What’s an implant?
Implants are one of the biggest advancements in dental technology in recent memory. They’re as close as you can get to a brand new tooth — although that may be changing in the coming years thanks to stem cell therapies that can regrow entire teeth from scratch.
Implants aren’t that complicated. They consist of 3 parts:
- Implant – Think of this as the “root” of your new tooth. Made from biocompatible zirconia or titanium, the implant encourages the growth of strong and healthy bone tissue. This is what makes implants so durable and sturdy — they work with your body instead of against it.
- Abutment – The abutment is what allows your implant to connect to the final restoration, often a crown, bridge, or denture.
- Restoration – This is like your tooth itself (the part you can see). Depending on how many teeth are being replaced, your restoration may be a single crown, a fixed or removable bridge, or an implant supported denture.
Read this if you have a root canal
For decades (and even today, unfortunately) one of the most common dental procedures was the root canal. Essentially, dentists would hollow out dead teeth and leave them in their patients’ mouths.
This just doesn’t make any sense!
There’s no other situation where a dead organ is left in the body EXCEPT for a root canal.
Bacteria trapped inside your dead tooth are a constant strain on your immune system. The health effects can be devastating. Watch the trailer for Root Cause to learn more:
With an implant, there are NO bacteria trapped in your mouth and the implant’s biocompatible construction actually makes you HEALTHIER.
Implants are a no-brainer.
Drawbacks of traditional dentures
Your teeth are essential to your health. But you may not realize all the work they’re doing. Obviously, they’re invaluable for chewing and eating. But our teeth also help us speak and breathe.
Under the surface however, the roots of your teeth stabilize and prevent the loss of bone tissue. Think of a line of trees along a steep riverbank. The trees’ roots protect against the erosion of the shoreline. When the trees are removed, erosion takes over, and the riverbank begins to collapse.
The same thing happens when a tooth is lost. There’s nothing there to keep your jawbone from wearing away and disintegrating, a process known as resorption. It’s this process of resorption that leads to the “sunken face” and “lemon face” look common among those who have been wearing traditional adhesive dentures.
In addition to bone loss, adhesive dentures:
- Impact how you eat and speak
- Often look unnatural
- Require sticky glues that don’t work as well as you’d hope
- Can make you feel self-conscious about how you look
Implant-supported dentures, on the other hand:
- Are rock solid and stable
- Allow you to eat and speak naturally
- Can be brushed like natural teeth
“Bridging” a gap
If you’re missing a tooth and have a gap in your smile, implants can help there, too. One or more implants can be used to create a stable base for an implant-supported bridge. The results look great and are easy to take care of and clean.
Implants are forever…
Here’s the best thing about implants: they truly can last a lifetime. But there’s a catch: you MUST take care of them. While you can’t get a cavity in your implant, there’s another danger to be aware of: peri-implantitis, the most common form of gum disease affecting dental implants.
Recent research suggests that a majority of people who get an implant may eventually be affected by gum disease. Just like gingivitis and periodontitis, peri-implantitis is caused by bacteria infecting gum tissue and bone. Common symptoms include gums that are:
- Sensitive and tender
You may also notice chronic bad breath or even feel that your implant is becoming “loose” in your mouth.
Just as gingivitis and periodontitis can cause pain and eventually tooth loss, peri-implantitis is equally dangerous. Left untreated the implant can “fail” and must be removed. To then replace the implant a bone graft will almost certainly be required to create a healthy and stable foundation for the new implant.
Old-fashioned peri-implantitis treatments
Traditional gum disease surgery is invasive, painful, and not particularly well-suited for peri-implantitis. Your implant relies on your healthy gum tissue for support. Gum disease surgery using a scalpel is imprecise and removes healthy gum tissue that your body needs.
Beyond that, painful and lengthy recoveries, as well as the need for multiple treatments are other drawbacks of traditional gum-disease surgery.
LAPIP — gum disease treatment without a scalpel
Using laser technology, Dr. Blodgett can treat gum disease near implants without a scalpel or stitches. There’s no cutting and the treatment, known as LAPIP, is truly minimally invasive.
Using a specially-designed laser, Dr. Blodgett attacks and destroys infected tissue without harming healthy gum tissue. Even better, the laser actually increases blood flow to the healthy tissue to help it recover faster!
Patients recover quickly from LAPIP and are often back to normal the next day without the need for strong prescription pain medication. The results are immediate. You’ll see healthier gums right away!
Prevention is key
While LAPIP is a miracle treatment for peri-implantitis, the best thing you can do to ensure the lifelong health of your dental implant is to prevent gum disease from taking hold.
- Eat a healthy diet – Foods high in antioxidants and low in sugar/acid help maintain the pH balance of your mouth and minimize the growth of harmful bacteria
- Brush and floss – Keep up with your brushing and flossing habits to keep bacteria from taking hold
- Don’t skip dental checkups – Brushing and flossing alone isn’t enough to completely prevent bacterial buildup. A thorough dental cleaning removes tartar and plaque and allows your dentist to spot the earliest stages of infection
- Ask About Perio Protect – At Blodgett Dental Care, we offer Perio Protect, an at-home gum-disease treatment that’s completely non-invasive. By using a special peroxide gel in custom made trays, you can kill bacteria and even whiten your teeth at the same time!