the first true alternative to dentures in terms of resorption. The implant process re-establishes a false root in the socket and returns ossification to the jawbone. This process is more invasive than dentures, of course, requiring a surgical implant.
To successfully establish a dental implant, it must be given time to heal. After surgically screwing the false root into the bone, the implant will be left to heal for approximately 6 months. During this time, the small pores in the titanium root will integrate with each other (osseointegration). The success of a dental implant relies on the successful bonding of implant to bone. This bond gives your implant the strength and ‘feel’ of a natural tooth. Once osseointegration is confirmed, your dentist will see you to attach the false tooth to the false root with an abutment between them. This tooth is custom made to match the shape and size of your natural tooth and is virtually indistinguishable from neighbouring natural teeth.
Dental implants transmit over 80% of bite forces into the jaw and will last over 30 years with normal wear.
Just like bone tissue can be built up in response to use, the body can also resorb (dissolve) bone that is underutilized. In dentistry, bone resorption is an ongoing concern for denture patients. Once the body loses the ability to stimulate the whole dental arch with bite forces, the jawbone responds to the lack of stimulation by sending resources to other areas of the body and diverting them from the jaw. This can begin to occur as little as 6 months after tooth loss.
Dentistry has struggled to find ways to maintain jaw form and strength in denture patients to little avail. Dentures, being set on top of the gums, cannot put pressure deeply into the jaw. Dentures offer only a fraction (approximately 10%) of the bite forces needed to sufficiently stimulate the jawbone. In the absence of this, the jaw begins to weaken and shorten its profile.
- You notice a slight shift in the structure of your lower face
- You may notice that chewing ‘feels’ different. Your bite may change and cause discomfort when chewing
- Wrinkles form in new patterns and concentrate around the lips
- Lips turn inward
- Pain in the face and/or jaw and/or increased headaches
- Speech challenges that continue to worsen
- Changes in the way your dentures fit – new rub spots or difficulty maintaining adhesion
- Jaw shortens and is reflected in the shortened facial profile
Dentures and Implants
A third alternative to dentures and implants is a combination of the two. This is seen in implant-supported dentures and all-on-four dentures. All-on-four is a configuration of dental implants required to successfully support the jaw while also supporting a full set of dentures. In this case, 4 upper and 4 lower implants are set in each quadrant of the dental arch.
If you think that dental implants might be for you, talk to your dentist about whether you are a candidate. This typically involves ensuring that enough bone exists at the implant site to support the implant successfully. Where there is not enough bone, your dentist may suggest bone grafting to build up bone matter in that area prior to beginning the implant installation process.
The need for additional materials and procedures increases the investment required, so it is important to factor these costs into your budget. If you have dental insurance, talk to your dentist about having your procedure preapproved to ensure coverage. In Canada, the cost of dental implants ranges from about $3000.00 for a singular implant and $90 000.00 for all-on-four.
Dental implants do require a significant financial investment, and their positive impact on the health of the jaw and facial structure is priceless. Call to book your consultation.
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For questions about this or other services offered by our general dentist contact our clinic today.