The world of medicine has advanced tremendously since the year 2000 and the dental world is leading the pack in innovation. These breakthroughs have transformed lives for many people and allowed them to get their smile back. This new wave of dental transformation technology has provided a solution for replacing one or more missing teeth in a way that looks and feels natural.
Not Your Grandpa’s Dentures
Before the world of dental implants, a bridge, partial denture or complete denture were the only solutions for missing teeth. Now, more and more people are opting for dental implants instead. The most obvious difference between the two is that a bridge or a partial denture is all but sure to fall out of a patient’s mouth unexpectedly and can make it difficult to eat, talk or smile.
Now cosmetic dentists are able to provide their patients with a natural-looking alternative that actually replaces the missing teeth starting at the roots. It’s the most conservative option that looks, feels and works like real teeth, leaving patients with more time and money in the long run. Dental implants aren’t just about improving confidence; they can also be a crucial part of oral health, speech, and overall comfort. They are the only option that provides full functionality.
According to WebMD, dental implants “have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care, implants can last a lifetime.”
3D Digital Imaging
3D digital imaging is a relatively new development in cosmetic dentistry that allows dentists to easily view tissue, muscle, bone, nerves and teeth in a non-invasive manner.
For dental implants, this means that 3D CT scans can be used to create a digital model of the jaw prior to dental implant surgery. A computerized tomography (CT) allows for the building of multiple cross-sectional and panoramic views. These pre-operative images can be uploaded into 3D planning software and used to develop a surgical guide. 3D imaging is a painless procedure that provides highly detailed information like never before.
Other advantages include:
- A non-invasive way to view the bones under the gums
- The minimum amount of radiation (98% percent less than traditional methods)
- Extreme detail
- Takes a matter of seconds
- Improves accuracy of dental implants
- Reduces procedure pain by locating the nerves on your face prior to surgical placement
Among the most significant changes to the way dental implants can be done is the addition of computer-designed implants. CAD/CAM is an acronym for computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing, which offers numerous advantages for patients compared to implant level impressions and costly casting for component fabrication. Some dental implant procedures can even be done in a day.
In dental implant procedures, achieving solid bone stability is vital. With this in mind, dentists are finding that the use of CAD/CAM can minimize bone loss. Using this technology, exact duplicates of the missing teeth can be created and replaced in the patient’s mouth, offering them a fast, symptom-free healing process. This process is an efficient and effective method for creating lasting comfortable dental implants.
CT images and detailed digital planning can be combined to produce a surgical template, which dentists use to find the ideal placement for dental implants. A template can be used before surgery to conduct a virtual walk-through and during the surgery to ensure the procedure goes according to plan. A surgical guide can also be a valuable tool in diagnosis and second-stage surgery where the surgical template could be used again.
New Materials for Natural Smiles
Most dental implants are made of three parts:
- Root, which is typically made of titanium
- An abutment, which is placed on top of the root to secure the crown and can be made from titanium, ceramic or other materials
- Crown, or replacement tooth, which can be made from a variety of materials, from gold to porcelain
In recent years there have been significant shifts in the materials used to make dental implants. One of the most promising developments is the use of Zirconia, a very strong ceramic. Since Zirconia dental implants received FDA approval in 2011, more and more dentists have been using crowns and bridges made from Zirconia.
The advantages of Zirconia dental implants include:
- Resistance to stains and chipping
- A natural appearance that matches your other teeth
- Biocompatibility, which means they work well with your mouth’s natural tissues and are unlikely to cause a response like inflammation
The Transformation of a New Smile
People struggling with missing teeth may find it difficult to eat, speak or show off their smiles. Restorative dentistry can offer life-changing solutions. Thanks to ongoing research, patients now have more advanced options than ever before.
LifeSmiles by Dr. Randy Mitchmore uses the latest technology to offer patients top-of-the-line dental implants with anxiety-free solutions. Call 713-592-9300 or visit their website to schedule your consultation.