Dental Implant Restorations
Patients with missing teeth can have their teeth not just replaced, but restored. The difference is in the foundation. Replaced teeth are false teeth retained by neighboring teeth; restored teeth are built from the jawbone to the new tooth. Working with our staff at Palo Alto Oral Health, we can do more than place a false tooth, we can recreate the foundation of the tooth, providing our patients with a permanently stabilized tooth that is independent of surrounding teeth, giving you the feel and function of your natural teeth.
Dental implants are different from other restorations; the implant is not a tooth. A dental implant is a replacement tooth root; once it is healed, we can then use it to attach a dental appliance such as a crown, bridge or denture. The dental implant itself is a small titanium rod; it closely resembles a screw in size and shape. The implant is threaded on one end; the threaded side is surgically placed into the jawbone where the tooth is missing. The threads create more surface area to be in contact with a significant portion of bone material. Unlike placing a screw in wood, our bone continues to grow. As the bone heals, it will heal around the implant, bonding the two together. Once the implant and bone have bonded, we can then attach the appliance.
Many patients have asked, why a dental implant is better than other restoration options. The difference is in the bone. If you think of each tooth as a three-part system, the jawbone, the root and then the tooth, the three working in unison is a complete system. The jawbone receives the exercise it needs when the patient applies pressure on the tooth, and that energy is transferred through the root to the bone. When a patient loses a tooth, they also lose the root system. When a false tooth is placed without the foundation of a root, then the energy is not transferred to the bone, that connection is lost. The bone is no longer exercised and responds immediately with pulling in its resources in that area. This type of bone atrophy can be seen when a patient has a cast removed; the bone has shrunk in size. Missing one tooth may not be noticeable, but losing multiple teeth can quickly result in a change in your facial appearance, giving what many people think of as an older appearance.
When a patient comes for a consultation about dental implants, we will examine and review the area. A dental implant can be used in a variety of ways, it can be used to anchor a single tooth, or as part of a system to anchor multiple teeth. Some patients will have a mix of natural teeth and implants anchoring a dental bridge or partial denture, or they may have multiple implants, some patients even have a full denture permanently retained by implants. The work being done is customized to fit each patient and their personalized needs.