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Tooth Replacement: Restore Your Missing Tooth with a Dental Implant


Dental Implants: When Ancient Innovation and Modern Technology Meet!

Although considered by many to be one of the greatest innovations within the modern dental field, the origins of today’s dental implant can actually be traced back to around 600 AD!  Long ago, ancient civilizations such as the Mayans and Aztecs were among the first known people to conceptualize the idea of replacing a broken or damaged tooth. However, as evidenced by ancient society’s utilization of seashells as makeshift replacements, or the ivory (not wood) set of dentures worn by George Washington during his presidency, finding an adequate replacement for something as vital as a tooth is no easy feat! 

Fortunately for us, we live in an age where the dental implant has evolved into a marvel of modern dental technology, thus allowing dentists to provide patients everywhere with a seemingly flawless replacement that is certain to exceed expectations!


Dental Implant: Purpose and Function 

To gain a full understanding of dental implants, one must first understand why it is necessary to replace missing teeth in the first place. While obviously having missing teeth make it exceptionally more difficult to chew and break down food, something you might not realize is that underneath a tooth’s crown (or exposed portion of the tooth) is what’s known as the root (or lower half of the tooth). Much like the submerged portion of an iceberg, the root of the tooth descends far beneath the gum line, and serves to both keep your tooth securely anchored within your mouth, in addition to providing the tooth with the sustenance needed to survive. If a tooth is damaged or destroyed; however, the sensitive nerves and vessels required to nourish the root are left exposed to any hazardous bacteria within your mouth. Without necessary protection from bacteria, the exposed tissue will surely become infected, thereby causing gum disease to develop.

Related Article: Gum Disease: Know Thy Enemy and Protect Your Health 

Due to the potentially serious complications associated with gum disease, a replacement should be sought out as soon as possible. While there are several different options to choose for replacing a tooth, it comes at little surprise that dental implants have emerged as one of the most popular options. 

As you may know, dental implants come in the form of a screw-like device that is designed to act as a base for the newly created dental crown. Once surgically inserted within the patient’s mouth, the crown is securely screwed into place, ultimately creating a sturdy replacement that will look and function like a natural tooth. With a long-term success rate of approximately 98%, implants are indeed the most effective option for replacing a missing tooth. Despite this however, it’s important to remember that implants are not for everyone and might not always be the correct solution, in the section below we will highlight the requirements needed to receive a dental implant and what situations could prevent someone from receiving an implant. 

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Dental Implant: Are You a Candidate?

If you wish to receive a dental implant, a dentist or oral surgeon must first determine whether you are a candidate to receive one. While the vast majority of people are able to meet the candidacy criterion, there are certain conditions that could possibly hinder a patient’s eligibility or outright disqualify them from implant candidacy, such conditions are listed as follows: 

Youth: First and foremost, you must understand that a dental implant is NOT a quick fix. An Implant is a long-term replacement for missing teeth and is not recommended for adolescents or patients whose jawbone might still be developing. While temporary solutions can be made available for younger patients, implants are generally reserved for adults who are otherwise in good overall health. 

Smoking: Although this might be a deal-breaker for some, it is important to realize that despite their high success rate, implants are far more likely to fail if the patient receiving them is a regular smoker. Due to the increased probability of failure, dentists may be unwilling to perform the procedure on patients who smoke and will often request the patient to quit prior to receiving an implant.

Gum Disease: Periodontitis or gum disease as it is commonly known, is a progressive infection of the gum tissue in which (if left untreated) can significantly damage the teeth, gums, and jawbone, and could trigger additional illnesses through the body. Indeed, gum disease can be the cause of tooth loss, however it is essential that the condition be treated prior to undergoing implant surgery. 

Pregnancy: For mothers who are currently expecting, your dentist will likely ask you to postpone receiving a dental implant until after childbirth, thereby avoiding any unnecessary stress during pregnancy. 

Untreated Diabetes: If you suffer from diabetes, you can still be eligible to undergo dental implant surgery; however, you MUST have the condition under control first! Only when you have sought out the proper medical treatment and stabilized your condition, will you be a viable candidate for treatment. 

Medications: While the majority of prescription medications shouldn’t present a problem, certain medications such as steroids or any drugs that may suppress the immune system (such as blood thinners) can increase the risk of complications during implant surgery. Therefore, it is imperative that your dentist be informed as to any and all medications you are currently taking prior to the implant treatment. 

