New York City Dental Implants
Tooth loss can have a major impact on a person’s dental health, quality of life, and confidence. Removable dentures and dental bridges have been the go-to options for years to replace missing teeth, but these fixes come with significant drawbacks. Dentures slip and slide and offer little chewing power, while dental bridges require modifying the tooth structure on the surrounding teeth and do not replace the tooth’s root. Fortunately, there are no longer the only options for tooth replacement. Dental implants can help patients restore their beautiful smiles permanently and come highly recommended by dental professionals all over the world.
Dental implants have become the gold standard in dental medicine for replacing missing teeth, as they spare the surrounding structures while also preserving the levels of bone in the jaw. The artificial teeth function as normal teeth and help strengthen the dentition as a whole. Implants offer a more permanent tooth replacement solution that helps patients maintain their quality of life. Restorative dentist and oral surgeon, Marc Lazare, D.D.S., M.A.G.D. practices general and cosmetic dentistry in New York City and specializes in restoring dental implants.
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a two-part device that permanently replaces both the visible part of the tooth and the root structures beneath the gumline. During an easy, minor surgical procedure, a biocompatible titanium post is placed into the bone of the jaw to replace the tooth’s root, and a replacement artificial tooth is secured to its surface inside the mouth. The post will integrate with area bone over time, and remains securely fixed for the patient’s lifetime. A custom-designed artificial tooth also called a crown, is attached to the screw above the gumline.
Implants are often indistinguishable from natural teeth except when seen on dental X-rays. They feel and function like normal teeth. The color, shape, and size of each new tooth will be crafted to match the surrounding teeth. Dental implants can provide patients with a more beautiful smile, replacing missing teeth, unhealthy teeth, or teeth that do not match the set due to imperfections in their size, shape, or color. Implants are highly customizable so individual results may vary.
An implant can support a single crown, a fixed bridge, or overlying implant-supported dentures. Practitioners and patients alike see dental implants as a superior treatment option over other types of tooth replacement in most cases, especially when only a single tooth is missing. A fixed dental bridge will also stabilize the area of a single missing tooth, but this procedure requires the teeth on either side of the treatment site to have some surrounding tooth structure ground down to allow room for the materials of the three unit crown fixture to be placed. Implant-supported dentures combine a permanent fixture with removable dentures for cases where multiple dental implants are not feasible.
There are currently two approved types of dental implants available, Endosteal implants and Subperiosteal implants.
Endosteal implant surgery is the more popular two-part implant procedure, during which the surgical screw, cylinder, or post is first implanted into the patient’s jawbone. After adequate healing of the surrounding bone and soft tissues, the tooth is secured to the post. A single crown can be fixed into place, or multiple artificial teeth in the form of a bridge or denture can be connected to the post.
Rather than being screwed into the jawbone, a subperiosteal implant consists of a metal frame that is situated below the gum tissue, resting over the jawbone. As the gums heal, they fix the frame in place so it is secured to the jawbone. The frame contains one or more posts so the artificial teeth can be mounted. Each post rises above the gumline so the new teeth can be attached. This technique is not as popular or common as the endosteal implants.
Single-Tooth Instant Dental Implants Following Extraction
In many cases, patients undergo dental implant surgery following tooth extraction. Typically, the dental surgeons will delay implant placement for approximately four-six months following the removal, allowing the socket to heal. Experts have studied this practice for over a decade, however, and find that in select cases, it more advantageous to place an implant directly following the extraction.
According to an article in the 1997 Journal of Practical Periodontics and Aesthetic Dentistry, the immediate placement of a single tooth following extraction is best suited for teeth lost due to trauma, fracture, root canal failure, and root absorption caused by residual baby teeth. Some dental professionals believe that bone growth is especially apt to occur following tooth removal. The implant may require between two and six months for the addition of a crown due to the initial lack of contact between the bone and implant.
Why the Dental Implant Procedure?
Almost every restorative dentist will highly recommend dental implants as the best option available after natural, healthy teeth. Some patients are born with undersized teeth, vacant areas where the teeth should have grown, or have lost one or more of their teeth due to trauma or decay. Dental implants can restore a full set of teeth and a beautiful smile, creating a stronger and healthier mouth. The artificial tooth and root structure feel natural in the mouth, so patients cannot distinguish between their natural teeth and those that were surgically placed. Thanks to the enhanced chewing power that implants provide, patients can enjoy every type of food and gain the added bonus of an improved appearance. Properly-designed implants can also improve speaking issues related to oral health.
