Posts for tag: dental implants

By Stephen R. Harris, DDS
September 29, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  
ImplantsCanMakeItEasiertoRestoreMissingTeethinStages

A fair number of people with total tooth loss have arrived at this point after a long history of dental issues. It's quite likely they've had a series of bridges or partial dentures over the years to accommodate lost teeth at various times before moving to full dentures.

For many, it often seems easier to extract any remaining teeth at some point and simply move on to a total restoration. It's often better for oral health, however, to preserve any remaining teeth for as long as possible and update restorations as needed. Dental implants could make this type of staged restoration strategy much easier to manage.

Implants are tiny metal posts surgically imbedded in a patient's jawbone. Over time, bone cells grow and adhere to the implant's titanium surface, creating a strong and durable hold. Its most familiar application is as a replacement for an individual tooth.

But because of their strength and durability, this advanced dental technology is also used to support other restorations like bridges and partial or full dentures by way of a few strategically placed implants. And it's in that role that they can be useful in planning and implementing future restoration upgrades when needed.

Under this strategy, we add implants to supplement pre-existing implants from earlier restorations to support the updated dental work. For example, we might have previously placed an implant supporting a single tooth or a small bridge. When the need later arises for a partial denture, we can add additional implants to be used with the earlier one to support the new denture.

If the earlier implants have been well-placed, we need only to add enough implants necessary to support a full denture when the time comes. How many will depend on the particular type of denture: A removable lower denture may only require one additional implant with one already in place. A fixed upper or lower denture will require enough to bring the number to between four and eight.

Taking this long-term approach can be more cost-effective in the long-run. More importantly, it can make for a smoother path for the patient and help preserve remaining teeth for as long as possible.

If you would like more information on restoration options for lost teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Replacing All Teeth but Not All at Once.”

By Stephen R. Harris, DDS
September 22, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental implants  

Dental implants are a permanent tooth-replacement option for restoring your smile following tooth loss or extraction. With proper care, dental implants can securely hold replacement teeth in place indefinitely. At our dental practice in Farmington MI, our skilled dentist, Dr. Stephen Harris, can determine if you are a candidate for dental implants and help you care for them so they last a lifetime.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are small metal posts that are placed directly in the jaw bone and function similarly to tooth roots by anchoring artificial teeth in place. If you have enough bone in the jaw area to support the placement of dental implants, there is really no limit to how many teeth can be restored with this exciting tooth-replacement option. A single tooth can be replaced with just one dental implant and a crown, while multiple teeth can be replaced simultaneously with several strategically placed dental implants that are topped with bridgework or an overdenture.

There are several benefits to restoring your smile with dental implants. They are durable and secure so they can last indefinitely with proper care while anchoring replacement teeth firmly in place. Another benefit of dental implants is that they allow artificial teeth to function like natural ones. Since dental implants hold crowns, bridgework, or overdentures in place so securely, you can eat a wide variety of foods without affecting your replacement teeth.

Caring for Dental Implants

Caring for dental implants involves short and long-term care. There are several steps you should take immediately following the placement of the dental implants in the jaw bone. Once the mouth has healed from the procedure, caring for dental implants is much like caring for your natural teeth. Practice effective oral hygiene habits at home, such as brushing and flossing daily, and schedule regular dental checkups with the experienced dentist at our office in Farmington, MI.

Following the placement of your dental implants, steps you can take at home to help the gums heal include:

  • Avoid touching the implant area immediately following the procedure
  • Eat soft foods and avoid hot liquids, like soup, while the mouth is still healing
  • Drink plenty of fluids for the first day or two after the procedure

Dental implants are an excellent option for restoring your smile long term. To find out if you are a candidate for dental implants and how to care for them, schedule an appointment with Dr. Harris, our caring dentist, by calling our office in Farmington, MI, at (248) 478-4755.

ImplantsMakeDenturesMoreSecureComfortableandBone-Friendly

Even in the 21st Century, losing most or all of your teeth is still an unfortunate possibility. Many in this circumstance turn to dentures, as their great-grandparents did, to restore their teeth. But today's dentures are much different from those of past generations—and dental implants are a big reason why.

The basic denture is made of a gum-colored, acrylic base with artificial teeth attached. The base is precisely made to fit snugly and comfortably on the patient's individual gum and jaw structure, as the bony ridges of the gums provide the overall support for the denture.

Implants improve on this through two possible approaches. A removable denture can be fitted with a metal frame that firmly connects with implants embedded in the jaw. Alternatively, a denture can be permanently attached to implants with screws. Each way has its pros and cons, but both have two decided advantages over traditional dentures.

First, because implants rather than the gums provide their main support, implant-denture hybrids are often more secure and comfortable than traditional dentures. As a result, patients may enjoy greater confidence while eating or speaking wearing an implant-based denture.

They may also improve bone health rather than diminish it like standard dentures. This is because the forces generated when chewing and eating travel from the teeth to the jawbone and stimulate new bone cell growth to replace older cells. We lose this stimulation when we lose teeth, leading to slower bone cell replacement and eventually less overall bone volume.