Related Article: Are You a Dental Implant Candidate?


Dental Implant: A Few Things to Remember!

Although many of the aforementioned conditions could possibly prevent you from being a candidate for dental implant surgery, it’s important to remember that each patient’s situation is different and there might be ways to reestablish your candidacy depending on the given circumstance. While obvious examples of this such as quitting smoking, treating diabetes, and postponing surgery until after pregnancy, have already been discussed, there are several additional procedures that can restore one’s candidacy as well. If a patient has sustained any sort of bone loss, (due to facial trauma, periodontal disease, or other illnesses) procedures such as bone grafting or a sinus lift can be effective methods of restoring a patient’s jawbone, thereby providing it with the strength necessary to support a dental implant. 

If you have a missing tooth and would like to schedule a consultation to determine your candidacy for a dental implant, contact your nearest Overland Park Dentistry location!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Fan Favorite: Tooth Replacement with Dental Implants

Teeth are Indispensable

Obviously, your teeth are one of the most vital aspects of everyday life, whether it’s munching on your favorite snack or grinning ear to ear for a photo op, if you have one or several missing teeth, such a simple task becomes THAT much harder.

Fortunately, within the ever-expanding realm of dental technology, there are a variety of different ways to replace teeth that have been lost or significantly damaged. Many dentists will agree that tooth replacement with Dental implants are unquestionably the most effective method to replace a tooth, and if you meet the candidacy requirements, dental implants are generally your most viable option.

Dental Implants: The Best Option

The modern dental implant has become something of a fan favorite among the dental community for its ability to provide a cosmetically pleasing and durable solution for those in need of a permanent replacement. Hiding under your gumline, are what is known as your teeth’s roots. The roots keep your tooth anchored within its socket, while simultaneously connecting it to the nerves and blood vessels within the jaw, therefore essentially serving as your tooth’s life source. If a tooth is significantly (or entirely) destroyed however, then it is necessary to not only replace the tooth itself, but also its means of keeping itself in place. To achieve this, an implant platform is to be inserted within the jawbone, in order to create a base for the artificial tooth (or crown) to be held in place. Once in place, the platform and crown are connected via a small screw which can be designed to support one or several crowns, ultimately resulting in a sturdy replacement that looks and functions like natural teeth.

What Are the Candidacy Requirements?

As mentioned earlier, to receive a dental implant you do need to meet the candidacy requirements. While implants are typically the best solution for the majority of patients, it’s important realize that implants might not always be the right solution depending on a patient’s medical history. In the section below are several issues that could POSSIBLY disqualify a patient from receiving a tooth replacement with dental implants.

  1. Periodontitis: Also known as gum disease, periodontitis is an infection within the gumline which causes the gum tissue, teeth, and (in severe cases) jawbone to slowly deteriorate. Any patients suffering from periodontitis much have the condition treated prior to receiving implant surgery.
  2. Diabetes: While diabetes doesn’t automatically disqualify a patient from receiving a dental implant, the patient must have the condition under control, and are required to consult with a primary care physician before receiving the treatment.
  3. Smoking: Although smoking is personal choice, it’s important to realize that smoking does exponentially increase the risk of implant failure. Therefore, any patients receiving dental implants are strongly encouraged to quit.
  4. Youth/Pregnancy: Younger patients whose jaws might still be growing should wait until their jaw has fully developed before seeking implants. Likewise, women who are pregnant are also required to wait until after childbirth to receive treatment.
  5. Osteopenia: Patients with osteopenia suffer from low bone density and are generally not encouraged to receive dental implants. However, it should be mentioned that implants are sometimes possible in this scenario by way of bone grafting.
  6. Poor Overall Health: Although relatively minor, its important to understand that the dental implant process is a form of surgery and therefore a patent must be healthy enough to undergo the procedure. Therefore, if a patient has any additional underlying health issues or concerns that they are aware of, a proper assessment of such issues should be taken before any treatment can proceed.

Going Above and Beyond

While not all dental providers offer tooth replacements with dental implants, at Overland Park Dentistry we believe in going above and beyond for our patients. Therefore, as part of our restorative-based treatments, we have dental implants available to those in need of tooth replacements and are certainly willing to help you! If you are in need of a tooth replacement or would like to find out if you’re a candidate for dental implants please feel free to contact our offices and remember to always keep smiling! 

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.