Dental Implants in Jackson TN
What Are Dental Implants?
When teeth have been lost, or when your teeth cannot or should not be saved, dental implants can be a permanent replacement option. Implants are prosthetic replacements for tooth roots that are fabricated from an inert, pure titanium that your body looks at as its own. They are placed into the jaw to act as supports for new teeth and can also be used to support or stabilize dentures.
Dental implants are the closest you can get to healthy, natural teeth. They allow you to live the way you want to – confidently eating, smiling, laughing, talking, kissing and enjoying all of your everyday activities without worrying about your teeth. No other human prosthetic, such as prosthetic eyes or limbs, can function and look exactly like the missing part other than a dental implant.
Think of dental implants as artificial tooth roots, similar in shape to screws. When dental implants are placed in your upper or lower jawbone, they bond with your natural bone in a process called osseointegration. They become a sturdy base for supporting one or more artificial teeth, called crowns or bridges. In the process, an intermediate connector – known as an abutment – is placed on top of the dental implant to hold and support your crowns or bridges. The crowns are custom-made to match your natural teeth and fit your mouth to give you the closest fit and function that the original teeth provided.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Why should you replace missing teeth with dental implants? There are several reasons to replace missing teeth:
- Cosmetics – Everyone wants to look their best and a smile is one of the first thing that is noticed when meeting someone. Implants provide one of the most cosmetic and natural appearance of any option for tooth replacement.
- Function – Eating is one of life’s greatest joys. Missing teeth can hinder your ability to adequately chew food or at least make it to where you must be aware of where and how you are chewing. Adequate mastication of food is also needed for proper digestion and to give you the ability to eat a well rounded diet.
- Shifting — if teeth are not replaced, the adjacent teeth will tip or shift into the blank space. This can cause crowding or spacing depending on the situation. It can also alter all the cosmetics of your smile which most people do not want. This shifting can alter the way your teeth line up causing bite problems, chewing difficulty and can lead to issues like TMJ.
- Dropping – teeth are meant to be in pairs. For every top tooth, there is a matching bottom tooth. Human teeth are designed to keep erupting from the socket until a match is found. If a tooth is lost, the matching tooth in the opposing arch will begin to erupt (a process called Supraeruption) and drop. If it finds no opposing tooth, it can hinder proper chewing and cause difficulty in many ways. Ultimately the tooth will need to be removed leading to having another space. Then the cycle compounds and continues.
Dental implant surgery is extremely safe and very predictable, especially if done by a specialist who has examined your mouth including your bite, positioning of adjacent teeth, and distances between the teeth. A full radiographic exam should be done as well. There are no images that give a qualified surgeon more information for overall safety and accuracy than a 3D CBCT (Cone Beam Computerized Tomography). Your overall dental health should be considered before any procedures are considered. But first and foremost, Dr. Culley begins every new implant consultation by finding out what you want and what your ultimate goals of implant therapy are. After collecting all the necessary data, Dr. Culley will evaluate all the information and give you options (if there are any) for various replacement options as well as the pros and cons of each. If he doesn’t feel that what you want is possible or realistic, he will be honest with you. Sometimes, he may offer you alternatives that you didn’t even know were possible that meet your wants and needs more than you could have ever imagined. Regardless, until you are satisfied and understand, no treatment is initiated. We want you to love your implants and be at our door if you ever need another dental implant.
Dental Implant Procedure
Dental implant surgery is usually an outpatient surgery performed in stages, with healing time between procedures. The process of placing a dental implant involves multiple steps, including:
- Damaged tooth removal
- Jawbone preparation (grafting), when needed
- Dental implant placement
- Bone growth and healing
- Abutment placement
- Artificial tooth placement
The entire process can take many months from start to finish. Much of that time is devoted to healing and waiting for the growth of new bone in your jaw. Depending on your situation, the specific procedure done or the materials used, certain steps can sometimes be combined.
Dental Implant Complications
Most dental implants are successful. Sometimes, however, the bone fails to fuse sufficiently to the metal implant. Smoking, for example, may contribute to implant failure and complications. Dr. Culley will place implants on smokers and patients in other high-risk categories such as diabetics. However, you are counseled on failure rates and things you can do at home to improve your odds of successful treatment.
If the bone fails to fuse sufficiently (non-integration), the implant is removed, the bone is cleaned up, and you can try the procedure again in about three months. Dr. Culley stands behind his implants. If your implants fail for any reason (other than negligence on your part) within the 1st year, he will replace the implant at no cost to you. You can help your dental work — and remaining natural teeth — last longer if you:
- Practice excellent oral hygiene. Just as with your natural teeth, keep implants, artificial teeth and gum tissue clean. Specially designed brushes, such as an interdental brush that slides between teeth, can help clean the nooks and crannies around teeth, gums and metal posts.
- See your dentist regularly. Schedule dental checkups to ensure the health and proper functioning of your implants and follow the advice for professional cleanings.
- Avoid damaging habits. Don’t chew hard items, such as ice and hard candy, which can break your crowns — or your natural teeth. Avoid tooth-staining tobacco and caffeine products. Get treatment if you grind your teeth.
Dental Implant History
The idea of implants has been around for over a thousand years with pieces of what look like shells hammered into the jawbone of Mayan women dating back to 600 A.D. Dental implants had mediocre success, at best, in the mid 1900’s. In 1952, Swedish orthopedic surgeon P.I. Branemark discovered that titanium naturally fuses with bone, eventually switching his research focus to the mouth from the knee and hip. From the Branemark studies many advances were made, and today’s generation of dental implants have the benefit of being highly predictable, comfortable, cosmetic and successful long term.
The standard of care has changed dramatically over the last 15 years with implants now being considered conventional for permanent tooth replacement outpacing treatment alternatives such as bridges or dentures.
The Best Dental Implants
Our office uses only Dental Implants which are FDA approved and have a proven track record of success for years. We have relationships with several of the worlds leading implant manufacturers. We highly value our relationship with them and feel secure in their dedication to the highest quality and service – just as we do. Dr. Culley has vast experience with many other implant systems as well, and they service all types of implants.