Will dental implants last a lifetime?

oral surgery ChicagoDental implants tend to be far more durable than other tooth replacement devices, like dental bridges and dentures. In fact, implants can last for a lifetime if the conditions are appropriate to support implant placement and the patient takes good care of the implants after they have been placed.  But it is important to remember that, just like any other surgical procedure, there are no guarantees to extended long-term results.

Initially, there must be adequate bone to support osseointegration in order for the patient to have long-term dental implant success. After the oral surgery in which the dental implants are placed, the surrounding bone forms a bond with the implant’s titanium surface. That process renders the implant a fixture in the mouth and gives the implant its durability.

However, if there is not enough bone to form a strong bond, the implant can fail. If you have already lost a fair amount of bone at the implant site, your oral surgeon may determine that you are not an immediate candidate for implant placement.

In these cases, an additional oral surgery procedure can be performed to graft bone into the implant site to give the patient enough bone material to qualify for implant placement.

After the patient has healed sufficiently from that bone graft, the oral surgeon can then move forward with placing the dental implants in the jaw.

Successful osseointegration is not the only factor in dental implant longevity, however. If gum disease develops at some point and advances, it can attack the bone, putting the stability of an implant at risk. This is why it is so important for patients to keep up good oral hygiene habits at home and continue to follow up with a dentist for routine care. Preventing gum disease can also help you to maximize the lifespan of your dental implants.

One of the characteristics that makes dental implants increasingly popular is their durability. These devices can last for decades if you take good care of them. If you need to replace a missing tooth, schedule an evaluation at ORA Oral Surgery & Implant Studio to learn if dental implants are a recommended treatment in your case. Call 312-328-9000 today to reserve your appointment.

Lost Back Molar: Are dental implants an option?

dental implants ChicagoSome patients may want to replace a lost rear molar with a dental implant in order to preserve as much chewing function as possible and to maintain the integrity of the jawbone in the area. Many of these patients will be good candidates for this treatment, but it’s important to be evaluated by an oral surgeon to determine the likelihood that you’ll be able to achieve your desired treatment outcomes with a dental implant.

The most important characteristic of a dental implant patient is the quality of bone at the implant site. Unfortunately, jawbone atrophy following tooth loss occurs more rapidly at the rear of the mouth because the bone is thinner in that vicinity. Your oral surgeon will examine your jaw and take advanced medical x-rays to determine whether immediate implant placement is possible.

Patients who have put off getting dental implants may find that they have too little bone at the site to support osseointegration, the process by which the bone forms a bond with the implant, leaving it a fixture in the mouth.

However, a dental implant still may be used to replace a rear molar even after bone loss has occurred. The patient may be able to undergo a bone graft to provide supplemental bone in the area. The donor bone can be taken from elsewhere in the patient’s body or from an outside source.

A bone graft will extend the treatment timeline, but it can be valuable in helping some patients to reach their treatment goals.

If you want to avoid a bone graft prior to dental implant placement, it’s important that you begin planning for treatment as soon as possible after losing your molar or having it extracted before any significant bone loss occurs.

If you’ve lost a rear molar and are considering a dental implant to replace it, talk to our dual degree oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Drs. Steven Koos, to see if you are a good candidate for this treatment and what your options may be if you’ve already experienced bone loss. Call 312-328-9000 to schedule your consultation.

Dental Implants: An Investment Worth Smiling About

replacement tooth ChicagoWhen the need for a replacement tooth arises, patients have a variety of options. There are a number of treatment considerations that will be of concern to patients, and it’s important to gather as much information as possible when deciding which path to pursue. If you’re leaning against dental implants solely for financial reasons, be sure to consider the long-term benefits (and potential cost savings) associated with this method before making your final choice.

The dental implant is more costly initially than other choices for a replacement tooth, such as a dental bridge, but this device will be significantly more stable and durable than alternatives. Because of the bond that forms between the bone and the implant, the surrounding jawbone is less likely to erode after tooth loss.

In comparison, the jawbone will atrophy when a replacement tooth does not include a rootlike structure like an implant. Over time, this process can lead to failure of the appliance, creating a need to replace it – at an additional cost to the patient.

Patients who work with an oral surgeon to get dental implants also limit the impact on the neighboring teeth. Implants stand alone, while a dental bridge requires crowns to be placed on adjoining teeth in order to support the prosthetic tooth. The process of placing crowns necessitates the removal of healthy enamel, which can weaken the tooth. If those surrounding teeth are damaged, then the patient may need to have the bridge replaced eventually, as well.

