Dental Implants

Restoration of a Sure Foundation

If you’ve lost permanent teeth due to an accident, injury, disease or extraction, you may want to know more about dental implants. Implants are often considered a secure, functional replacement option because they do not rely on neighboring teeth for support.

Of course, you may wonder about the advantages of implants compared to other tooth replacement measures such as bridges, partials, or full dentures. A good way to understand this is to consider the logic behind repairing your home. For example, if termites destroyed one of your home’s major structural supports on the bottom story of your two-story home, you wouldn’t think of simply placing another support in that position, without first anchoring it solidly to the frame of the home. Even though it would require taking apart and reconstructing part of the second story floor, you’d go ahead and do the work, to ensure that the new post was firmly integrated into the infrastructure. Otherwise, the neighboring supports would be forced to bear more weight than they were designed to bear, causing weakening, shifting, and eventual break-down of those beams as well. At some point, your whole upper floor would sag or tilt.

Well, the function your teeth serve in your mouth is similar to the function of those structural supports in your home. So once a tooth or group of teeth is lost from your normal dentition, the biomechanics of your entire bite are off-kilter. Remaining teeth have to absorb more pressure than they’re designed to absorb in normal biting and chewing, thus causing over-wear, shifting, migrating, and possible loss. And the jawbone below the missing teeth doesn’t receive enough pressure, which leads to atrophy.

But fortunately, because implants are permanently, surgically anchored to the jawbone as tooth root substitutes, they halt the downhill progression of tooth loss and further long-term damage. Implants actually re-institute proper distribution of pressure, prevent jawbone atrophy, restore normal eating ability, and provide face muscle support.

Basic Bone Bonding
Implants are tiny posts, made of either a metallic or bone-like ceramic material. One variety is inserted into your jawbone below the gum surface, at the location of the missing tooth. The bone then bonds to the post and forms a secure foundation onto which artificial teeth may be attached and shaped to match your existing teeth. If your jawbone is insufficient for such as procedure, we can fit a custom-made metal framework directly onto the existing bone instead. Implants may also provide an anchor for bridgework. The typical implant process requires a couple of separate steps: "anchoring" and then "attachment".

First, the tooth root substitute "post" is surgically inserted into the jaw-bone below the gum tissue. We do this step in conjunction with a renowned periodontist; then conduct the next step at our office the same day. This ‘immediate load’ implant provides you with a functional, normal looking tooth on top of your post, allowing you to continue normal eating habits during the three to six month period that follows. This period of time is required to form a solid, enduring base with sufficient stability to withstand the tremendous mechanical pressure involved in normal chewing.

Guided Gum Growth
Once the implant post has bonded with the jawbone, a second surgery fixes the top of the implant onto the anchor post. To accomplish this, we carefully uncover each implant anchor, connect it to a small post that protrudes above the gum-line, and completely cover it with a previously designed, custom-made, permanent artificial tooth. A key factor in your final result, is Dr. Carano’s careful ‘tissue guidance’ technique. He actually directs the gum tissue growth around the implant to ensure that the new gumline matches your natural smile.

The result is a secure, attractive, replacement tooth or set of teeth, designed to function as effectively as the remaining natural teeth. Depending on the number of teeth involved, this final step in the implant process usually requires no more than two months to complete.

Proven Placement & Potential Problems
Those unfamiliar with implant technology may also question the procedure’s success rate. The technology is approximately 20 years old, and has proven effective as a means of tooth replacement; the degree of success depending primarily on both the recipient's health, and the location and function of the teeth being replaced. Teeth placed in the lower front jaw may be up to 95% successful, while side or rear placements may be only 85% successful. It's also best to be in good general health, with proper bone structure and healthy gums. Often, people unable to wear dentures are among those who benefit most from implants. On the other hand, chronic health problems such as clenching, bruxism, or systemic diseases may decrease the success rate of the procedure immensely. Finally, if you who smoke or drink alcohol, you may also be a poor candidate for implants.

Cost, Commitment & Care
Due to the surgery involved, implant procedures are typically more expensive than traditional bridgework. However, dental and medical insurance may cover portions of such restoration. It's best to discuss this with Dr. Carano and our staff during your evaluation for implant placement, so that we can assist you in working with your insurance company.

Finally, as an implant candidate, you’ll want to seriously consider your own commitment to future oral health. In fact, poor oral hygiene is a common reason for implant failure. So, you'll want to be sure and brush and floss around your fixtures at least twice a day, according to the specific instructions we give you. Further, you may need up to four annual professional cleanings to maintain healthy gums.

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5938 West Parker Road, Plano, Texas 75093