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How Succesful Are Dental Implants?


Dental Implants are the most successful and healthy option to replace teeth. They do not require the multilation of adjacent teeth and are permanent and can be treated just like normal teeth. Implants are not fail safe, however. They require careful treatment planning and expert placement to ensure their success.

Sometimes, after an implant is placed the bone around it does not fuse to implant surface like it should, more technically, osseointegrate, and the implant will come out. This usually occurs within the first few weeks to months of placement. If this happens to occur, many times the site can heal and the implant can be reattempted in a few months. Most implants that are replaced are successful and do not require future treatment.

Sometimes, after the implant has been in function with a crown placed, bone around the implant can be lost due to infection. Infections around implants can be caused by many things but primarily are caused by bacteria that fester between the gums and the implant. Bone loss around an implant is referred to as, peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis can lead to an ailing or a failing implant. An ailing implant is one where there is some bone loss, but no pain or mobility of the implant. In this case, disinfection and bone grafting around the implant may be needed to extend the life and health of the implant and keep it from failing. A failing implant is one that  is characterized by more than 50% bone loss with pain and mobility present. A failing implant usually requires the removal of the implant and in most cases reimplantation after a certain healing period.

Studies and research of dental implants going out 30 plus years give implants a success of 95%. This figure is coming under more scrutiny, as more and more dentists are placing implants without the right training and experience. It is important as both a patient and a consumer that you question who the best practitioner to place your implant would be. We, at Periodontal Specialists, have been placing thousands of implants for decades. We were required to have three years of training in the placement and the science of dental implant placement. We are the most knowledgeable about success and treatment of ailing and failing implants. We would love to consult with you about your options and give you the best functioning implants possible.


Buying a Dental Implant Should Be A Lot Like Buying A Car


There are many manufacturers of dental implants just like there are many manufacturers of cars. It is important as a consumer to do your research and ask your dentist or Periodontist what type of implants they place and what they are familiar with when placing a crown or restoring the implant. There are around 4-5 “major” manufacturers of implants and just like a car they all come with different features and advantages. It is important to discuss with your Periodontist why they place what they place and the history of research that backs up their choice. It is important to know that there are many “off brand” dental implant manufacturers which offer implants at a lower fee to the surgeon and discounted parts. Make sure to know if your surgeon is placing these “off brands” and make sure to tell your surgeon that you want an implant that was made by a reputable company with research to back up their success. Dental implants are as much as an investment as a car is, but unlike a car implants don’t have a warranty, so it is important to ask your surgeon if the implant fails what kind of policies they have to protect you the consumer. We, at Periodontal Specialists, would love to discuss your options with you, talk about the implants we place, and go over our policies if something were to happen to your implant. We strive to provide the best care and make you the most knowledgeable about your choices and investment in dental implants THE BEST replacement option for your teeth.


Why Are Dental Implants So Expensive?


When giving patients options for replacing their teeth, patients will always ask, “What is my cheapest option and what will my dental insurance cover or pay?” There are many options for replacing a single tooth or multiple teeth, but Dental Implants are by far the best option for tooth replacement. Studies going out 30 years still give implants a 95% success rate, which is by far superior to any other option including bridges and partials. When looking at replacing your teeth it is important to stop thinking about it as an “expense” and start thinking about it as an investment. We don’t just use our teeth once a day, we chew, swallow and eat constantly throughout the day so isn’t important that we have reliable teeth that function correctly? Dental Implants allow us to do that.

When looking at the option of Dental Implants versus a Fixed Bridge, Dental Implants are actually only slightly more expensive than a Bridge. Many insurance companies cover portions of the Implant payment, or dictate the fee that in network providers have to charge. Many financing options are also available to make Implants more feasible for patients. We, at Periodontal Specialists, want to give you all of your options and help you make the best decision about replacing your teeth. We want to make sure you make the best investment for your long term dental health goals, and most importantly keep you smiling! So, make an appointment for a Dental Implant consult so we can pull back the curtain on the real “Investment” and not “Expense” that Dental Implants really are.


Should I Have A Periodontist Place My Dental Implants?


We, at Periodontal Specialists, get this question a lot, especially since a lot of general dentists are starting to place more implants. It is important for patients to realize that placing dental implants is not part of the normal general dentist curriculum and very few to none of dental students ever get to place a dental implant before graduation, or ever see one actually placed. Most patients at a dental school that have implants placed either go to the Graduate Periodontal program or to the Graduate Oral Surgery program. Most general dentists get their training in implant dentistry after graduation where they attend weekend courses or classes and get to place around twenty implants before they begin to implement implant placement in their office.