There are some patients who think they can save money by avoiding tooth replacement, but this can be a pound-foolish strategy. When a missing tooth is not replaced in a timely fashion, the surrounding teeth may shift to fill in the empty space, creating problems that can only be addressed by more extensive interventions at a later time.

Patients who invest in dental implants can reap the benefits for decades if they take good care of the devices. Contact Chicago’s premiere dental surgery clinic, ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio, to learn more about this treatment option.

How often will I need a check-up for my dental implants?

oral surgery ChicagoAs is the case with any type of oral surgery, dental implant placement requires a certain amount of follow-up in order to monitor the patient’s healing process and identify any problems as early as possible so that they can be addressed.

The oral surgeon may want to see you within three to four weeks of the implant placement to check on how you are healing and to remove any remaining sutures, if necessary.

Because osseointegration—the process by which the jaw bone forms a bond with the titanium implant, takes several months after the oral surgery, you will continue to return to the office periodically to give the surgeon a chance to monitor your progress.

Your oral surgeon will advise you of the preferred timeline of those follow-up visits. Even if you’re feeling well and not having any problems with your dental implants, it’s important to keep these appointments so that your surgeon can thoroughly examine the implant site.

As time passes, these appointments will become less frequent. Eventually, you won’t need to see the surgeon at all unless some type of problem develops with your dental implants. 

Of course, in order to get the most benefit from your dental implants, you’ll still need to plan for a lifetime of care.

Of course, in order to get the most benefit from your dental implants, you’ll still need to plan for a lifetime of care.

Even if your surgeon tells you that no longer need to come into the office for dental implant check-ups, you still need to schedule your routine dental check-ups and cleanings with your general dentist to maintain your good oral health. This type of ongoing dental care is essential to maximizing the lifespan of your dental implants, as active gum disease or any other issue that causes jaw bone loss could compromise the stability of the bond between bone and implant.

To improve your chances of good treatment outcomes with dental implants, you will need to keep up with the schedule of follow-up appointments set by your surgeon, in addition to following the surgeon’s post-operative instructions. You can always call our office to check on the status of these appointments.

To learn more about dental implants and what to expect during the recovery process, contact Chicago’s premiere dental surgery clinic, ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio, and schedule your professional consultation today.

Will I experience negative outcomes if I postpone treatment for tooth loss?

dental implants ChicagoPatients may be tempted to delay treatment to replace a missing tooth, especially if that tooth was not in a highly visible area. However, postponing an intervention after tooth loss can result in a number of consequences.

Even a single missing tooth can compromise your smile’s appearance, create an opportunity for the other teeth to shift out of their proper positions and affect your ability to chew and speak properly.

While filling in the empty space with any type of replacement device can be beneficial for patients, the type of treatment chosen can also have long-term implications for the patient’s oral health. Dental implants offer a more structurally complete tooth replacement than dental bridges and dentures, including both an artificial tooth “root” and a prosthetic crown. 

Even a single missing tooth can compromise your smile’s appearance, create an opportunity for the other teeth to shift out of their proper positions and affect your ability to chew and speak properly.

After an oral surgeon inserts the implant into the patient’s jaw, the bone in the area will osseo-integrate with the device. The bond that develops between the jawbone and the implant gives this intervention more stability and durability than other options.

Dental implants prevent jawbone erosion, which is another factor that can motivate patients to move quickly to replace missing teeth. If you delay treatment outright or even choose an alternative that has no root-like structure, you may experience significant bone loss, especially if several years pass. 

If a patient wants to pursue dental implants at a later time or upgrade from another appliance, an oral surgeon may not be able to place the implants initially due to that bone loss. The patient may first need to undergo a bone graft to provide enough bone material to support osseointegration.

Patients who wait to replace missing teeth may also find it difficult to chew all of their favorite foods, and their speech may sound strange, as well.

Delaying treatment for tooth loss can detract from your smile and affect your health, and it can require a significant amount of time and effort to undo some of that damage. If you have experienced tooth loss, learn more about your treatment options, including dental implants, by contacting the ORA office of Steven Koos DDS, MD today.

Will dental implants affect the natural, adjacent teeth?

oral surgery ChicagoMany patients are turning to dental implants to replace missing teeth because they feel that these devices have a number of advantages over older treatments like dental bridges and partial dentures. One such advantage is that dental implants stand alone, so they have minimal impact on the surrounding teeth.

