July 22, 2014 A dental tooth implant is a natural looking titanium tooth root placed into the jaw to hold a replacement tooth or teeth. Since the titanium in dental implants biochemically joins to the jawbone it provides along-lasting bonded artificial tooth that replicates the original teeth. Because the tooth implant connects directly to the jawbone, the implant looks natural, offering greater stability in chewing and eliminating the need for cumbersome dentures or bridges. Who is a candidate for dental implants? The average adult between the ages of 20 and 64 has three or more decaying or missing teeth, and more than 75 percent of the population suffers from periodontal disease, the No. 1 cause of tooth loss in adults 35 years old and older. If you’re like the majority of Americans who have dealt with tooth loss, on a small or large scale, dental implants are the most stable, natural remedy to replacing those teeth. Dental implant patients must be in general good oral health, and our patients vary from missing one or two teeth, to needing an entire mouthful replaced. What are the benefits of dental implants? When teeth are lost, the surrounding bone immediately begins to atrophy, or shrink. Wearing full or partial dentures can actually accelerate bone loss, and old dentures become loose accordingly. Teeth implants, on the other hand: Maintain bone in the jaw, as if it were a natural tooth. Maintain the health of adjacent teeth. Dental implants securely hold teeth in place without affecting or weakening neighboring teeth. The teeth on either side of the missing tooth don’t have to be cut down or modified in any way. Support dentures and partials, making them feel more natural and secure. Dental implants also minimize further bone loss of the denture ridge. Restore chewing function to the equivalent of natural teeth. Teeth implants are stronger than a fixed bridge and actually even stronger than the original tooth. Feel, look and function like your natural teeth. Are highly successful and, with proper care, can last a lifetime. The single tooth implant success rate is above 98 percent, and implant-supported bridges or dentures have a 95 percent success rate over 10 years. What is the process of getting dental implants? First and foremost, at Caffaratti DDS Cosmetic & General Dentistry, we perform a thorough examination to review general oral health and jawbone structure to determine whether a patient is an ideal candidate for dental implants. We use NewTom Cone Beam 3D scans to capture a complete dento-maxillo-facial record. Using the system software, we can develop multiple types of 3D images, including primary reconstruction images. The first step in the dental implant process is oral surgery to place titanium implants where the natural tooth or teeth once existed. The new implant or implants will be covered by a temporary crown, bridge or denture, serving as a provisional tooth. Over the next three to six months, the titanium implants will fuse with the jawbone, creating a solid foundation for the next step. Once the implants are integrated, the permanent crown, bridge or denture will be attached to the implant. These restorations are customized to match your natural teeth so they will blend seamlessly with your smile. For individuals who have had so much bone loss that the remaining bone ridge is too thin to hold an implant, synthetic or natural bone can be grafted or grown to allow for treatment. How difficult and painful is the procedure? While the entire dental implant procedure can take nine to 12 months for completion, it’s actually a minimally invasive procedure. The jawbone, to which we’re connecting the implants, doesn’t have any nerves in it to cause pain. We are proud to offer sedation dentistry because we know there are patients who have a strong fear of having dental work done, especially when it comes to major procedures like dental implants. For a variety of reasons, it’s very common for us to use sedation dentistry for our dental implant patients. Dr. Caffaratti is a graduate of the prestigious Misch Institute, where he earned his Mastership Degree in Dental Implantology. Call us today at (775) 204-2532 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Caffaratti, and you’ll be on your way to a beautiful smile!