According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, almost seven out of ten Americans between the ages of 35 to 44 have lost at least one tooth due to an accident, gum disease, or tooth decay. By the age of 74, more than one in four American adults have lost all their permanent teeth.

In the not too distant past, the options for replacing missing teeth were fixed bridges, removable bridges, partials and dentures. These are still viable alternatives to replacements, but have their limitations. Dentures, partials and removable bridges may be loose and unstable causing pain on chewing. Fixed bridges, although more stable, require the altering of tooth structure and carry the possibility of root canal treatment on supporting teeth.

Today we also have an additional alternative, dental implants. Fast becoming the standard of care, implants can be used to stabilize removable dentures,partials, and replace single or multiple teeth without touching any natural teeth. Dr. Spector of the New York University Dental School states “dental implants are the closest thing to natural teeth and when properly maintained, can last.  He also states, “however, as beneficial as they may be to those suffering the loss of missing teeth, patients need to be educated before making any decisions.”

Patients need to understand the high success rate of implants (95%), but also potential complications. For example, survival rates of implants tend to be less in diabetics and smokers.   Individuals who have used bisphoshonate medications after a bout with cancer, may not be candidates for dental implants. Also, if the future implant site lacks the proper bone  volume to anchor it, an additional procedure called bone grafting adds increased volume of bone to anchor the dental implant.

But, before the implant is placed, the restorative dentist and patient need to decide on the final restoration. Will it be a single crown,  implant supported fixed bridge or anchors to stabilize dentures.  An analysis of the candidates medical history, chief complaint, esthetic concerns and the type of occlusion (bite) that an individual has all play into the final restoration.

As you can see, dental implants are a wonderful option to replace missing teeth, or to anchor dentures. A thorough implant consult is needed to make sure the procedure is well understood by patient, including potential complications and fulfillment of felt need.

As always if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to give us a call at Dental Wellness at Dry Creek, phone number 303-773-9400 or email me, Dr. DiLizia at[email protected]

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