Traditional dentures not only don't restore this stimulation, they can also accelerate bone loss as they rub against the bony ridges of the gums. Implants, on the other hand, can help slow or stop bone loss. The titanium in the imbedded post attracts bone cells, which then grow and adhere to the implant surface. Over time, this can increase the amount of bone attachment and help stymie any further loss.

An implant-supported denture is more expensive than a standard denture, but far less than replacing each individual tooth with an implant. If you want the affordability of dentures with the added benefits of implants, this option may be worth your consideration.

If you would like more information on implant-supported restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Overdentures & Fixed Dentures.”

By Stephen R. Harris, DDS
December 23, 2019
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: dental implants  

Dental implants are today's premium tooth replacement. Dr. Stephen Harris places dental implants right in his Farmington, MI, office giving patients strong, functional, beautiful smiles that can last a lifetime. Could you be a candidate for a fabulous new smile?

Dental implant specifics

The single-tooth dental implant looks and acts like a real tooth. It has three parts:

  • A titanium metal screw, or cylinder, with a specially roughened surface that encourages osseointegration (bonding between the jaw bone and implant device)
  • A metal alloy abutment above the gum line
  • A custom-crafted porcelain crown that restores the implant with lifelike form, color, and utility

Your dentist accomplishes the entire dental implant treatment right in his Farmington, MI, office. From the oral examination and special three-dimensional bone scans to the surgical placement and crown restorations, the dental implant process is straightforward, comfortable, and predictable. The vast majority of these innovative procedures succeed, and with good home care, dental implants last for many years, even a lifetime.

Can you receive a dental implant?

Dr. Harris will examine you, looking for sufficient bone in the alveolar ridge of your jaw. If your jaw bone is thin, he may augment it with donor tissue or other materials to create the proper scaffold for osseointegration.

Discovered mid-20th century, osseointegration is the process by which human bone adheres to the titanium implant. If you are healthy and have a strong immune system, your body has the ability to receive and integrate a dental implant or even multiple implants as required by implant-supported dentures.

Additionally, you are a good candidate for an implant treatment if you:

  • Take good care of your teeth and gums through daily brushing and flossing and six-month cleanings and examinations at Dr. Harris's office
  • Are a non-smoker (tobacco usage encourages peri-implantitis, an inflammatory condition which may lead to implant failure)
  • Are past the age where your jaw is still growing (mid-teens for girls and late teens to early twenties for boys, reports Dear Doctor)

Find out more

Literally millions of Americans who have lost teeth due to decay, injury, or infection now enjoy the stability, lifelike appearance, and functionality of dental implants and implant-supported dentures. Why not contact Dr. Stephen Harris for a dental implant consultation? Call our Farmington office today at (248) 478-4755.

By Stephen R. Harris, DDS
December 04, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dentures   dental implants  
HowImplantsMightImproveBoneHealthWithDentures

Think dental implants only replace individual teeth? Think again—this premier technology can also support other kinds of restorations to provide better stability and comfort. And, they also help improve bone health when incorporated with any type of tooth replacement options, especially dentures.

Although traditional dentures have enjoyed a long, successful history as a tooth replacement solution, they can interfere with bone health. That’s because regular dentures fit in the mouth by resting on the bony ridges of the jaw, which has implications for the bone.

As living tissue, bone goes through a growth cycle with older bone cells dying and dissolving and newer cells forming to take their place. The teeth play a role in this growth cycle — the forces generated when we chew travel up through the teeth and help stimulate bone growth. When teeth go missing, however, so does this stimulus.

Traditional dentures can’t replace this missing stimulus. In fact, the constant pressure of dentures on the jaw may even accelerate bone loss. A sign this is happening occurs when the dentures’ once tight fit begins to loosen and they become uncomfortable to wear.

Implant-supported dentures can help eliminate this problem. We first surgically place a few implants in the jaw, the number determined by which jaw (the lower requires less) and whether the denture is removable or fixed. If removable, the denture has connective points that match the implant locations — you simply connect them with the implants. If fixed, the denture is screwed into the implants to hold it in place.

So, how does this help bone health? For one, the denture no longer puts as much pressure on the jaw ridges—the main support comes from the implants. And, the implants themselves encourage bone stimulation: The titanium in the implant has a special affinity with bone cells that naturally grow and adhere to its metal surface. This natural integration between implant and bone can stop bone loss and may even help reverse it.

If you’re interested in implant-supported dentures, you’ll first need to undergo a full dental exam with your dentist. These restorations aren’t appropriate for all dental situations. But, if they can work for you, you may be able to enjoy the benefits of an implant-supported restoration.

If you would like more information on implant-supported restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Overdentures & Fixed Dentures.”



Contact Us

Stephen R. Harris, DDS

Farmington, MI Dentist
Stephen R. Harris DDS, PC
34024 W 8 Mile Rd., Ste. 106
Farmington Hills, MI 48335
(248) 478-4755
(248) 478-1139 fax
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