There are several factors, which can limit conventional prosthodontic treatment and therefore may indicate the need for implant therapy. A knowledge of these factors serve as a foundation for the diagnosis and treatment planning of your needs.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
Generally speaking, if you have lost teeth, you are a candidate for dental implants. It is important that you are in good health, however, as there are some conditions and diseases that can affect whether dental implants are right for you. For example, uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, radiation to the jaws, smoking, alcoholism, or uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease may affect whether dental implants will fuse to your bone. It is important to let your dental surgeon know all about your medical status (past and present) together with all medications you are taking, whether prescribed, alternative (herbal) or over-the-counter.
Researches have shown that 80% to 97% of implants succeed depending on their health status and how the methods of studies were done.
Patients who have or had Chemotherapy for cancer have 25% of implants fail when they have implants placed under hyperbaric oxygen or HBO chamber. Smokers have 11% implants fail. Increasing researches have shown that success rates are much higher in smokers if patients stop smoking 4 weeks before and 8 weeks after implant surgery.
Where and how implants are placed requires a detailed assessment of your overall stomato-gnathic system (“stoma” – mouth; “gnathic” – jaws), within which the teeth function. This will necessitate compiling records that include study models of your mouth and bite, and specialized radiographs (x-rays), which may include 3D scans known as computerized tomograms (CT scans).
Planning with the help of computer imaging ensures that dental implants can be placed in exactly the right position in the bone.
How and why is bone loss(t) when teeth are lost?
Bones need stimulation to maintain its form and density. In the case of alveolar (sac-like) bone that surrounds and supports teeth, the necessary stimulation comes from the teeth themselves. When a tooth is lost, the lack of stimulation causes loss of alveolar bone. There is a 25% decrease in width of bone during the first year after tooth loss and an overall decrease in height over the next few years.
The more teeth loss, the more function loss. This leads to some particularly serious aesthetic and functional problems, particularly in people who have lost all of their teeth. However, it doesn’t stop there. After alveolar bone is lost, the bone beneath it, basal bone — the jawbone proper — also begins to resorb (melt away).
How can bone be preserved or re-grown to support dental implants?
Grafting bone into the extraction sockets at the time of tooth loss or removal can help preserve bone volume needed for implant placement. Surgical techniques are also available to regenerate (re-grow) bone that has been lost, to provide the necessary bone substance for anchoring implants. In fact, a primary reason to consider dental implants to replace missing teeth is the maintenance of jawbone.
Bone needs stimulation to stay healthy. Because dental implants fuse to the bone, they stabilize it and prevent further bone loss. Resorption is a normal and inevitable process in which bone is lost when it is no longer supporting or connected to teeth. Only dental implants can stop this process and preserve the bone.
How to place / who places implants?
It takes a dental team to assess and plan dental implant placement and restoration — the fabrication of the crowns, bridgework or dentures that attach the implants atop and are visible in your mouth.
The dental team consists of the following important specialists:
1. The general restorative dentist or a prosthodontist. This doctor plans and places the tooth/ teeth or fixed or removable implant supported dentures.
2. The surgeon, who is either a general dentist, a periodontist, or an oral surgeon. This doctor has advanced training in implant surgery and prosthetic placement.
3. The lab technician. This specialist builds up the crowns, bridges, or dentures that attach atop the implants which are visible in the mouth.
Dr. ChauLong Nguyen has extensive knowledge and training in planning and placing dental implants and prosthetics with the highest and latest technologies such as Digital X-rays, Cone Beam Computer Tomography (CBCT) scan and software to plan surgery and create surgical guide for complicated case or Computer Guided surgery, computerized anesthetic delivery system, CEREC 3 D making teeth in one visit.
Her patients prefer to have her as a surgeon and the restorative doctor because they have more accurate and precise final results as well as they save time, energy, and costs.
Many times she would recommend for a second or third opinion so patients can make a well educated and informed decision.
Placing dental implants requires a surgical procedure in which precision channels are created in the jawbone, often using a surgical guide. The implants are then fitted into the sites so that they are in intimate contact with the bone. They generally require two to six months to fuse to the bone before they can have tooth restorations attached to them to complete the process.
After implant is placed, Dr. Nguyen will need to see you for follow up in 1 week, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 3 months, and six months some times 8 months in the highly esthetic place.
After the new tooth/ crown has been cemented or screwed in, you need to have regular cleaning and check ups at 3 or 6 months, depending on your oral hygiene status.