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Advancements in Dental Implants – Anil Punjabi, MD, DDS

Advancements in Dental Implants – Anil Punjabi, MD, DDS

Dental implants have changed the face of dentistry
over the last 25 years. Here to discuss these advancements is Dr. Anil Punjabi of Redlands
Community Hospital. With the aging population, especially in the
United States, there are over 68 million people with missing teeth and out of that about 25%
are completely edentulous and edentulous means they have no teeth at all. With the baby boomers
aging nobody wants to wear dentures and dental implants have a very important function to
play in that. Dental implant is a replacement of the root of a missing tooth. A dental implant
is a metal screw which is inserted into the bone. In order for this to be successful you
need to have bone. We usually prepare the bed with either bone grafts or other means
to make it acceptable for the implant. So the implant is a metal screw which is screwed
into the bone, it is allowed to integrate with the bone and that is known as osseointegration.
Once it has integrated with the bone the implant is then loaded and when we load it, we actually
place the teeth for which these implants were made in the bone. One of the prerequisites
of placing an implant is having enough bone and many times in the maxillary or the upper
back area where the maxillary sinus is located, we may not have enough bone and in that case
we have to do a bone graft by elevating the sinus and placing the bone graft in the sinus
to provide bone for placement or for implant. Most of the times though because of the bite
and because of the desire to protect the healing period for the implant, we usually place the
implant, allow it to osseointegrate or integrate with the bone for about 3 to 4 months then
expose it and then place the crown on it. So there is a process that allows the implant
to be placed, allows it to integrate and then reconstructed with the restoration like a
crown or a bridge on it. So sometimes it can be done in a day if the bite is favorable,
sometimes it will take 4 to 6 months before you actually have the teeth in your mouth.
Dr. Punjabi talks about the history of implants. Dental implants have been around for a long
time but scientifically proven with strong clinical research to back the use has been
since the 60’s. It was an orthopedic surgeon by the name of Branemark from Sweden who was
an orthopedic surgeon who first started using these titanium screws in the tibia. His dentist
friend said, why don’t we try it in the jaws and that’s how the implant was born and from
the 60’s these implants have been used extensively, have been researched extensively, have a very
great track record, success rates are way up high in the 90’s and function is phenomenal.
The best advice for anybody who has many missing teeth is to have them replaced because not
only is it detrimental for the remaining teeth which have to bear the load of those missing
teeth also but as we mentioned earlier, the bone loss that goes with missing teeth causes
even further deterioration in a persons bite. With less number of teeth chewing and swallowing
becomes difficult, sometimes speech is affected and some people do have gastrointestinal problems
in improperly functioning teeth.

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