Dental Implants in St. Albert
You may have heard of dental implants and dismissed it as another cosmetic service concerned only about the look it produces, like lip injections or hair implants. In fact, dental implants do provide an improved esthetic over the look of a missing tooth, but that’s not all. Dental implants use your body’s natural abilities to insert and retain a false tooth and has the ability to greatly impact the health of your jaw.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a complete false tooth being comprised of the artificial tooth itself, an attachment and an artificial root system. The artificial tooth is referred to as a pontic and is made of porcelain or composite material. The visible portion of the tooth is custom-made to fit in the mouth between your natural teeth (unless you are having all-on-four dentures fitted) and is colour-matched to your natural teeth as well. The part of the implant that connects the lower artificial root to the visible portion (the tooth) is known as an abutment. Beneath the abutment is the most important part of the implant – the artificial root system.
Understanding Implant Costs
Dental implants can be configured in a variety of ways from a single implant to replace a lost or extracted tooth, implant supported bridges or ‘all-on-four’ – meaning that four implants across each dental arch are used to support a full complement of false teeth. Just as the configuration of implants can vary, so too can their price.
Dental implants range in price from up to $3000 per independent implant to over $90 000 for full restoration. The factors impacting cost include, not only the number of implants, but the amount of material required, and any preliminary procedures or medications required to increase the likelihood of the implants being successfully integrated. Since implants can increase bite force into the jaw from as little as 10% with dentures to over 80%, it is important that patients take the time to discuss the benefits with their dentist in order to understand whether this is an investment that will meet their particular health needs.
For more information about this or other services offered by our general dentists, contact our office to schedule your appointment today.
Installing Artificial Roots
Dental implants are unique in that they are surgically placed into the jaw bone. The dentist may punch-out a section of the gum tissue where the implant is to be placed, in order to allow access to the jaw bone. Alternately, the gum tissue may be cut in half to produce flaps of gum tissue which will heal around the implant. Implants may be buried completely during the healing process or the gums may be encouraged to heal around the capped implant.
In order to install the artificial root portion of the implant, your dentist begins by drilling a pilot hole with a speed-regulated drill and will drill with successively larger drill bits until the opening in the jaw bone is sufficiently large to accommodate the implant. The speed regulation of the drill ensures that the bone cells are not damaged by heat caused by friction between the drill bit and the bone socket.
Once the artificial root is installed, it will require a healing period of up to six months to heal depending on the conditions of the patient’s.
Artificial Roots and Bone Tissue
The artificial roots of dental implants are made from titanium alloy. This is critical to the success of the dental implant, since titanium has the unique ability to induce osseointegration. Osseointegration refers to the way that titanium bonds with the bone tissue around it, giving it excellent capacity to withstand bite force while keeping the implant secured.
Osseointegration – Why Does it Matter?
We now know that osseointegration serves to support the stability of the implant, but without understanding why osseointegration matters for the health of your jaw it could be easy to dismiss implants as being overly invasive and costly for the benefit they provide. For example, wouldn’t a bridge or partial dentures be sufficient?
The answer lies in understanding the relationship between your teeth and the bones that support them. Our jaw bone is constantly responding to the signals sent by our teeth by remineralizing the areas around our tooth roots continuously. Without this remineralization process, the jaw bone resorbs. The signaling between the tooth and the jaw bone occurs when bite forces travel down the root of the tooth as we chew, and this pressure indicates to the jaw that we require strength and stability in that region. Without a root system to interact with the bone, the jaw assumes that we do not require this area to be remineralized and the bone can begin to resorb within a matter of 6 months. This resorption is most prevalent in patients who wear full dentures, and often results in significant changes in the appearance and profile of the jaw.
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