Dental implants are inserted into the jaw in an oral surgery procedure, and over the next several months the surrounding bone integrates with the titanium surface of the implant. That process makes the implant a fixture in the jaw, and it does not need support from the surrounding teeth.

When an oral surgeon places dental implants in a patient’s jaw, the implant ultimately serves the same purpose as the absent tooth’s root does.

Therefore, working with an oral surgeon to get dental implants gives patients a more structurally complete tooth replacement. This characteristic of dental implants offers benefits beyond preserving the integrity of the teeth adjacent to the implant site. By acting like a root, the implant also helps to support the jawbone in the area and prevent it from eroding. In contrast, the bone in the vicinity of a fixed dental bridge will gradually wear away over time.

Other treatment options do not require oral surgery, and that may appeal to some patients, but those methods do require support from the neighboring teeth because there is no structure to anchor the prosthetic to the jaw. Crowns need to be placed on the surrounding teeth to anchor the pontic (prosthetic tooth) in a dental bridge, and that process necessitates the removal of healthy tooth enamel. Partial dentures are also designed with fixtures that attach to neighboring teeth, which could also damage their enamel.

If you need to replace a missing tooth but want to minimize the potential for damage to your remaining biological teeth, explore dental implants as a possible intervention.  The choice of a dental implant specialist – an oral surgeon, will be crucial for the best possible outcome.  These devices offer a number of benefits to boost your oral health. To learn more about your tooth replacement options, contact Chicago’s premiere dental surgery clinic, ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio, today to schedule your visit.

Jawbone Atrophy After Dentures: What are my options?

dentures ChicagoUnfortunately, many patients do not realize that the shape of their jaw will change over time as they wear conventional dentures and age without teeth.  When the teeth’s roots are absent, the jawbone slowly wears away. As the jaw’s contour evolves, the original denture will lose its fit and need to be re-lined or replaced and lose stability with time. Fortunately, these patients can take advantage of an alternative treatment that offers a more permanent solution.

For patients who have already experienced the phenomenon of jawbone atrophy, All-on-4 dental implants can offer complete stability with a permanently attached full arch of teeth and completely replace conventional dentures.

With All-on-4, the dental implants essentially serve as a structural replacement for the missing teeth’s roots. As such, they help to stimulate the jawbone and help to prevent further resorption.

After the oral surgeon inserts the titanium implants into the patient’s jaw, the surrounding bone forms a bond with the implants. This process, known as osseointegration, allows the implant to become a permanent fixture in the jaw.

Although long-term dental implant success does require adequate bone material to sustain osseointegration, patients who have already suffered from jawbone atrophy can still be good candidates for the All-on-4 procedure.

Since just four implants are needed to support the prosthetic arch and those four implants are placed toward the front of the jaw, patients who have lost some bone at the rear of the jaw can still qualify for All-on-4 implant placement. Typically, the bone at the front of the jaw wears away at a slower rate than that near the back of the jaw.

All-on-4 dental full arch prosthesis is stronger than a conventional denture, which is another benefit of this intervention. For example, the physical connection between the appliance and the jaw will help an implant-supported bridge to chew more effectively.

If you are fed up with frequent trips to your dentist to have your conventional dentures re-lined or replaced, explore All-on-4 dental implants as a more stable solution. Contact ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio at 312-328-9000 to learn more about this treatment option.

What factors contribute to the long-term success of dental implants?

dental implants ChicagoDental implants require a significant investment of a patient’s time and resources, so it’s reasonable that patients would want to maximize the longevity of the devices. Before having dental implants placed, it’s important for patients to be aware of factors that contribute to the treatment’s long-term success, such as adequate bone at the implant site, ongoing maintenance of the implants, overall oral health and the oral surgeon’s qualifications, among other concerns.

In the beginning stages of evaluating the patient for dental implant placement, the oral surgeon should determine whether the patient has adequate bone at the implant site to support osseointegration. That is the process by which the surrounding bone forms a permanent bond with the titanium implant, and it is crucial to the implant’s stability.

If the patient does not have enough bone to support the dental implant, the patient may need to undergo a preliminary oral surgery procedure, such as a bone graft or sinus lift, in order to improve the chances of implant success.

For the best chances of long-term implant success, patients should also choose an oral surgeon who is well-versed in dental implant placement. Dr. Koos has extensive experience with various dental implant placement techniques, such as All-on-4, and he has successfully placed thousands of dental implants in patients who were missing a single tooth, as well as thousands of edentulous patients in need of implant-supported dentures.

