Posted on: 30 December 2014Share
If you've been eager to replace missing teeth, you may have put the blinders on and have only focused on implant preparation, surgery, and recovery. While it's definitely important to understand that entire process, don't forget to research how implants affect secondary oral conditions and procedures. For instance, besides dental implant surgery, are you considering orthodontic treatment as well? If so, you may actually need to hold off on the implants. Read on to learn more about how dental implants affect other oral procedures and conditions.
Since dental implants are secured to the jawbone with titanium rods, they cannot be moved with braces. So, if you think that you want to straighten all of your teeth, make sure you start that process before committing to dental implants.
However, if you only need to straighten or change aspects of your bite, your orthodontist may be able to use the implants to your advantage. If you don't need to change the teeth adjacent to your implant site, then the dental implant can actually be used as an anchor point for braces appliances! Talk with a prosthodontist first, since they can recommend an orthodontist that uses implants as anchor points.
If you have just completed orthodontic treatment and need to use a retainer every night, you may need to hold off on dental implants. As you recover from implant surgery, it may be hard to wear a retainer consistently. Putting pressure on that site with a retainer can prevent proper healing—especially if your surgery involved bone grafting.
You may be able to wear a retainer more consistently if you opt for a Hawley retainer (standard metal-wire) over a vacuum-formed one. Since vacuum-formed retainers are molds that fit over both teeth and part of the gumline, they can hinder blood flow and healing around gum tissue. Once your implant heals, you may switch to a different retainer.
If you are big on tooth whitening, you should be aware that bleaching the implant resins doesn't make a difference. If you need—or already have—multiple dental implants, you may want to resort to a simple cleaning with a non-abrasive polishing paste from your hygienist. If you still want to whiten your teeth, you may be better off with over-the-counter gels or custom-trays for individual teeth.
While bruxism may not be the cause of every implant failure, there are many studies that show correlations. If your dentist has noticed that your molars are worn down from clenching and grinding, you'll want to take some preventative measures before your surgery. Even if you are aware of the problem, many people with bruxism grind their teeth while they sleep, so damage to teeth and implants cannot be helped. Before you get fitted with your dental implants, get fitted with a night guard and ask your dentist about the design and material of the implants. With bruxism in mind, some prosthodontists can design implants that minimize the effects of bruxism.
It used to be that if you had severe bone loss in your jaws from cancers, missing teeth, etc., then you had to get dentures over implants. However, with today's technology, there's no reason why you can't get implants as long as you're in good health and practice good oral hygiene. There are new bone grafting techniques that harvest rhBMP (bone morphogenic protein) and platelet rich plasma from good bone and bone substitutes in your body. Furthermore, there are also implant techniques like "All-on-4" which can avoid bone grafting altogether! In short, if one dentist is pushing for dentures, get a second opinion to see if you can qualify for implants.
While tooth implantation may be your number one dental priority, don't forget to think about other treatments you may be interested in. At your next appointment, talk with a dentist, like Dale D. Lentz DDS, about these and other conditions that could hinder the effectiveness of your treatment. Also, talk with them about other possible surgeries/dental appliances, and how those procedures will fit into your implant surgery time-line. The more you know, the better off you'll be during and after implant surgery!