Are you considering dental implants? Here’s what you need to know – SiouxFalls.Business

August 3, 2022

This paid room is sponsored by Siouxland Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery.

Dental implants continue to be a hot topic as more and more people begin to learn about them through the media and their dentists. In short, dental implants are very much like “little screws” that are inserted into your jaw bone, allowed to bond to the bone, and eventually a prosthesis or tooth-like prosthesis is attached to them.

Easy right? Well, that’s the short version. The longer version is that there are many different types of dental implants, hundreds of different dental implant manufacturers, and many differently trained dental practitioners who place and restore them.

Typically, the process involves your general dentist who is highly skilled in dentistry and in the fabrication of restorative dentures, as this is precisely what they were trained to do. Your oral surgeon, on the other hand, has completed dental school and an additional four to six years of strict surgical training through a true residency program. Your surgeon performs several surgeries a day; therefore, they maintain and hone this complex skill set.

So, you see, if you want the best treatment possible, it takes a team of at least two people: your general dentist and your oral surgeon. In some very simple cases, you can ask your dentist to complete the whole process. Most of the time, however, it takes two, as they say.

There are many types of dental implants that are indicated for various situations. Most dental implants are made of titanium, some are ceramic, some are even so small they look like toothpicks, and even fewer are made of bioactive glass – these only come from Europe.

Most dental implants look like wood or metal screws, but there are newer ones that “wrap around the bone” and look more like a bone plate that you would use to fix a broken bone. There are even fairly long implants that enter through your jawbone, cross your sinuses and anchor their end in your cheekbone. So you see that there are simple implants and others that are rather complex. This is why a team approach to care is essential so that everyone can focus on their role.

Why are implants priced differently? Well, honestly, there is no good way to get discount implants. If the product is much cheaper somewhere, there’s a reason, and it’s rarely a good reason. There is no “Walmart dental implant supplier” where you can buy the same high-end brand. In the dental world, when it comes to products, you get what you pay for.

As mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of different dental implant manufacturers, and only a few have been established for decades and are expected to remain in business. This is important because sometimes parts of the implant fail and therefore you need replacements. If the company is a small player in the field and it goes bankrupt, there are simply no more parts available. So, when you receive dental implant treatment, be sure to stick to the leading dental implant companies for the correct parts. Your oral surgeon will be able to go over this information with you in detail.

Now, this is all a nice transition to the topic of mini implants. These are dental implants less than 3.0 mm in diameter. They play a vital role in patient care, but they have limitations because, you guessed it, they’re quite small – mini, in fact! These implants work well in some limited circumstances where there is very little room, tight bone, in frail people who cannot support a bone graft or temporary anchorage while you prepare to place the final implants after healing initial stage of major surgery.

The take home message here is that if someone says you need multiple mini implants to hold a denture or maybe a fixed prosthesis, you probably need a second opinion. There are cases where it is appropriate, but they are quite rare. This is where we then come back to the team approach between your dentist and your oral surgeon. Your dentist and surgeon act as a check and balance between what can be done prosthetically to give you teeth and what can be done surgically to anchor those teeth. These two thought processes must coincide to be successful.

Remember that second opinions are a good thing. They can validate what your dentist or surgeon originally proposed and offer additional options for your original dentist or surgeon to explore and discuss with you. You deserve to know all of your options from a prosthetically stable perspective and from a true surgical perspective.

You have already chosen your dentist. It’s probably someone you like, trust, and who has treated you well. When you next choose your surgeon, choose one who has all the surgical skills, from mini implants to standard titanium and ceramic implants, zygomatic and staple implants and skeletally anchored implants. If your surgeon doesn’t have all of this in his skill set, you can’t see the big picture and know all of your existing options.

Please see our future monthly articles covering a variety of dental and surgical topics.

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