Monthly Archives: November 2014

Why Dental Implants Are Worth the Investment

Whether you have lost a tooth (or several) as the result of an injury or periodontal disease, missing teeth can be both embarrassing and inconvenient. Dental implants provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth.

If you are missing teeth and your gums and jaw are healthy, you may benefit from dental implants. Composed of titanium metal that “fuses” with the jawbone through a process called osseointegration, implants are surgically placed into the jawbone then topped with natural white crowns. Two or more implants can easily serve as a base of support for several replacement teeth. 

Because the dental implant fuses with the jawbone, the procedure actually helps prevent gum and bone deterioration, jawbone recession, and facial collapse. Better yet, dental implants can last for 20 years or more with proper oral hygiene. 

Though implants cost more upfront and may not be covered by insurance, patients avoid the cost of possibly having to replace a prothetic device like dentures or a bridge once, twice or more over the course of a lifetime. In addition, patients may avoid both the pain and cost of future dental work on adjacent teeth. Studies show a failure rate of up to 30% in teeth located next to a fixed bridge or removable partial denture within five to seven years of treatment.

With nearly 50 years of clinical research an overall success rate around 98%, dental implants are frequently the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth. They are changing the way people live by helping them rediscover the comfort and confidence to eat, speak, laugh and enjoy life. 

Periodontal Disease and Long Term Care

by Sam Morgan, Practice Administrator

Recently, I had a patient that had been in for a consultation over one year ago call to schedule his procedure. The patient had been diagnosed with progressive Periodontal Disease and severe bone loss. Since the patient was already missing several teeth, the doctor recommended a more aggressive treatment plan that included Osseous Procedure and then, after a period of healing, the placement of Implants.

Much to my amazement, the patient only had interest in placing the implants. I explained that the doctor would not place implants with out a healthy environment that would support osseointegration, giving the patient and his implants the chance for success. As I discussed the situation with the patient in more detail, he explained to me all of the research he had done on the recommended Osseous Procedure. He was concerned because there was no guarantee of success.

My response was that he was absolutely correct, but I took it one step further. I explained to the patient that he has Periodontal Disease and that there is no “cure” for the disease. I compared Periodontal Disease to Heart Disease, Diabetes, HIV or a diagnosed Mental Disease. There is no “cure” for any of these, only the ability to manage or attempt to manage the disease. Every human being is unique and the circumstances surrounding Periodontal Disease for that individual will more than likely be different from another individual. It could be genetic, it could be caused from poor hygiene, or it could be linked to another disease such as Diabetes.

I also explained that usually, we see a patient for a procedure like Osseous and then we see them 2-4 times per year for Periodontal Maintenance Procedures. A strong majority of our patients who maintain a strong regimen between our office and their primary dentist don’t revisit more drastic procedures. A person who has been diagnosed with Periodontal Disease is really no different than an individual who has had a heart attack and now has must visit their cardiologist for testing and monitoring on a routine basis.

Unfortunately, I believe this patient — like many others — will let fear keep him from receiving the care he so desperately needs to keep his mouth healthy and keep his teeth. We believe in preventative care and the least invasive treatment for any patient. Our ultimate goal is to help our patients keep their teeth and keep them as comfortable as possible while providing the care needed.

If you have been told you have Periodontal Disease or you suspect you may have symptoms, seek a professional to help you understand your options and what the future may look like for you and your teeth.