As defined by the American Dental Association,”…Dental Implants offer a smile that looks and feels very natural. Surgically placed below the gums, implants fuse to the jawbone and serve as a base for individual replacement teeth, bridges or a denture. Implants offer stability because they fuse to your bone. Integration of the implants into your jaw also helps your replacement teeth feel more natural and some people also find the secure fit more comfortable than conventional substitutes.”
Over the past several years, dental implants have emerged not only as a viable alternative to conventional fixed and removable prosthetic techniques, but many experts would say they have become the standard of care for single and multiple missing teeth and for stabilization of complete dentures.
Here are some examples of how implants have changed dentistry:
- For years the standard for replacing a single missing tooth has been a 3 unit bridge. A bridge involves preparing (grinding down) adjacent teeth for full coverage crowns and cementing the 3-unit span of teeth. Now, an implant can be placed in the site of the missing tooth and restored with a single crown connected to the implant body, thus eliminating the adjacent tooth damage.
- A quadrant (or series) of missing teeth has typically been replaced with a “partial” or removable partial denture. These can be cumbersome and difficult to tolerate for some people. Today, for many patients, implants can be placed in the endentulous area and restored with a fixed bridge that is much easier to tolerate.
- Fianlly, implants can be placed on many patients who wear complete dentures to help stabilize and retain the dentures in a more comfortable fashion than dentures adhesives and powders.
Denture Stabilization with Mini Dental Implants
Dr. Gregory has training from the University of Oklahoma and IMTEC Corporation in denture stabilization with MDI’s or mini-dental implants. This in-office procedure offers a more cost effective and less invasive surgical technique than conventional implant surgery. In some cases the patient’s existing denture can be utilized and often the denture can be “loaded” immediately. This means that the patient can begin to function more normally immediately after placement. One of the most frustrating things for dentists is the lower denture patient who comes into the office and says, “Doctor, my lower denture doesn’t fit.” Our modern impression materials and techniques to fabricate prosthetic devices are very consistent and predictable. The problem is that a good impression doesn’t always guarantee a good “fit.” Why? The nature of lower denture design and certain anatomical considerations, make lower conventional denture tolerance very poor in many cases. Some patients may start out with reasonably good retention of their lower denture, but after some years of use and bone ridge resorption the retention worsens. This brings up another benefit of implants, and that is preservation of the bony ridge. In the U.S. there are 30 million endentulous (without teeth) people who struggle with prosthetic devices. If you are one of those people please talk with Dr. Gregory about your options with dental implants.