When the root structure of the tooth is not present in the maxilla and mandible (the upper and lower jawbones), the bones can actually shrink, resulting in a much older appearance and even causing facial collapse. Undergoing an implant procedure helps patients to maintain the normal anatomy of the area. Because the teeth are an important component of one’s overall aesthetics, their restoration can help people to regain confidence. While dental implants may require routine adjustments over time, they are designed to last a lifetime and require no special care other than brushing, flossing, and cleanings with a dentist.
Candidates for Dental Implants
Replacement teeth through dental implants are an excellent permanent solution to severely damaged or missing teeth. Implants are best suited for patients whose jawbones are fully mature, a process that is completed by the late teen years or early twenties. There should be ample tissue to work with, so those with poor quality or insufficient bone due to bone loss are not ideal candidates as the implants must be either anchored or supported by bone. Bone grafts may be required before these patients can receive implants.
Issues can also arise when there is not sufficient space between the teeth to accommodate an implant, or when important anatomical structures are present at the implant site. Some chronic diseases affect patient candidacy for the procedure as well. Those with ongoing sinus issues, diabetes, or osteoporosis may have problems with the quality of the maxilla and mandible. Smokers may also be at risk for inferior results. It is important for Dr. Lazare to assess each patient’s expected outcome so he can provide realistic expectations for what dental implants can accomplish for both the health and aesthetics of the mouth.
Through carefully-designed treatment plans and placement selection, implants can be a great way to address bone loss or missing teeth. Dr. Lazare will assess each patient’s health history, take digital scans or impressions of the mouth, and capture digital dental X-rays during the initial appointment. A CAT scan can also be performed to address bone quality and an approach for dental implant placement. Even in patients who may not have enough bone material in certain areas of the jaw, implants may still be an option on a case-by-case basis. After placement, the implant will encourage new bone formation. During consultations at his office in New York City, Dr. Lazare works with each patient to develop a treatment plan that is suited to their individual situation.
Caring for Dental Implants
Some patients are under the impression that because the biocompatible materials used in dental implants are man-made, that the teeth do not require regular hygiene. On the contrary, good care of the teeth, gums, and mouth coupled with regular visits to the dentists helps patients maintain good oral health. Though implants are resistant to cavities and periodontal disease, the teeth are newly susceptible to peri-implantitis, which is inflammation of the tissues that surround the implant. The condition is preventable with good brushing and flossing habits. Some patients may benefit from using an oral irrigator, rubber tip stimulator, or brush flossers rather than tape floss for the best at-home care.
Many thanks to Dr. Lazare for such beautiful smiles on our wedding day. We are forever grateful.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Implants
The doctor will performs dental implant surgery under local anesthesia, and with some patients, the addition of intravenous sedation. If medically necessary, general anesthesia may prove to be the better option, depending on a patient’s medical history. Patients may experience some postoperative swelling and residual discomfort, which can be reduced with pain medications. Dr. Lazare and the specialists he refers to take every step to ensure great dental experiences for his patients.
Dental implants can promote the regeneration of lost bone while restoring a healthy bite and a full set of teeth in patients who are lacking one or more of these vital attributes. Dental implants can attribute to healthy wear of the gums, while also improving a person’s looks. For these reasons, dental implants are highly recommended following tooth loss.
Candidates for implant dentistry, whether approved for immediate placement after extraction or not, should understand that replacing missing teeth can be a lengthy process. Dr. Lazare is careful to take all the necessary steps to ensure patient health and happiness with the final outcome. Because treatment plans can vary greatly from one patient to the next, the best way to learn more about an individual case is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lazare at his New York City office.
Dr. Lazare is a highly skilled restorative dentist, practicing both general and cosmetic dentistry in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. His practice is dedicated to helping patients look and feel great with the latest procedures and state-of-the-art technology. The doctor participates in continuing education training courses that focus on empirically proven case studies and the latest developments in dentistry.
Call Dr. Lazare’s New York, NY office at 212-861-2599 or send an email to [email protected] to get one step closer to your ideal smile.