For The Independent Health Issue
Tooth loss is a sad reality for millions of Americans.
The best solution is prevention, of course. But if an accident, severe
tooth decay, or periodontal disease have left you with a gap in your
smile, take heart. Working with a qualified dentist trained in the science
of tooth replacement, almost anyone can recover the ability to chew,
talk, and smile without discomfort or embarrassment.
Implant technology offers numerous advantages over older tooth replacement procedures. Typical dentures and bridges require some type of bonding agent to stay in place during use, and then must be removed for thorough cleaning. Many patients complain that they don’t stay in place very well, making everyday conversations and activities uncomfortable.
The dental implant, by contrast, is extremely secure. Patients often claim they forget they even have them. The reason for this tight fit is the integration of the tooth base with the jawbone. Moreover, the implant does not rely on surrounding teeth to provide support for the prosthetic tooth or teeth, leading to better oral health in the long-term.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, which furthers the science and practice of gum disease diagnosis and treatment and of tooth replacement, long-term studies continue to show improving rates of success for implants. Implants are being widely used now to:
Candidates for Dental Implants
The most common implant procedure is the endosteal implant, which places a metal framework into the jawbone itself. This procedure is used as an alternative to bridges and partial dentures. Some patients who cannot have this procedure because of minimal bone height can still benefit from a subperiosteal dental implant. In this procedure, a metal structure is placed on top of the bone rather than in the bone. Metal posts protruding from this structure through the gums hold the prosthetic tooth securely in place.
Your dentist can help you determine whether you are a candidate for dental implants and, if properly trained in dental implant technology, can perform the implant procedure itself. If more advanced periodontal surgery is required, your dentist will work in partnership with a periodontist to ensure a successful outcome.
Good Home Care Essential
With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime. That is one of the unique advantages of this approach to tooth replacement. For more information, consult the Websites of the American Dental Association (www.ada.org) and the American Academy of Periodontology www.perio.org).
Dr. Khalifeh owns the Philmont Family Dentistry located on Rte 217 in Philmont, NY. A graduate of the New York City School of Dentistry, he completed his residency at Albany Medical Center and practiced in Albany until 2004. For more information, call 672-4077.