Start Retirement With a New, Improved Mouth

When you reach the age where you start thinking about retirement, you may think about the relaxation and extra time for travel, spending time with family and pursuing favorite hobbies. One thing you're probably not thinking about is dental care -- and how a lifetime of dental care, likely with different dentists, may have left you with mismatched teeth and an imperfect bite.  

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The Stages of the Dental Implant Process

When a tooth is lost it can leave you feeling self-conscious, but it can also affect more than just your pride. A lost tooth can affect your ability to chew and over time, it can lead to changes in your mouth. When a gap exists in the mouth, other teeth move and shift to fill the space. This can lead to a whole host of problems including misalignment, crowding and jaw bone loss, among others. The most important thing is having the tooth replaced as soon as possible to avoid any shifting or complications with the jaw bone.

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New Research May Reduce Dental Implant Failures

Although implants are a successful treatment for many patients, five to 10 percent of dental implants fail. But new nanocoatings developed at the University of Plymouth may reduce the number of dental implant failures each year.

According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, over three million Americans have dental implants. Predictions by the AAID suggest that the number of dental implants in the United States will increase by half a million implant procedures per year and the estimated value for dental implants will rise to 4.2 billion by 2022.

Dental implants are so popular because they are a long-term solution compared to prosthetic solutions like dentures for patients who have lost teeth to decay, injury or illness. If taken care of properly, dental implants last patients for the rest of their lives.

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Lost and Found: How Can Dental Implants Help You?

For many patients, losing a tooth or multiple teeth can be a very emotional event. Not only does tooth loss impact their ability to chew, and in some cases, even how they talk, some people relate to losing a tooth to losing a part of themselves. Dr. Norman counsels patients who have lost a tooth through their options for tooth replacement and the ins and outs of dental implants.

Dental implants are an excellent option to replace lost teeth because they are a permanent solution. This is because the implant is placed on a titanium post that is surgically implanted into the jawbone. Over time, the post becomes ossified or grows, into the jaw. Once it is fully integrated into the bone, a high-quality ceramic tooth is placed onto the post. This ceramic tooth functions just like a natural tooth and can be brushed and flossed normally as part of a regular oral hygiene routine.

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A New Breakthrough in Dental Technology Can Engineer a Dental Implant Able to Fight Off Infection

Dental implants are a great way for patients to replace missing teeth and restore their smile. Implants allow dentists to not only improve a smile’s aesthetics by replacing missing teeth, but they also allow protection of patient health by preventing loss of bone, additional tooth loss and other complications that arise from missing teeth. Dental implants are an ideal therapy because they are easy to care for, are permanent and have a high rate of success compared to other procedures or therapies. A new breakthrough for dental implants can make them an even better therapy – by engineering them to help fight off infection.

The success rate of dental implants is almost 99 percent, according to the American Academy of Endodontists. This means that for the majority of implant patients, there are no complications during or after implant placement. But for some patients, complications from dental implants can and do occur. Complications of implant surgery can range from the failure to ossify, or anchor, itself into the bone. Another cause of implant failure is the development of infections. Infections of dental implants are known as dental implantitis, and are caused by bacteria that is present in the patient’s gums before the procedure, or that develop as a result of improper dental hygiene practices after surgery.

Researchers at Spain’s University of the Basque Country are working to develop antibacterial coatings for dental implants to minimize complications and failure from infections, and help to ensure successful implant placements. The project has its challenges, however. One particular challenge the project seeks to address is the ability of certain bacteria to resist antibiotic treatment. Another challenge for researchers is addressing the problem of implants failing to ossify into the bone where they are placed, a situation that occurs in 30 percent of dental implant procedures worldwide.

Dr. Amy Norman, D.D.S., an Everett, Washington, dentist performs dental implant surgery on patients in her office who are looking to restore their smiles. "Many patients are looking to replace teeth that are missing, improve their smiles and regain their confidence. They often choose to do so using dental implants because implants are a permanent treatment versus prosthetic dentures. Dental implants are also very easy to care for," says Norman. "Most patients who have a dental implant have no complications with their implant surgery, but the idea of being able to minimize infection through the implant itself is intriguing and exciting," she continued.

The Spanish scientists initially developed a solution made up of silica and antibacterial agents that developed into a gel over time. This gel was then used to coat the titanium screw portion of the implant. Silica was chosen because of its bone growth inducing benefits.

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