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Dental Implant Options at Lapalco Family Dental

June 25, 2015

Lapalco Family Dental in Marrero, LA is a full-service dental practice; we have consolidated all our treatment capabilities into a one-stop shop for all your oral health needs, and this includes dental implants. Unlike many practices that only claim to offer dental implants but instead only refer patients to oral surgeons, and may only place the crowns (or artificial teeth, the visible portion of implants), we offer a truly comprehensive, under-one-roof dental implant experience. This is of course much more convenient for you, our patients, but it also means you will be getting your dental implants placed by a dentist and staff that you’re familiar with and who knows your specific oral health needs and goals (in terms of health and aesthetics).

Dental implants are a life-changing solution for those who have lost teeth. We offer both standard dental implants (read previous posts for more information) and implant retained dentures; this allows us to help more people in our community.

If you’ve been living with the misery (both physical and emotional) caused by the loss of one or more teeth, you should come in for an evaluation to see if you’re in good enough health to receive dental implants. You don’t have to live with the compromises in performance and appearance caused by lesser, more conventional solutions (conventional dentures and bridges)!

Understanding Implant Retained Dentures

Dentures are a type of prosthesis, and have long been used to solve the problems caused by tooth loss. Dentures are still effective, and if it does turn out that you are among the minority of patients who can’t ever receive dental implants, they are still a viable option, along with dental bridges (neither requires surgery for placement). Conventional dentures are also still quite popular, because they are perceived to be less expensive than dental implants. Perception is often different from reality, however: while dentures have a lower upfront cost than implants, they require continuous maintenance (otherwise you risk serious infections), and they must be replaced frequently, usually because they no longer fit in your mouth (for a number of reasons, and poorly fitting dentures can create a number of embarrassing and even dangerous complications for the person wearing them).

However, dentures are an effective way to replace multiple lost teeth; it isn’t practical, and is usually very costly, to replace each tooth with an individual implant if you have several missing teeth. Combining the best elements of conventional dentures and the reliability of dental implants, we offer implant retained dentures.

What Are Implant Retained Dentures?

Implant retained dentures are used primarily for the replacement of multiple teeth on the lower jaw; in many cases, a conventional denture for the upper jaw provides sufficient performance, and are less likely to lose their fit than lower dentures (loss of fit causes dentures to slip out of place, which can lead to humiliation or infection).

Implant retained dentures eliminate the slippage issue. Instead of depending on fit i.e. how the dentures interact with your oral tissues and certain teeth to stay in place, implant retained dentures use as few as two, or as many as four implants in the gums and lower jaw. The implants that are used are somewhat different from standard implants in that they are smaller, and usually don’t have the threading of standard implants (however, they are just as reliable). These are mini dental implants, and they are used for both implant retained dentures, and they can also be used in place of standard implants if you have too little bone density to support a standard implant, or if you simply have a jaw that is naturally more narrow than most.

Also unlike standard implants, implant retained dentures don’t always require multiple appointments; the implants can be placed along with the dentures on the same day. The dentures “snap” into place on the exposed “middle” part of the mini-implant known as the abutment, which is responsible for holding the anchor (the “artificial root” that is actually implanted in your jaw, and is not visible when in your mouth). The benefit of this is a marked increase in your bite strength: you will be able to eat more of the foods you’ve always loved, your ability to speak will be improved, if not totally restored to what it was before your tooth loss. Because the denture is held firmly in place by hardware and the implants, the slipping that causes so many problems for those who wear conventional implants is no longer an issue.

Finally, because implants are used, your bone density will also recover more quickly and with greater robustness. This is especially noteworthy when you consider that conventional dentures actually can contribute to the loss of jawbone density (which is already degraded from the initial tooth loss).

Are Implant Retained Dentures as Effective as Standard Implants?

Implant retained dentures are much more effective than conventional dentures across the board: you will get back most of your ability to chew and speak normally, your risk for infections will be greatly reduced, if not entirely eliminated (relative to conventional dentures), and you won’t have to deal with the often embarrassing accidents that are caused by poorly fitting conventional dentures.

However, it should be noted that implant retained dentures still have some limitations. You won’t have to change your entire diet or lifestyle, but you will want to avoid very sticky foods, or foods that require a lot of effort to chew. In addition, while they do take advantage of the reliability and strength of dental implants, implant retained dentures are still dentures. They must be cleaned frequently, regularly, and thoroughly to eliminate potentially harmful bacteria which can cause a range of complications and even very serious diseases.

Are You Ready for Dental Implants?

If missing teeth are a constant source of pain and shame, or if you’re dissatisfied with the performance of conventional dentures or bridges, call us to make an appointment for a consultation with your dentist.

