|Dental implants can enhance outlook on life
Don’t let missing teeth limit your life. If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to restore your ability to smile, speak and eat with comfort and confidence, then dental implants may be right for you.
Perhaps you hide your smile because of spaces from missing teeth. Maybe your dentures don’t fit securely and comfortably. Perhaps you have difficulty chewing food because of missing teeth. If any of these situations keep you from feeling good about yourself and your smile, then dental implants may be a solution for you.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are root form replacements made of titanium. This metal has the unique ability of fusing to bone. A fused dental implant is extremely strong, stable and successful. Dental implants can be used to replace individual teeth or used as attachments to hold dentures.
Mini dental implants are smaller in width than traditional dental implants. A wider implant is stronger because it has more surface area with which to fuse to the jawbone. So a traditional wide body implant can replace an individual tooth. However, there has to be enough bone to place a wide body implant. Mini dental implants can be placed in thin bone and used to retain dentures. Mini dental implants have the advantage of immediate placement in thin bone at a substantial reduced cost. Mini dental implants are not strong enough for most individual teeth, in which case traditional, wide body implants are the best choice.
• Real teeth again with implants: “I can go to out to dinner and parties and not worry any more about my teeth falling out and embarrassing myself and my husband.”
A number of years ago, I saw an out-going 51-year-old woman who had all her teeth removed and dentures replaced a year prior in Arizona. The dentures looked good and were well made, but she had a terrible gag reflex and could not keep them from flying out. This was a disaster at dinner parties and sadly, this had made this vivacious woman homebound. Her husband was an executive, and she wanted and was expected to attend social functions, but was in fear of embarrassment about losing her teeth. Once her dentures landed in a punch bowl.
After a dental work up, it was determined she had good bone for individual wide body implants. All her teeth were restored with implant-supported fix bridges using 12 implants. She can bite on each individual tooth, just like her original teeth, with no fear of movement. She also has improved chewing, excellent speech and a radiant smile. After implant tooth replacements, she is the life of the party again. No more fear, no more gooey denture adhesives and no more rushing off to the restroom during the middle of a meal or at a social event.
• Improved look: “I love my smile. Now I look in the mirror and like what I see. I just feel more confident in myself.”
Ten years ago, I saw a 23-year-old Sonoma State University coed who had two genetically missing upper laterals, the teeth on either side of the front two teeth. These are the most common teeth to be genetically missing after the wisdom teeth.
She had been in and out of braces since age 12 and was wearing a retainer with two fake denture teeth attached for the missing teeth. She had been embarrassed by her smile since an early age and sadly had learned to smile with her mouth closed. Two dental implants were placed and restored in time for her SSU graduation. She was smiling beautifully for graduation pictures. No one could tell her smile had implants.
The esthetic look of a dental implant is similar to a natural tooth; it emerges naturally out of the gum. So her dental implants looked and felt like her own teeth. She now smiles with a huge grin, which gives her a positive, confident first impression.
• Increased denture retention, stability and comfort: “For the first time in years, my dentures are comfortable, don’t move, and I can speak clearly. I love sweet corn and now I can eat it without cutting it up.”
Five years ago, I saw a 70-year-old woman who had been wearing dentures for more than 30 years. Over the last five years, she had been to numerous dentists and had numerous dentures made. She complained they were all ill fitting and her teeth slipped and slid around her mouth, resulting in mumbling and slurred speech. Her original set of dentures had fit well for 20 years.
She said her old original dentist knew how to make dentures back in the day, and now these young whippersnappers don’t know what they are doing. I showed her that actually her boney ridge had worn down over time. There was no ridge left for her dentures to grasp.
One of the worst things about losing a tooth is the accompanying bone loss. The jawbone supports the teeth and the teeth maintain the height and integrity of the bone. Once a tooth is lost, the bone continues to deteriorate over time. One of the big advantages of dental implants is that they prevent bone loss.
Because of her lack of existing bone and to reduce the cost, mini implants were placed and her dentures were relined with attachment housings to the mini implants. With great denture retention, she was happily eating sweet corn again and socializing with her friends with clear speech.
Your confidence about your teeth and smile can affect how you feel about yourself, both personally and professionally. If you are missing teeth, dental implants can restore the ability to smile, speak and chew with comfort and confidence. And others will see your renewed confidence and joy.
Enjoy life and keep smiling.
George Malkemus has a Family and Cosmetic Dental Practice in Rohnert Park at 2 Padre Parkway, Suite 200. Call 585-8595, or email info@ malkemusdds.com. Visit Dr. Malkemus’ Web site at www.malkemusdds.com.