The patient also bears some responsibility for maintaining the dental implants so that the fixtures last for their intended lifespan. Gum disease can compromise the integrity of the bone and consequently can also interfere with the bond between bone and implant.

Therefore, patients should be free from active gum disease at the time of implant placement and should be diligent about their oral hygiene habits, including routine checkups and cleanings at the dentist, to reduce their chances of developing periodontal disease.

Dental implants can last for a lifetime in many patients, but the circumstances must be a good fit. Get an oral surgeon’s perspective on whether there are any potentially problematic issues in your case. For more information, contact Chicago’s premiere dental surgery clinic, ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio.

I want dentures. Where do I start?

dentures ChicagoAfter a patient has lost an entire arch of teeth, replacing those teeth and restoring an attractive, functional smile becomes a top priority.

Many patients initially consider dentures as a prosthetic replacement for absent teeth. They may meet with a general dentist or a prosthodontist for a consultation to learn more about this treatment option.

However, for many patients, conventional dentures fall short of the desired treatment outcomes and promises.  Standard dentures lose their fit over time as the jaw’s contour changes, which is a consequence of tooth loss. Furthermore, some patients find dentures to be uncomfortable and inefficient at chewing, bulky and cumbersome.  Many patients feel excessively “old” due to having conventional dentures.

These patients may want to consider a superior alternative, like All-on-4 dental implants, which offer uncompromising stability and better functioning, and give patients the look and feel of real teeth that are permanently attached.

With the All-on-4 technique, an oral surgeon will place four dental implants toward the front of the jaw to secure the fixed bridge appliance, which is designed to slide into place atop the implants and be secured to them. The procedure takes just a few hours and is completed in the oral surgeon’s office with the general dentist finalizing the teeth that same day.

Dental implants improve on standard dentures in a number of ways. First of all, implants are made of titanium, and the surrounding bone is capable of forming a bond with that material. Consequently, the implants become a permanent part of the mouth’s structure, replicating a biological tooth’s root.

That structural similarity to a tooth’s root helps the implant to stabilize the jaw and reduce its erosion. The shape of the jaw remains more stable, and the appliance keeps its fit better.

Additionally, the physical connection between the prosthetic and the jawbone helps to make the appliance more effective at chewing. Patients with implant-supported dentures generally can continue to enjoy all of their favorite foods, which they would otherwise have had to give up with conventional dentures.

Patients who have suffered tooth loss should consider a number of different interventions, including conventional dentures and All-on-4. Be sure to discuss all of the advantages and disadvantages of each option with a dentist and an oral maxillofacial surgeon so that you can decide on the appliance and treatment that will help you achieve your goals.

To learn more about your tooth replacement options, contact ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio at 312-328-9000 and schedule your informative consultation today.

Is the dental implant prone to cavities and gum disease?

oral surgery ChicagoMany patients who seek dental implants as replacements for missing teeth initially lost those teeth due to advanced decay or gum disease, and they want reassurances that the new appliances, including dental implants, will not suffer a similar fate.

During the initial meeting with the oral maxillofacial surgeon, prospective dental implant candidates may ask about the devices’ susceptibility to cavities or periodontal disease. The answer is not quite as straightforward as a patient may hope, though.

The implant itself, which is made of titanium, is not directly affected by the oral bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. Furthermore, the bacteria have no impact on the materials used for the prosthetics, either.

However, that strict definition doesn’t really capture the entire answer to the question. Dental implant patients do not have a free pass from the effects of oral diseases after they’ve received dental implants.

After the oral surgery in which the dental implants are inserted into the jaw, the bone forms a bond with the implant’s surface. Therefore, the patient must have stability in the surrounding bone to ensure the implant’s long-term success.

Periodontal disease or tooth decay that progresses to the point of causing bone loss can threaten the longevity of the dental implants, then. If the bone in the vicinity is weakened by gum disease, the implant may fail and need to be replaced.

Furthermore, no oral surgery, including dental implant placement, can be completed while uncontrolled gum disease is present. This is another way in which gum disease may impact dental implants, albeit a more short-term concern.

Dental implants can last for decades when patients take good care of them, and the implant itself will not be affected by oral bacteria. However, oral diseases can compromise the implant’s stability in a more indirect fashion, so you should be certain to work with your oral surgeon to develop a complete oral hygiene plan to reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease.

For more information about dental implants, contact the ORA office of Steven Koos DDS, MD at 312-328-9000 today.