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Dental Implants:  The Game Changer

Over the past 10 years, the popularity of Dental Implants has absolutely taken off.  There are many reasons for this, however, I believe the main reason lies in their versatility and predictability.

Dental implants are titanium tooth replacements which are placed into the jaw.  They are very similar in shape and size to the actual tooth roots they replace.  The procedure to place them is surprisingly comfortable, with the use of only local anesthesia, and very often the whole procedure takes about as long as a typical filling.  The advent of  Dental CAT scanners has taken much of the guesswork out of the procedure, allowing the dentist to plan the surgery virtually beforehand.  This translates into a much safer, faster, and more accurate outcome.  There are 3 major uses for dental implants in todays' world. 

Obviously, Dental Implants can be used to replace one or multiple teeth.  Either these teeth were lost previously, or perhaps they currently need to.  Implants can be placed into those sites, even sites where the tooth was just removed. 

Typically, Dental Implants are used to anchor either crowns or bridges securely into the moth.  They mimic the natural architecture of the dentition, they are color matched to be in harmony with the other teeth, but most importantly, they are the strongest tooth replacement option available.  They are not subject to decay, root canals, or periodontal disease.  Patients choose this option over others also because the teeth are secured to the implants permanently, and they don't come out.

Dental Implants also can be used to anchor a fixed hybrid dental appliance.  I know that that's a big word, but its pretty easy to visualize.  A fixed hybrid appliance is like a denture, except instead of removing the appliance after meals or at night, the appliance is "fixed" or attached to the implants with special screws that only a dentist could remove.  This option is often chosen when a patient is missing most or all of the teeth in an arch.  It offers the patient the confidence that the teeth will not slide around of flop out while eating and speaking.  And because it's fixed with screws, and not cement, it can be removed, if necessary, without damaging  it.  Typically, these appliances have been fabricated out of plastic, like a denture, but recently,  porcelain hybrids are available which offer greater strength, wear resistance, and increased aesthetics.

Lastly, Dental Implants are commonly used to secure complete and partial dentures in place.  Unlike the hybrid appliance, these implant dentures can be removed by the patient daily.  This allows the patients to very effectively clean not only the denture, but also the implants.  Special attachments, similar to "o" rings are placed into the denture, and these rings grab the top of the implants, and snap in.  This option is very popular because it requires only a limited number of implants to be placed, and allows patients to have the confidence of chewing and speaking without the teeth slipping.  This is a great service we offer for those suffering with loose fitting dentures.  Most patients who receive this treatment wish they would have done it years ago. 

As you can see, Dental Implants are more than just a single tooth replacement solution.  Today, Implants are used to restore complete sets of teeth and everything in between.  I encourage you to contact my office for more information on Dental Implants, and how they might help you.  I'm a Naples Florida Dentist, and my door is always open for new patients and second opinions.

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