Dental implants

Dental implants

Incisive Bite

by Dr Sharon Robinson

Sunday, October 20, 2019

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PICK up most magazines or newspapers these days, and you're likely to see an ad about dental implants.

And, with the advent of “implant centres” in major areas, television ads are now delivering the message that an implant centre — with everything conveniently offered under one roof — is the state-of-the-art choice for dental implant treatment.

Some even extol the virtues of getting your new “teeth in a day”.

Bombarded with so many different messages about dental implants, how does the consumer make the right decisions?

While this kind of marketing distorts the limits of current research and knowledge, this new area of the spectrum may not necessarily end in a rainbow.

This important and controversial topic will be covered in two parts: A clear understanding of the increasing options available for implant treatment is a good place to start, together with alternative replacements for missing teeth and their economic impact.

Dental implants: The optimal tooth replacement

Let's begin by looking at what makes implants the most optimal tooth replacement system today.

An implant connection to the bone is different from how a tooth connects to the bone, but it performs the same function. Dental implants act as substitute tooth roots in a unique way.

Implants stabilise bone and prevent the inevitable bone loss that occurs when teeth are lost. Commercially pure titanium, of which almost all current implant surfaces are made, has the unique property of being “osteophilic”, thus joining biochemically to bone.

Osseointegration was discovered quite by chance and has revolutionised dentistry. The fusion is almost like a pillar in concrete — allowing no movement at all. Stresses of biting forces are transmitted directly through implants to the bone, which they allow for very well. They provide virtually the same function as natural teeth roots, including stimulating the bone, thereby stabilising it and preventing its loss.

Consequences of tooth loss: Believe it or not, it's all about bone

The bone that encases the teeth known as alveolar bone, is the special bone that surrounds and supports the teeth.

It develops with the teeth as they erupt into the mouth, accompanies the teeth in life, and is lost when the teeth are removed.

When teeth are lost or removed, the alveolar bone, which is fragile in structure like an ice-cream cone, resorbs or melts away. What complicates matters is the pattern of resorption or the melting away process. Where the bone is thinnest, it resorbs more quickly. This is particularly true for the upper front teeth, where bone, gum and even the lips can appear to cave in or collapse.

The dental literature indicates that 79 per cent of the population has a smile line that will not cover these types of “defects”. This is very noticeable when smiling and many people become quite self-conscious about their appearance as a result.

Dr Sharon Robinson DDS has offices at the Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, located at shop #5, Winchester Business Centre, 15 Hope Road, Kingston 10. Dr Robinson is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa.

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