Extending Your Chance for Dental Implants Part 6
September 02, 2017
By Alexander Germanis
That ship has sailed,” is a saying meaning it is too late to do something; it is a phrase that can ring quite true when it comes to certain aspects of one’s health. Whether it is something like getting a cancerous tumor removed or performing necessary physical therapy after a major surgery, if things are not done within a timely manner, the end result can be detrimental, even life threatening.
Timing is important in dental health as well. Routine maintenance and regular check-ups can mean the difference between keeping a healthy mouth and losing one’s teeth. Even with the advent of dental implants, timing is still an essential aspect of determining whether or not someone could get implants or not after tooth loss.
When a tooth or teeth are lost, the jawbone in which they were rooted slowly begins to resorb, meaning the structure of the bone starts to break down into its component cells, which then disperse into the body’s circulation.
“Some people are more predisposed to having bone resorption than others,” says Emil Verban, Jr., DDS. “You can’t predict how much bone an individual is going to lose when a tooth is removed.”
“But with dental implants, you don’t have bone resorption,” he continues. “The implants fool the body into thinking there is still a root there.”
However, as implants are not commonly covered by many insurance plans yet, economics and finance can also postpone a person’s ability to get an implant after the loss of a tooth. Fortunately, there is a way to keep the proverbial ship from sailing away as quickly as it once did back when implants were first introduced.
“When we remove a tooth, if we don’t place an implant within a three to six month period of time, we can do a ridge replacement procedure,” Dr. Verban explains. “The ridge replacement procedure is one in which we place a bone grafting material in the extraction site that will help prevent the loss of the bone over time to give you the option of placing an implant within a year or two.”
Keeping that implant window open is certainly good news. What about those who have already been living with significant tooth loss for an extended period of time?
For denture wearers, there is still an issue with bone resorption. Because dentures can become so uncomfortable and ill-fitting due to bone loss, there are many denture wearers who no longer want to wear their dentures at all.
Dr. Verban explains how dental implants of a different type can help them as well. “We can place small diameter implants depending on how much bone is available. Implants for those individuals can be used as stabilizers to hold the denture.”
The small-diameter implant is placed in the jaw much as a normal dental implant, meaning it becomes a permanent prosthesis. But, as opposed to being the anchor for a single artificial tooth, the implant becomes an anchor for the patient’s existing dentures. A special attachment can be affixed to the dentures that will connect it to these implant anchors. “So you can have dentures and still have the ability to take your dentures in and out,” Dr. Verban says.
This solution is generally far more preferable to needing to get a new set of dentures made. Furthermore, having the implants placed can prevent further bone loss in the jaw, which would eventually lead to ill-fitting dentures once again.
Whether it is making dentures fit again or extending the chance to get implants for new teeth, modern dental implant procedures are being better implemented to keep the ship of opportunity from sailing away for good.
To learn about another new technique used to prevent bone loss in the mouth and extend the ability to get implants, read, “Treatment of Choice, Part 7” in next month’s Healthy Cells Magazine. If you missed the previous articles in this series, you can read them online at www.HealthyCellsBN.com or call Cheryl at 309-664-2524.
For more information, you may contact Emil Verban, Jr., DDS at 309-662-8448 or visit www.mcleancountydental.com. McLean County Dental is located at 2103 E. Washington Street in Bloomington. Dr. Verban provides his patients both general dentistry expertise and the ability to provide specialized services such as sedation dentistry, cosmetic procedures, and dental implants.
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