By Dr. Joe D’Angelo
Dental care and upkeep is an important part of your overall health, at all stages of life, regardless of your age. When it comes to taking care of your teeth, brushing and flossing are just some of the ways you can have a healthy and beautiful mouth for years to come. But for one reason or another, sometimes we may need tooth replacement.
Many patients generally want to avoid removable dentures or bridges if at all possible when tooth replacement becomes necessary. Full dentures are a huge commitment and an embarrassment for most individuals since it requires the removal of all teeth (even ones that could be potentially saved). Dental implants are a good choice for people of all ages when the bone structure is strong and intact in order to support the implant.
The good news is that the dental implant process is not particularly uncomfortable and normally a lot less traumatic than having a tooth taken out. The actual process of implantation is not as disheartening as it may seem and the outlook for a quick recovery is generally excellent. Most can be placed with local anesthetic only. Sedation is always an option as well. In simpler cases where one to three teeth are being replaced one can often return to work the same day.
DENTAL IMPLANTS: ARE THEY RIGHT FOR YOU?
When it comes to dental implants, it’s important to choose a well-qualified dentist who specializes in this procedure for the best possible outcome. With many years of experience in cosmetic dentistry and dental implantation, I’ve been honored to serve the greater La Jolla area since 1990 with many implant procedures done since then.
Patients from 18 years of age to 90 have chosen implants as an alternative to bridges or removable appliances. For younger people, it is often one or more congenitally missing teeth or a tooth lost to trauma or decay. Individuals who opt for dental implants in this case desire to leave the nearby teeth healthy and to have the most natural outcome possible. For the older patient, the reality is that bridges are difficult to maintain and removable appliances are uncomfortable, unstable and may hinder proper chewing and nutrition.
If you are considering dental implants, here’s what you need to know. The best candidates are individuals who want to:
Preserve the bone in the dental arches:
When a tooth is lost, the bone in the area will normally resorb. This process starts immediately! The maintenance of bone volume is dependent on the strain that is normally transmitted via a tooth. A dental implant is the only method of tooth replacement that transmits force directly to the bone, thereby replacing the function of the tooth. Removable dentures transmit force through the gums. This has a negative effect on the maintenance of bone density and volume. Bridges transmit force to adjacent teeth. The bone still resorbs and the adjacent teeth often experience premature failure due to overload (excess load relative to their intended use). The goal is always to never let the bone go away!
A desire for the best esthetic outcome:
Through the proper maintenance of bone, the tissue profile around implant tooth replacements is more natural. The adjacent teeth remain natural as well and the form of the replacement teeth can be more ideal. The best esthetics is normally achieved when implant replacement of a tooth is done immediately or soon after loss of the tooth.
Dentures are often uncomfortable and can prove to be ill-fitting, especially after years of continued use as bone reabsorption takes its toll. Dental implants are an ideal choice for people looking for a denture alternative that looks natural and feels great. The efficiency of chewing is typically greatly enhanced, and as a result, assures proper nutrition. Some patients opt for complete replacement with implants. Others with a more limited budget enjoy the benefits of denture anchorage and stabilization with 2 to 4 implants. Attachments between the denture and the implants can provide support and retention, which greatly improves comfort and chewing efficiency.
Replace one or a few teeth:
If you have just one or a few missing teeth or need to find a better alternative to a partial or bridge, dental implants are ideal. They can look completely like your own teeth without the drawbacks associated with other types of tooth replacement strategies. Esthetics, function and the ability to properly care for your teeth are greatly enhanced.
For more information on dental implants in La Jolla, call my practice at 858.459.6224 or log onto