I spent last weekend in Chicago at an international conference on dental implantology. Watching the field evolve from when I first started placing implants in 1986 to where it is now has been a wonderous march with science.
The biggest take-aways from the speakers who traveled from afar including Europe and Asia to share information with those of us who are committed to implant dentistry were:
1) The maintenance of implants after they have been placed is critical. When implants were first introduced in the mid-1980’s, there was a belief that they were somewhat immune to some of the issues that affect teeth such periodontal disease. As the years go by, we are now discovering that is not true and that implants need to be maintained, cleaned by the patient and maintained by the dentist, as carefully as regular teeth. They are impervious to decay so that issue is eliminated but loss of bone can occur making follow-up care for implants as important as having your teeth followed professionally. Careful oral hygiene, similar to what you employ in cleaning your teeth, should be done around your implants.
2) The second take-away was the progress in terms of placing immediate implants and making restorations in shorter periods of time. When implants were first introduced, we had to wait approximately 6 months to put crowns on them. That’s been shortened by some of the implant systems, one of which we are employing in our office, to as little as six weeks when it’s appropriate.
In addition, there are cases and patients for who implants can be restored immediately; even for patients who have no teeth, it is possible to replace all the teeth in one day with a temporary type of bridge eliminating the denture they are wearing.
Please share this information with your friends and family since implant dentistry has progressed to a level that we can make significant differences in a very short period of time.
One final note, 15 years ago I placed implants in a man who had no lower teeth and had difficulty eating. In a recent conversation with him, he told me that this was the biggest life-style change that he’s ever experienced. His ability to eat, smile and speak comfortably has created a huge difference in his personal sense of well-being as well as his health.
Wishing you all a healthy and peaceful spring,
Dr. Victor M. Sternberg, D.M.D.