The Specialist

Dental implants are the best alternative to teeth replacement

In this column, I will share the benefits of dental implants and how they can make a substantial difference in your life.

Some of the most common benefits:

• Implants have less long-term cost because of how long they last.

• Implants don’t decay like natural teeth or like teeth with crowns.

• Implants are easier to take care of than a bridge. For single implants, there is no need for a floss threader.

• Implants stop teeth from shifting.

• Implants stop the bone from shrinking, therefore, the bone is retained.

• Implants can serve as retention on your denture.

Implants are expected to last a lifetime.

According to research, the vast majority of implants last for over 20 years. Without being too technical, this is considered permanent. That said, in my practice, when an implant is placed, it is our anticipation that they last a lifetime like natural teeth.

The cost of dental implant treatment depends on your consultation.

Many prospective patients call or text and ask, “How much is one implant going to cost?”

Unfortunately, the answer is not that simple. The proper way to determine actual cost is to book an appointment for a comprehensive exam. During the examination, you will find out if you have the available bone. Also, you will find out the quality of your bone and your surrounding teeth. Further, you will learn how many implants may be required. You will find out if there is a need to grow new bone. You will learn of many factors that may enhance or limit your dental choices. In essence, you will leave educated and empowered to make a good judgement of the investment required for a healthy smile. Afterward, investment terms will be discussed.

Implants replace the roots of natural teeth.

Many dentists are involved in dental implant treatment.

Many dentists place and restore dental implants. For the most part, they do them well and patients generally benefit. However, some cases require the experience and expertise of a trained periodontist. Periodontists are highly trained and experienced in diagnosis and surgical treatment. Periodontists are intimately involved in saving teeth, analyzing bone and treatment planning cases. A periodontist is a treatment planning specialist. There are times when we can save a tooth rather than replace it with a dental implant.

The latest technology to enhance your experience

Several innovations include:

• Digital x-rays provide immediate feedback during the surgical procedure equipping the specialist with the correct angulation and precise length of the implant. Conventional x-rays could take as long as six to eight minutes to process. With digital x-rays, the picture shows up on the computer screen instantaneously, providing results and shortened surgery time.

• Plasma rich growth factors (PRGF): This is one of the latest advances in plastic, orthopedic and dental surgery. Your own platelets have numerous growth factors that can speed up healing of the treatment site.

• Bone grafts with stem cells: Bone proteins placed in combination with bone grafts stimulate the recruitment of stem cells from other parts of the body or another source.

• Cone-beam CT scan (CBCT): The CT scan provides you with a three-dimensional view of your face and jawbone. With this third dimension, we can more easily locate good bone for the implant. We can actually do the procedure on a computer first, saving you time, discomfort and money. Our office is one of few offices in the Caribbean who has invested in this ultra-modern technology.

• Experience: In 1989, I placed my first implant and have been training and assisting other colleagues who desire more knowledge and assistance in placing and restoring them. Many dentists refer their patients for dental implants. Also, many patients refer their family and friends based on our success rate and achievement over the years, where over 3,000 have been placed.

Does dental insurance cover dental implant treatment?

Insurance coverage depends on your individual policy. Unfortunately, most companies, despite the universal acceptance of dental implants, exclude implants as a coverage benefit.

Dental implants are a permanent solution to improving facial appearance, confidence and self-esteem. Implants are the closest thing to your natural teeth and provide a fully functional replacement for missing teeth.

Dental implants can assist in preventing further deterioration of your mouth and give you something good to smile about.

 • Dr. Kendal V.O. Major is the founder and CEO of the Center for Specialized Dentistry, which is a comprehensive family dental practice operating in New Providence and Grand Bahama. He is the first Bahamian specialist in gum diseases and dental implants since 1989. He is also a certified fast braces provider. His practice is located at 89 Collins Avenue, New Providence. He can be contacted at (242) 325-5165 or kmajorcsd@gmail.com.

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