A dental implant is a small man-made titanium fixture that serves as the replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. Dental implants can be placed in both the upper or lower jaws. Due to the biocompatible properties of titanium, a dental implant integrates with the bone and becomes a good anchor for the replacement tooth. Dental implants can be used in solutions for replacing single, multiple missing teeth or a complete full-mouth rehabilitation.
For more than 50 million Americans who are missing natural teeth, permanent tooth replacement offers a secure, comfortable, healthy, and better looking functional alternative to removable dentures or conventional bridgework. Ordinary removable dentures are a compromise at best.
Removable dentures sit on top of the gums, so they don't feel like real teeth. And they don't work like real teeth, either.
Most people with dentures have to limit the foods they eat. Studies have shown that complete dentures are only 25% as efficient as natural teeth. With dental implants, chewing is much more efficient, thereby decreasing potential for gastrointestinal problems.
Dentures can cause embarrassment--by slipping when you speak and by the bad-mouth odors they often harbor. They can cause gum irritation and pain. They take extra work to keep clean. And a drop on the floor or in the sink can mean cracked dentures...often at the most inconvenient time.
Worst of all, without the constant exercise of chewing with firmly anchored teeth, the bones and muscles in denture wearers' jaws progressively deteriorate--making the wearer look prematurely old.
Traditional conventional bridges must be attached to adjacent natural teeth. Doing this destroys the enamel of these healthy teeth. It can also irritate the nerve, requiring root canal treatment. And it can affect the gums, creating unsightly black lines at the base of teeth.
Worst of all, bridges are not a permanent solution. National studies indicate that fixed bridges supported by natural teeth last only five to seven years on average. Any tooth that has a dental restoration placed into it will eventually require replacement.
Implants restorations will not break down or decay. They provide a truly permanent solution.
The Brånemark System® is a method of permanent tooth replacement developed by Professor Per-Ingvar Brånemark, MD, Ph.D., of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. In the 1950's, Dr. Brånemark made the startling observation that living bone forms a biological bond to the space-age metal titanium.
He ingeniously saw that this natural process--which he called osseointegration--could make permanent replacement of lost teeth possible. The method he developed--using very specialized surgical techniques and commercially pure titanium materials manufactured by Nobel Biocare--came to be called the Brånemark System®.
Replacing lost teeth with permanent implants was originally done in three steps. During the early years of dental implant technology, these three steps were performed months apart, forcing the patient to wear a removable prosthesis for a lengthy duration. Today, with Teeth In A Day and Teeth In an Hour treatment, these steps have been combined and treatment has been shortened and simplified.
On the day of implant placement, the doctors at Pi Dental Center will remove any unsightly teeth, periodontal disease and infected tissue. Then using the Brånemark Implant System, an appropriate number of implants, (the sub-structure of the prosthesis) will be gently placed within the bone. During this procedure, the laboratory team will prepare temporary but highly esthetic non-removable teeth especially adapted to each patient's face and smile line. The patient leaves the office with a stable, cosmetically pleasing smile. Several months later when the implants have totally fused or integrated to the natural bone, the temporary prosthesis will be replaced with a stronger permanent one. The replacement teeth are carefully crafted to complement the natural teeth and unique characteristics of the face.
In the past, restoring the mouth with dental implants was a long process. Today, the entire process has been shortened allowing a patient to leave the office on the first day of treatment with a beautiful and functional set of non-removable teeth.
The special high-purity titanium components used in the Brånemark System® are supplied by their manufacturer, Nobel Biocare, only to dentists who have completed an approved training program, in which they learn how to use the specially designed instruments and the meticulous techniques necessary to perform the surgery and handle the titanium materials.
In the United States, Dr. Thomas Balshi was one of the first doctors trained to use the Brånemark System®. Since then, he and his associates at Pi Dental Center have placed over thirty-thousand titanium implants!
At Pi Dental Center, in the Philadelphia suburb of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, Dr. Balshi established the first Brånemark System® training center in the state. Dental professionals from around the world come to our center in Fort Washington for continuing education and advanced training in implant dentistry.
A charter member and Fellow of the Academy of Osseointegration, Dr. Balshi is also founder and past president of the Pennsylvania Prosthodontic Association, a Diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics, and a Fellow of the American College of Prosthodontists. In addition, the entire staff of Pi Dental Center are active contributors to the field of dental medicine--as teachers, researchers, lecturers, and authors.
Hard research data. The Brånemark System® is one of the most extensively and carefully researched procedures in modern dentistry, and is still the gold-standard by which all others are compared.
Building on decades of careful development in the laboratory, 25 years of clinical experience worldwide and over 200,000 patients in America alone, the Brånemark System® has posted an extraordinary long-term success rate. (At Pi Dental Center, more than 99.8% of patients enjoy truly permanent replacement teeth.*)
The Brånemark System® is accepted by the American Dental Association and practiced at leading medical centers, such as the Mayo Clinic.
* Results based on dental implants and dental bridges remaining and in function over a ten-year period.
No. Anyone with missing teeth may benefit. The Brånemark System® can be used to replace a few missing teeth--or even just one. And because replacement teeth are anchored directly to the jawbone--rather than to adjacent teeth, as in conventional bridgework--there's no need to compromise healthy teeth.
Very little. The minor surgical procedure required to insert the implants is surprisingly gentle and normally requires only local anesthesia. Afterwards, most patients have minimal discomfort that is easily controlled by mild pain medication.
Yes, but only the special care everybody should normally give their teeth--daily brushing and flossing and regular cleaning by a Registered Dental Hygienist.
Anyone who is missing one or more teeth due to injury, disease or tooth decay may be a candidate for dental implants. The main determining factor is the amount of available bone. Your dentist is the best person to evaluate whether dental implants are a viable solution for you. As with any surgical procedure, patients who smoke have a slightly higher risk than non-smokers, but many have been successfully treated at Pi Dental Center.
Occasionally, older patients express concern that their age may prevent them from enjoying the benefits of dental implants. However, health is more of a determining factor than age. If you’re healthy enough to have a tooth extracted, you’re probably healthy enough to receive dental implants. Certain chronic diseases may contraindicate dental implant treatment. The doctors at Pi Dental Center can determine if you are a candidate for dental implants after a careful evaluation of your dental and health history.
People who have felt embarrassed and worried because of their tooth problems are often overwhelmed by what new permanent teeth can do for their self-esteem!
Article date: May 28, 2008