Montrose Star interviews trusted dental authority Dr Randy Mitchmore at his Montrose practice called LifeSmiles.
MS: It seems today that there is an implant for every body part. What is happening in the dental world?
Dr M: Yes, there are a number of body part implants that can make you smile for a variety of reasons! Dental Implants make my patients smile because they are truly a godsend answer for serious dental problems. Dental Implants are now considered the standard of care option of replacing missing teeth. Up to now missing teeth had to be replaced either by a removable appliance that literally clipped on to the remaining teeth. Or, you had to drill down the adjacent teeth to glue a fixed bridge on to them.
Worse still are people that have full dentures. Dentures are much like having your hand amputated and then having an artificial hand put on. It might look like a hand but it sure does not work like one. Denture wearers have many times been treated like the step children of dentistry because there was not a really good prosthetic option. On the contrary, I believe denture wearers deserve the best that can be done.
MS: So exactly what is a dental implant?
Dr M: Implants come in two parts. Think of a dental implant as a titanium replacement of the root of a tooth in the jaw bone. Because implants are anchored into the bone like the roots of your teeth, they act like natural teeth and preserve and strengthen the underlying bone. There is no need to drill down healthy teeth, and there are no plates to affect comfort and fit. Because the implant is like a root, you then can have a variety of options of what you attach to that root. It could be a single tooth, it could be used to lock down a loose denture, or you can place multiple implants to replace all of the teeth.
MS: I hear people say that they are going to give up on trying to fix their teeth and just have ‘em all taken out and implants put in. Is that a good idea?
Dr M: Well, it is probably going to be a lot more expensive than fixing their own teeth. This comes as an ugly surprise to people thinking like that. The surgery to place one implant (the root portion only) typically ranges from $1,500 to $2,500. Then you have the added cost of whatever gets attached to that root.
MS: Speaking of surgery, how painful is that and how major is that?
Dr M: In my office, I am able to do this much like endoscopic surgery. I have a special x-ray that makes a 3-D image of the jaw and from that I can have computer guided placement through a very tiny hole. Most of the time an incision and stitches are no longer needed. This means there is very little discomfort and no bleeding. Now that is pretty cool.