Some of the questions new patients ask periodontists about dental implants show that they’ve either been inadvertently misled by well-intentioned friends or family or are confused by what they’ve read on rather ambiguous online sources. The periodontist’s first job is to clarify any misconceptions and provide accurate information that these patients will need to help them make their dental implant decisions. And that information will be supported by the periodontist’s vast, hands-on experience as well as mounds of clinical-based evidence.
Here, Dr. Samuel Zfaz, a periodontist based in Boca Raton, Florida, dispels five myths about dental implants:
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We really take umbrage with this myth. As clinical professionals, we work hard to address all our patients’ concerns, not just physically, but mentally. We recognize that some patients are particularly fearful in a dental office situation, regardless of the purpose of the visit. Perhaps the fears are caused by a prior frightening dental experience as a child. Maybe it’s anxiety prompted by certain sights or smells. Sometimes it’s simply an inability to sit comfortably.
As board-certified periodontists, our top priorities include making sure you’re totally comfortable, relaxed, and pain-free during your dental implant procedure. Your mouth will be thoroughly numbed. If needed, additional forms of anesthesia can often be administered by skilled, fully certified professionals to ensure your experience is a phenomenal one in every respect.
False! Dental implants are composed of three reliable parts. The first is a sturdy titanium implant that is surgically inserted into your jaw and takes the place of a natural tooth root. Next, a strong “abutment” is screwed into this below-the-gum implant. Finally, the replacement tooth is affixed to the abutment. It’s the tooth-looking crown folks will see when you smile.
These three elements create an incredibly strong replacement “tooth” that can serve you a lifetime. Your jawbone will fuse around the implant in a totally natural process called osseointegration. The “root” becomes very sturdy, just like a real tooth root. With proper care and maintenance, the replacement tooth will function just like a real tooth.
Not true again. Patients ask us what special tools they’ll need to care for their dental implant. Our answer: Once the implant heals, you should take care of it like you do the rest of your natural teeth. That means using a soft toothbrush twice a day with a non-abrasive toothpaste and flossing daily. Fixed, multiple-tooth restorations may require slightly different techniques.
Electronic water flossers also help flush away food debris. Last, but not least, you’ll need regular dental professional checkups and, if you have gum disease, periodontal cleaning, as always, to make sure your professionals can address potential red flags (like gum disease infection) that might require intervention.
Absolutely not. Since the actual titanium “root” part of the dental implant lies below the gum line, no metal shows. Your restorative dentist will create a functional crown that is perfectly colored and shaped to match your other teeth. No one other than your dental professionals should be able to tell the difference.
We’ve treated patients of all ages and know that there’s no age limit for receiving dental implants. A reputable periodontist will always take the patient’s overall health into consideration, especially with our older patients. And, conversely, we’ll want to make sure that, in younger patients, their skeletal maturity has been fully reached and their jaw has stopped growing.
There’s no denying that helping you keep your natural, healthy teeth is always our first choice in patient care. But when that’s not possible, dental implants are, without a doubt, today’s best natural tooth replacement system. Find a board-certified periodontal professional who is an expert when it comes to ensuring you a comfortable and seamless dental implant procedure. The end result should be fully functional, easy-to-maintain replacement teeth— whether you’re 27 or 87!
Dr. Samuel Zfaz is a board-certified periodontist who practices with the South Florida Center for Periodontics & Implant Dentistry in Boca Raton, Florida.
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