You wouldn’t go to your regular physician for open heart surgery even though they know the anatomy of the area would you?

A Graduate Periodontal program or residency includes three years of training beyond dental school. During that time Periodontal Residents are taught the history, science, healing, and proper placement and management of dental implants. An average Periodontal Resident will place upwards of 100 dental implants during their residency, and are trained to manage surgical complications, including, bleeding, infection, and bone grafting procedures to enhance the success of the procedure.

It now becomes clear why dental implant placement at the Periodontal office might be more expensive than at the general dentists office. Periodontists have more training and are more equipped to provide the success and deal with the complications that may arise when evaluating a patient for implant placement.

Implants are the most successful replacement option for missing teeth and when you are looking at investing your time and money, we at Periodontal Specialists want to make sure you are investing the most educated and empowered. If you are missing a tooth or multiple teeth, please call your local Kansas City Periodontist for a consultation, you won’t regret it!


Why Do Missing Teeth Even Matter?


We, at Periodontal Specialists in Kansas City, get this question a lot. Especially if the patient is missing a back tooth and they feel that no one can see it or that they are chewing “just fine”. The issue, although, is not just the chewing function for the patient. You see, when a person loses a tooth a lot of unnoticeable changes occur that can lead to other problems.

The thing to realize is that teeth like to touch, or contact, each other. If we lose a bottom tooth, the tooth on the top opposing it will start to grow down into the space. If we lose a tooth on the top, the tooth on the bottom opposing it will grow up in to the space. It is a phenomenon, known as super-eruption of teeth. Also, teeth have a tendency to shift or drift into an empty space, so that if we lose a tooth, the teeth beside the missing tooth will shift into the space. The reason this is important is that if we have teeth that a shifted or drifted, or grown up or down, as we open and close and bite side to side, those teeth will put extra pressure on the teeth that are biting them, and that extra pressure or force can get translated back to our joints and can cause temporomandibular joint paint, or TMJ. So, for out mouth and teeth to be healthy we want a full complement of teeth that bite evenly together.

Another thing that people don’t realize or know is that it’s the roots of our teeth that stimulate the bone around it. When a tooth is taken out, or extracted, the bone that was present will start to shrink, or atrophy. First it starts to shrink width-wise then it starts to shrink height-wise. Once we lose height of bone it becomes very difficult, to impossible, to build that height back in with bone grafting procedures. This can make replacing the tooth very challenging and reduce or options for replacing the tooth.

The question now becomes, “What are my options for replacing one or more teeth?”. Well, most people have three options for replacing teeth. The first is something removable that comes in and out, what we call a Partial Denture. Most patients don’t like this option due to having to take their teeth in and out. Over time the denture becomes loose and may need other procedures done to tighten it, or may need to be replaced. The clasps that help hold the denture in place can also loosen the teeth that they clasp and can endanger the life and health of those teeth.  The second option is something more permanent, that doesn’t come in and out, what we call a Fixed Bridge. This can only be done if there are teeth in front and in back of the missing tooth. It requires cutting down those adjacent teeth, which might not have any problems, and placing crowns with fake teeth attached. Anytime, we as Dentists, cut on a tooth we make tooth more susceptible to problems, like cavities and fractures. Not to mention that the Bridge is completely fused together and makes it very difficult to clean around. Lack of hygiene can lead to gum disease and bone loss around the Bridge and can cause the bridge to fail.

The third option, and best option, for replacing teeth is what we call a Dental Implant. A Dental Implant is a titanium screw that replaces the root of a tooth and a crown can be placed on that implant after an adequate healing time. The Dental Implant does not affect the adjacent teeth and is like you getting your individual tooth back. It can take longer to complete, over the other options, because the Implant must be placed first and must heal for approximately 3-4 months before a permanent crown can be placed. It does have the best success over time, versus the other options, and studies going out 30 years still give Dental Implants a 95% success rate.

So, If you are missing a tooth or multiple teeth, please call your local Kansas City Periodontist, to schedule a consult to talk about your options and what would be best for you!


St. Patrick- The Patron Saint of Gums?


