Dental Implants and Your Smile

DR. MARK SWEENEY: Another exciting innovation in dentistry is dental implants. I was initially a little worried about them back 20 years ago when they first came out. They were a little Star Warsy for me. Now it’s something that we do everyday of the week.

It’s a fairly straight forward thing to take a person with a missing tooth, have an implant placed and then put a restoration over that implant. It looks just like a natural tooth. Dental implants have many uses in dentistry now. They’re not just for replacing a single missing tooth whether in the front or the back of the mouth. We use them successfully now to retain dentures, especially lower dentures.

Most denture wearers are not happy with the fit of their lower dentures because of the tongue and the cheeks, they move around a lot. And placing two dental implants and then retrofitting the denture to fit those implants with an attachment in between gives them very, very solid fit where the denture no longer moves. Now with many implants they’ve made it even simpler and we can do those right here in the office. You take a dental implant that’s not much larger than a wooden toothpick and it actually is screwed down through the tissue and into the bone with no surgical intervention required. It doesn’t require a periodontist to place the implant like the more conventional dental implants and in a single two hour appointment, we’ve taken a patient with a lower denture that was moving all over the place and they’ve walked out of here with a denture that was securely fastened, that they actually had to work a little bit to get it loose.