Replacements for Multiple Teeth with Dental Implants
When multiple teeth are missing, there are various factors to consider. If the teeth are scattered throughout the mouth (or even several in one area) several single dental implants are the ideal solution. This approach is most like the natural situation of teeth in a jaw, so therefore is the best for long-term oral stability, maintenance, and health. However, if most of your arch is missing teeth, (with perhaps one back tooth on each side still intact), a different approach is possible. Five or more posts may be placed, and a bar is attached to them. The prosthesis (similar to a denture) snaps to the bar. This gives the stability that partials or dentures are unable to provide, since the bar is anchored to your jaw. Bone stays stimulated where the posts are located. Any bone loss does not cause the problems of “fit” for the partial or denture, since this type of prosthesis relies on implants for support instead of the bony ridge. Relining or adjustments are a thing of the past. The advantage of this method (called a “bar overdenture”) over individual single implants is cost.
Care: If single implants are placed, care is as for your regular teeth. You will still need to floss around the implants to keep the gums healthy. (One side advantage of dental implants is that they never get a cavity!) If you have the bar overdenture, care involves snapping out the prosthesis, brushing it and the bar portion. It is important to clean the posts where they meet your gums. Our hygienist has special instruments to clean your dental implants thoroughly during your routine preventative visit.
The Steps: Your first step if you are interested in dental implants is a consultation and exam with Dr. Snodgrass. Together, you will discuss the details of your various options after he understands your individual needs. If your teeth have been missing for a while, he will be closely analyzing the bone in your jaw, because having enough of the right type of bone is necessary for success with dental implants. (If there is not enough bone available or the wrong type, he has solutions for that also.) The placement of your dental implants takes place while you are being kept very relaxed and comfortable. Then we wait for a healing period while the bone forms solidly around the implants. After approximately three to four months, you will come for a routine office visit to uncover the tips of the implants and place the “healing abutments”. (This is a very minor procedure.) Soon after that, you will come in for placement of your final restorations (teeth). You may enjoy steak at your favorite restaurant any time after that!