Dr. Alan Davenport Explains the Functional and Aesthetic Benefits of Dental Implants

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Dr. Alan L. Davenport of DavenportDental in Orland Park recently took the time to explain the functional and aesthetic benefits of dental implants.

Question:  What are the benefits of dental implants?
Answer:  In general, dental implants can restore the mouth to its full capabilities.  Not only will they make your smile look natural, but they also return your missing teeth to full function.  If you happen to be missing multiple teeth, dental implants can help anchor your bridges and dentures.  Dental implants are primarily for functional reasons, but they can also boost self-esteem, for those people who have lost front teeth, as well as add confidence in chewing anything . . . like corn on the cob or apples.  Once implemented, not only will the patient’s teeth look real, but they will be able to eat what they would like, with no limitations.  Most importantly, once a tooth is lost, the bone in that area will start to disappear.  Dental implants help to preserve bone in your jaw, by stimulating the adjacent bone like natural teeth do.

Question:  Who is a candidate for dental implants?
Answer:  Anyone who is missing one tooth or multiple teeth is a possible candidate for dental implants.  Dental implant patients are typically anyone who is a young adult or older.

Question:  What exactly is a dental implant made out of?
Answer:  Dental implants today are made out of medical grade titanium, which is a bio-compatible precious metal.  All parts of the medical field use titanium.  Once the implant is placed, your body grows more bone and fuses to the implant.  An implant’s connection to the surrounding bone is even stronger than that of a natural tooth.

Question: What are the different types of dental implants a patient can receive?
Answer:  There are many different shapes, sizes, and brands of dental implants which is all dependant on what exact tooth is missing, what the quality and quantity of bone is available, and what the final dental prosthesis is going to be.

Question:  What is the difference between a three-unit bridge and a single tooth implant?
Answer:  The main difference between a three-unit bridge and a single tooth implant is the longevity.  A three-unit bridge last on average of ten years while a tooth implant can last a lifetime.  Also, when you use a three-unit bridge, the teeth on each side of the missing tooth is affected.  The three-unit bridge can cause stress on the other two teeth, and the bridge is harder to keep clean.  Unlike bridges, which are still susceptible to cavities, implants cannot decay.   Long term, dental implants are a much more efficient solution.  

Question:  What is the procedure from start to finish for obtaining dental implant?
Answer:  If a patient is losing a tooth or teeth, the first step is extraction(s) and bone grafting.  Bone grafting preserves bone height and width during the healing process.  Obviously, the longer or wider the implant, the more surface of the implant is available to be fused to the bone.  Once the tooth is lost, a recovery period is required.  Since the existing bone and grafted bone must be healed before any work can be started, the patient’s recovery time is typically two-four months for lower implants and four-six months for upper implants.  Once the bone has healed, the patient can now have an implant placed to replace the roots of the teeth that are missing.   Once again there is a healing period, and the bone totally fuses with the implant. After this, the implant is finally available to be used to replace missing teeth.

Question:  What kind of technology is used in the dental implant process?
Answer:  Technology in the dental field has helped to expedite the process of dental implants, such as better implant options, better implant attachment options, improved bone grafting procedures and better diagnostics with cone beam radiography, which allows the surgeon to access your bone in 3D before the surgery even occurs.

Question:  How long do dental implants last?  What factors contribute to long-term success?
Answer:  Implants are the closest things, that we as dentists can offer, that have the potential to last a patient’s lifetime.  When done correctly and maintained, you can count on years and years of service from your implants.  

About Davenport Dental

At Davenport Dental, we provide a wide variety of cosmetic dentistry options available to get you the most perfect smile possible, including natural-looking porcelain veneers, crowns, and tooth-colored composite fillings. If you're interested in a whiter smile, we also offer a range of gentle bleaching procedures to brighten your smile.
Davenport Dental is located at 10660 W. 143rd Street, Suite E in Orland Park, Illinois. Call us today at (708) 460-0200 for an appointment with Dr. Davenport or visit us online at www.smileillinois.com. Please don't hesitate to contact Davenport Dental if you have any questions. We are here to help, and look forward to speaking with you.