While I think we all know that St. Patrick is not the patron saint of our gums, this is the time when we can all celebrate being Irish and have a drink to celebrate the work of St. Patrick. Most of us celebrate with green attire and green beer, some more than others, and whether we know it or not alcohol can affect our teeth and especially our gums. Alcohol consumption raises our body’s inflammatory response which, in the presence of bacteria around our teeth, can increase destruction of our gums and the bone around our teeth. In a study by Shepherd (2011 Evidence Based Dentistry), evidence was found suggesting that alcohol consumption is a risk indicator for Periodontitis. So, after you celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day make sure to make an appointment with your local Kansas City Periodontist to evaluate the health of your teeth and gums!


February is Heart Month


It’s that time of the year when we cherish the ones we love with flowers and candy. All around us are heart shaped boxes and jewelry enticing us to give gifts in appreciation of how much we feel loved.

But don’t you think that our loved ones would want us to make sure we take care of ourselves so that we will be around to love?

Month by month, more and more studies come out linking periodontal disease to cardiovascular, or heart, disease. The mechanisms that create this relationship are becoming more understood in that we know that patients with periodontal disease are at more risk for heart attacks and stroke. Heart attacks are caused by plaques that develop along artery, or blood vessel, walls making it harder for blood to flow to the heart. If those plaques were removed and cultured to find out what was in them, you would find the same bacteria living in those plaques that live in the month and cause periodontal disease. If you have been told that you have “gum disease”, “periodontal disease”, or “pockets” around your teeth it is important that you see a Periodontist for a consult to determine what can be done to control the disease so that we can reduce your risk factors for diseases such as cardiovascular disease.

This month, the best gift you can give your loved ones is a healthy you, a healthy heart, and a healthy mouth! Let Periodontal Specialists help keep you healthy this Valentine’s Day!


New Year New Teeth


As the New Year begins, we are strapped with bills and the hunger that this year will be better than the last. We make resolutions and set goals for ourselves, some that we meet and some that are all too soon forgotten or given up on. We, at Periodontal Specialists, would encourage you to make a commitment to your health and the health of your teeth and gums. Month by month, more and more studies and research are coming out linking the health of the mouth to many other diseases of the body including, Cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and some forms of cancer. It is of upmost importance that you take care of your health before you can take care of the health of your loved ones. Do yourself a favor and in this season of new beginnings, make an appointment with your Kansas City Periodontal office to evaluate your oral health and get you the smile to beam you into the New Year!


Feeling a little Stressed lately?


Every day stresses, like driving to work, dealing with the boss, the screaming kids, and even getting out of bed in the morning can just be enough to push someone off the edge. If you compound that with the stress of the holidays, and shopping for presents, and for the holiday meals can make things even worse. We tend to ignore our health in these times to the hustle and bustle of the day and not realize the toll that stress can take on our bodies and even our teeth.

Studies have shown (Genco et al, 1999) that stress, especially financial stress, can increase the risk of developing periodontal disease, which is a disease of our gums and bone that can lead to loss of teeth. Stress can reduce the response of our immune system to bacteria that live between our teeth and gums, which causes inflammation, and leads to bone loss around the teeth. If you have been feeling stressed lately it is time to focus on your health. It would be wise to seek out an appointment and an evaluation from your local Kansas City Periodontist, to evaluate your periodontal health!


Are you worried about that extra holiday weight?


We all love to indulge over the holiday season, and why not? It’s the one time of year we can have multiple Thanksgiving feasts, office parties, and all the yuletide has to offer. But did you know that packing on that extra holiday weight can actually affect your teeth. I’m not talking about just cavities but obesity, specifically, can increase your risk for developing periodontal disease, where the bone and gums around your teeth are eroded and loss of teeth can occur.

In periodontal disease, our gums become infected by bacteria and our body tries to fight the bacteria by increasing blood flow to the area and a state of inflammation occurs in our gums and bone. Adipose tissue, or fat, produces cytokines, which can lead to a hyperinflamed state. Studies have found (Gorman et al, 2012), that overall obesity is associated with an increased hazard of periodontal disease progression in men.

This chronic inflammation causes increased destruction of bone and gums around teeth and can accelerate the disease process and loss of teeth faster. Due to obesity being a true Risk Factor for periodontal disease, it is important that if you have trouble controlling your weight, or have put on a few pounds recently, that you consult with your Kansas City Periodontist so they can evaluate the health of your teeth and gums!

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9321 North Oak Trafficway
Kansas City, MO 64155
11401 Nall Ave.
Leawood, KS 66211
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411 Nichols Rd., Suite 236
Kansas City, MO 64112
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3355 NE Ralph Powell Rd.
Lee’s Summit, MO 64064
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