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Dental Implants

Implant Dentistry in St. Louis

Do you have missing or structurally damaged teeth? Replacing missing teeth or teeth with structural damage is essential to oral hygiene and good overall health. It is imperative to understand that teeth function in the mouth as comprehensive systems with a particular function of bearing a certain amount of load. Teeth shift in the mouth, so when teeth are missing or damaged, this puts a significant amount of additional load onto the other teeth. Secondly, bone loss in the jaw can occur, thereby making it considerably more difficult to correct later.

Dental implants are the current standard of care to replace missing or structurally damaged teeth and provide many benefits. Dental implants are an alternative to complete dentures and do not click, slip or require adhesives. Additionally, implants allow you to eat any foods you would eat with your natural teeth.

BUT ARE THEY RIGHT FOR YOU?

Who:  People who have some or all teeth failing out either due to decay, attrition or periodontal disease. 

What:  Traditional dentures use existing bone of the face to support them and rely on suction to stay in place.  As people age the bone shrinks and the dentures no longer fit.  Loss of bone in the facial region is one of the quickest that people register “aging” in a person.  The overlaying facial tissue sags and sinks in.  This causes increased wrinkles, a sunken in appearance, and the chin and nose becoming closer together.  Think about the old man with no teeth appearance.  Loss of as little as one tooth will cause localized loss of bone in the area.

Implants act as the roots of the teeth in bone, preventing bone loss. In addition, tooth replacement appliances such as Dentures (replace all teeth), partial dentures (replace some teeth), fixed bridges (replace all or some but more natural), or individual crowns can be either snapped or fixed to implants.

Many people have heard of the “All-On-4®” treatment concept pioneered by Nobel Biocare. At Chilcutt Dental, we use these dental implants which provide rapid improvement in quality of life, shorter treatment times, and lower costs to the patient.  In fact, through our Digital Scanning and 3D Imaging CT, most patients can leave that day with fully screwed in teeth.

This is a fixed hybrid denture.  It utilized 4-6 implants on the upper jaw and usually 4 implants on the lower jaw to provide stabilization.  A denture or zirconium based bridge is then screwed into the implants.  This provides the closest approximation to natural human dentition we have.  The implants will hold bony dimensions to prevent premature ageing and the prosthesis supported by the implants will be very stable and offer the same chewing capabilities as natural teeth.  In addition, because the implants support the prosthesis the appliances can be made quite small.  This means the roof of the mouth does not need to be covered like in traditional dentures.  Coverage of the roof of the mouth causes decreased taste sensation, increased sore areas and increased dislike for the prosthesis.

A second common type is the over denture or locator.  This uses fewer implants (as few as 2 on each arch).  Snaps are placed on top on the denture called locators.  These snaps look like the snaps on a pair of jeans.  The male portion is on the implant and the female is imbedded in the denture.  The denture then snaps onto the implant providing great stability.

This type offers increased stability and retention over traditional dentures at a lower price point than the fully supported type.  This type, however, still relies on the patient’s bone to support much of the appliance therefore the appliances tend to be bigger and chewing capability is less that with fully supported.  In addition, the fewer the implants used the more susceptible the face is to bone loss.

Partial dentures can be snapped onto implants rather than use surrounding teeth to hook on to.  Traditional partial dentures use hooks around the other remaining teeth to hold them.  This causes unsightly metal to be shown and acts as a great torque wrench on the other teeth.  Use of implants with partial dentures reduces or eliminates this problem.

Single crowns are a great solution with implants.  If a tooth is lost and not replaced the bone in the area of the tooth will go away creating a “dugout” in the jaw bone and the surrounding teeth will begin to shift.  This can have consequences on the patient’s outward appearance and with how the teeth come together.  Traditional bridge work involves “preparing” the surrounding teeth and using them to support one or more partial teeth.  With an implant, again the bone is saved, and a very natural crown supports the occlusion and surrounding teeth.

The best restorative choice we have for loss of all teeth is the fully implant “supported”.  A prosthesis milled out of a ceramic called zirconium offers an extremely lifelike and durable replacement for teeth.  This offers the prevention of bone loss and the same chewing capacity as natural teeth.

Implants can be placed at any time.  Even if the patient was told there is not enough “bone” with advances in grafting practices bone can be added.  Long term denture or partial denture wearers are not exempt.  People do not have to put up with ill fitting dentures and use of denture cream.

  • Implants are now approximately 99% successful.  The lifespan of an implant is 30 plus years.
  • According to the American college of prosthodontist 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth and as many as 36 million have no teeth.
  • 15 million dentures are made yearly, don’t settle for ones that don’t fit, don’t let you taste your food and cause you to age.  Dental implants can solve all of these problems.