In the past, patients were very limited when it came to options for tooth replacement. However, dental technology has advanced at a rapid rate over the last decade, and patients who have lost a tooth have many choices when it comes to getting a bright, attractive smile again. In particular, there have been advancements in dental implants that make them much easier for the dentist to implement, and much more comfortable for the patient as well. Mill Dam Dental offers dental implants Virginia Beach residents can trust. We use the latest dental technology to build and install modern implants that look and feel like real teeth.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are attached to the base of your jaw to create a foundation for tooth replacement. They essentially replace the roots of your teeth, serving as an anchor for the crown, bridge, or dentures that are put on top of the implant. They are a preferred method for tooth replacement because they are very stable. Recent innovations in dental implants have made them highly customizable, so they can adjust to fit the natural structure of your mouth. When completely healed, dental implants usually look and feel very similar to natural teeth.
What are the advantages of dental implants?
There are many advantages to using dental implants over other types of tooth replacement. Recent technological advances now enable us to create implants quickly, and to make implants that are highly personalized and very safe for our patients. This means that dental implants feel the same as a natural tooth, and they look authentic as well. Unlike other less permanent forms of tooth replacement, dental implants do not affect your speech or eating habits. Since dental implants look so natural, they can really boost your confidence and help you feel happy with your smile. Additionally, dental implants are very durable – they’re designed to last a lifetime and are very easy to maintain. This means fewer trips to the dentist and less hassle overall.
Advances in Dental Implant Technology
In the past, building dental implants was a very time-intensive process. It required physically creating molds for the implant, which was difficult and required extreme attention to detail. However, recent advances in dental technology have made it much easier and faster for dentists to create effective dental implants. Now, we can use digital tools to assess the viability of a dental implant for a patient, design the implant in detail, and even guide the surgery to ensure success.
There are a number of specific technological advances that have completely changed the way we build dental implants. In particular, the ability to digitally map out implant design and placement has made them a much more viable solution for the average patient. Here’s an in-depth look at some of the technology we use to create implants for our patients.
Digital Implant Planning Software
Instead of having to physically mold dental implants, we can now design and plan them on a computer and send them off to a lab to be created. This makes the process of getting dental implants much faster for the patient and the dentist, allowing for more efficient treatment. We start by taking a facial scan of the patient’s face and mouth, which allows us to design an accurate implant without a physical mold. These software programs are already very advanced, but we expect to see them improve even more in the future, with even more detailed quality control features to ensure the implant is as safe and effective as possible. We also may see touch screen software programs that make it even easier for dentists to create effective digital implants.
Guided Implant Surgery
In addition to the amazing software available to us now, we also have incredible tools that guide the surgery process. These tools increase the accuracy of implant placement, making the surgery much faster and much easier for the dentist as well. The computer guides the entire implant surgery for the most accurate placement, controlling the angle and position of the implant as it is put into place. This makes the overall healing time faster as well, because it reduces the number of incisions the dentist needs to make. Our guided surgery tools are making implants much safer and easier to use, so they’ll be a viable option for a broader cross-section of patients.
3D printing has been incredibly helpful for the medical and dental field. Instead of having to build molds and tools from scratch, we can now design these things digitally using advanced software programs and print them quickly using a 3D printer. Using a 3D printer to create molds is not only more efficient, but it’s also more affordable for our patients and for our business. In the past, the most effective way to create a dental implant was to create a physical mold and send it to a lab. Since 3D printing is relatively affordable, now dentists can do a digital mouth scan, design a mold using advanced software programs, and print it in-house. This significantly reduces the overall consumer cost, because they won’t be paying to have the molds made in a lab. It’s likely that 3D printing will only get more affordable as time goes on, and it will become the norm for dentists to have a 3D printer in-house. Not only is this more convenient, but it means that people who may not have been able to afford dental implants in the past will now be able to use them.
In the past, patient options for crowns were very limited, and some patients would not heal well from the ceramic materials used in the crowns. Now, we can use crowns made of highly polished zirconia. Gums tend to react much more favorably to polished zirconia than traditional ceramic materials. These crowns are applied with screws instead of cement. They are made using advanced software programs that allow us to engineer a crown that looks and feels realistic, and is healthy for the mouth. Since the crowns are attached with a secure angulated screw, they are very sturdy and won’t break or chip. These zirconia crowns are much more durable than the crowns of the past, so they’ll last much longer with minimal need for maintenance. They’re also more comfortable and are more likely to integrate with the mouth in a healthy way, without irritation or rejection.
Am I a good candidate for dental implants?
Not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. There are some medical conditions that make it difficult or unsafe for your dentist to install the dental implants. While it is safe for most people to get dental implants, your dentist will need to do a thorough evaluation to make sure you are a good candidate before the procedure can begin. Here are some conditions that can prevent you from getting dental implants.
- Unstable jaw structure. If the bones in your mouth and face are not stable, your dentist will not be able to apply a dental implant. This is because the dental implant uses your jawbone as an anchor. If the implant doesn’t fuse to the bone effectively, it won’t be stable enough for long-term wear.
- Unmanaged gum disease. Gum irritation is very common, but when it isn’t properly managed, it can turn into gum disease. Gum disease can really wear down the structure of your mouth and make it difficult to place an implant. Luckily, most gum disease is treated before it gets to this point. You can live longer with proper dental hygiene, and this is one of many reasons why it’s so important to take care of your teeth and gums.
- Chronic conditions like diabetes or cancer. Some symptoms of chronic conditions can interfere with the stability of a potential implant. Because of this your dentist may prefer you to use another tooth replacement strategy, particularly if these conditions aren’t well managed.
- Alcoholism, smoking, or drug addiction. In many cases, these conditions can interfere with your immune system, so your dentist may not feel comfortable putting in an implant until these conditions are under control.
- Tooth grinding. If you chronically grind your teeth, you could quickly wear down your implants once they are in place. Because of this, it’s not always worth it to put in a tooth implant if you have these issues.
Even if you have one of these mitigating conditions, you may still be able to get dental implants once your condition is under control. With all of the new technology available to create dental implants, it’s easier than ever for your dentist to find a solution that works for your needs. In the unlikely event that you are not a good candidate for a dental implant, your dentist can help you find another tooth replacement solution.
bIf you have struggled with tooth loss, talk to your dentist about your options. They can do an evaluation to see if dental implants are right for you. Contact Mill Dam Dental today to learn more about dental implants and the other dental treatments we offer. We specialize in sedation dentistry in Virginia Beach, and care about creating a comfortable experience for all of our patients.