Your dentist will help you gain a better understanding of all your options, as well as give you a comprehensive examination to determine if you are healthy enough (or could be healthy enough) for dental implants or implant retained dentures.

Dial 504-264-6461 to reach our front desk, or click here to reach our online appointment form, where you can book your visit right now!

Dental Implants: Do You Have What It Takes?

June 17, 2015

It wasn’t until relatively very recently that your options for addressing the aesthetic, physical, and psychological damage caused by missing teeth were fairly limited. You could either get conventional dentures, or a bridge, depending on the nature of your specific problem. Losing your teeth, even just one, is enough to change your life forever, and usually for the worse. Conventional treatments (dentures and bridges), while still effective, don’t really offer much. Your bite strength, which is critical to your ability to chew and speak properly, won’t improve much; for example, conventional dentures only give you back 10% to 20% of your bite strength back after you’ve lost teeth.

Fortunately, today you have a third option: dental implants. Dental implants are about as close as you’re going to get to replacing missing teeth with actual teeth. With dental implants, there will be no compromise to your ability to speak or chew properly, they’re discrete, perfectly replicating the appearance of your natural teeth, and they will last a lifetime (your implant fuses with your jawbone, and it literally becomes a part of you).

In our Marrero, LA dental practice, we get a lot of inquiries from patients looking for a permanent, no-hassle, no compromise solution for missing teeth. Dental implants certainly fit the bill, but not everyone can receive dental implants. You must be at a certain level of oral and general health, because getting dental implants is a surgical procedure, and because the dental implant is less likely to fail in a healthy body and mouth (the chances of this are very small for those with suitable health profiles).

Do You Have What It Takes?

It should first be noted that these “requirements” are flexible, and in many cases, your dentist will be able to repair problems that would otherwise prevent you from getting dental implants. A consultation with your dentist is the only way to know for sure if you can get dental implants.

The Condition of Your General Health

Your general health comes into play, because dental implants are placed surgically. Bridges and dentures are, in a sense, appliances you wear; dental implants owe their effectiveness to the fact that they are embedded into the jawbone, under the gums, where eventually the implant fuses with the bone as it undergoes osseointegration (part of the normal healing process, your jawbone grows around the implant, holding it permanently, firmly in place).

From a health perspective, this means you must be well enough and able to tolerate general anesthesia. Getting dental implants is a lengthy surgical procedure, and you need to be “under” for it. Some people simply don’t tolerate general anesthesia, and complications can even be life-threatening in some cases. If you know that you don’t tolerate general anesthesia, make sure your dentist knows so that it can be factored in to the decision-making process.

You must also be free of serious disease. Because everyone’s health is unique, what defines a “serious disease” for one person might be different for another. However, certain diseases seem to universally present problems for people who want dental implants. These include:

  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Type II Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure

As stated above, just having one of these diseases does not necessarily “disqualify” you from getting dental implants, but they should still be a major part of the discussion. For example, the most frequent cause of tooth loss in the US is advanced gum disease; it destroys your oral tissues and degrades the bone in your jaw, leading to loose teeth which may fall out, or require extraction. There is a strong link between diabetes and gum disease: if you have one, the chances are high you have the other.

The Condition of Your Oral Health

For many people who are interested in dental implants, having the right level of oral health is often a challenge; like we said, gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss, and its effects can have a negative impact on your ability to successfully undergo implantation, and your ability to support the implant in your body without a relatively high risk of failure. However, there are certain things your dentist can do to help. For example, if your jawbone has been weakened by gum disease, you may be able to get a bone graft (the placement of bone in your jaw from elsewhere in your body).

Anything Else?

In addition to being in good oral and general health, you must be a fully grown adult to receive dental implants. There are no exceptions to this rule; a dental implant placed in a mouth that is still growing, developing, and taking shape is the equivalent of putting a wine glass in a cement mixer: implant failure is a certainty.

If you are a smoker, you should quit if you want dental implants. Smoking isn’t a great idea in general, but in the context of dental implants, smoking retards the healing process which is important to the long-term success of the dental implant. Smoking can also cause postoperative complications, and smoking also contributes to a condition called bruxism (known more commonly as “teeth grinding”). Bruxism puts a lot of stress on your teeth as well as implants, to the point where it can threaten the viability of the implants.

This isn’t limited to the period before or during your implantation; smoking while you have dental implants increases the chance of implant failure considerably.

Interested In Dental Implants?

The only way to know if dental implants are right for you is to call us and make an appointment for an exam and consultation. Your dentist will want to discuss your entire health history in addition to checking the condition of your teeth, jaws, and gums to make a final recommendation.

If you have missing teeth, the problems will only get worse: don’t delay, call today!

Dial 504-264-6461 to reach our front desk, or click here to access our online appointment form and book your visit right now!