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What you should know about

dental implants by Dr. Mehrdad Ezzati Phone: 604-629-8440 Email:

What you should know about

dental implants? Most of my patients think that dental implants are a new technology but in fact dental implants have been used successfully in dentistry since the 1960s. However, what has changed recently is that there have been huge advancements in their design, manufacture and ease of placement – making them more and more commonly prescribed to and placed in my patients. In fact 3% of Canadian adults already have at least one dental implant.

What makes dental implants such a great choice? The advantages of a dental implant are impressive: a missing tooth is replaced without causing any damage to adjacent teeth; in size, shape, and color it is virtually identical to a natural tooth; and the success rate, 10 years following placement, ranges from 77-95% depending on the quality of bone the implant was initially placed in. This makes dental implants one of the most successful and predictable treatments in dentistry. Phone: 604-629-8440 Email:

Why doesn’t everyone get dental implants? For my patients the biggest barriers to choosing a dental implant are the higher cost and the increased time required to deliver the final product. Typically the cost of dental implant treatment ranges from $3500-$5000 per tooth replaced and the treatment time ranges from 3-7 months depending on the quality of the bone that the implant is being placed in. However, more and more I am finding that when my patients consider all the options for replacing a lost tooth, they are choosing to have a dental implant. If you haven’t already, read my handout that describes other options for replacing missing teeth.

What actually happens when I get a dental implant? A very small titanium rod will be inserted into the bone where the replacement tooth is to be fixed. Over time, the body’s natural process will cause new bone to bond around the titanium, giving a very solid anchor or man-made ‘root’ for your new tooth. This integration is what gives the dental implant the stability to withstand the chewing forces. A final crown that can be used normally and fully is not possible until this integration process is complete. This usually takes between 3 and 5 months. However, sometimes a temporary crown that is not in contact with the opposing teeth can be placed immediately after implant placement if the missing tooth is in the front of the mouth and if my patient would benefit from this temporary crown for esthetic reasons.

Figure 1: Dental Implant Components

That sounds a little scary! Some of my patients become concerned that having the metal rod inserted into their jawbone will be overly invasive and even painful. They may also feel that the process is going to be a long one. However, the truth of the matter is that having an implant put in place is less painful and traumatic than having a tooth pulled. This is because the bone in the jaw has no nerve endings. Only the gum and soft tissue need to be treated with anaesthetic prior to the procedure taking place.

“Healing time is amazingly fast” Healing time is amazingly fast – typically only 1 – 2 days. Implants can take some time to install, but that requirement is usually not a problem, once patients are made aware of the impressive results that follow. Anti-inflammatories and antibiotics that are prescribed as part of the treatment make sure that there are no associated problems afterwards. Phone: 604-629-8440 Email:

Am I a good candidate for dental implants? If my patients are interested in dental implants, I will take them through a full consultation process. The first determination is whether my patient is a candidate for dental implant treatment. Apart from a few rare medical conditions, most patients can have dental implant therapy, if the quantity and quality of the bone in the space of the missing tooth is sufficient. This bone quality and quantity of bone is also the most important and influential factor in the success rate of the dental implant in the long term. We know for certain that when a tooth is extracted, almost immediately the bone that used to surround the missing tooth starts to resorb and shrink in size. The amount and rate of this bone loss varies among patients, but the general rule is that the sooner the missing tooth is replaced with an implant, the less bone loss will occur and the higher the success rate of the procedure. Phone: 604-629-8440 Email:

Table 1: Advantages and Disadvantages of Dental Implants

Advantages Positive Fills gaps of missing teeth Cosmetically superb results Prevents the mouth ‘sagging’ Comfortable and not bulky Adjacent teeth do not have to be drilled Prevents bone loss Eating, chewing and biting as normal Aesthetically a perfect match for natural teeth Very long lasting

Disadvantages More expensive Treatment time may take longer Bone graft may be required

This is why I recommend that my patients have a procedure called “socket grafting� done at the time of their extraction if they know that they cannot afford or have the time to have a dental implant for 6-12 months following the extraction of the tooth. This procedure consists of placing bone particles into the extraction socket to preserve the bone and reduce the bone loss in the extracted tooth area. However, the benefits of this treatment wear out after about 6-12 months following the extraction and the bone loss resumes its normal speed.

How we assess your bone prior to fitting an implant To determine the extent of bone loss around a missing tooth, I use a CT scan to get a 3-D view of the bone in the extraction site. With accompanying software I measure the width, length and depth of available space for the dental implant. This also allows me to locate and mark important anatomical structures like nerves or sinuses to ensure that the implant is placed a safe distance away from such structures. The CT scan will also allow me to determine if a patient is a candidate for dental implant treatment and whether the patient can become a candidate with proper bone grafting procedures.

Bone grafting is a treatment where lost bone is replaced. It can range from very complicated and large grafts when there is insufficient bone in all directions of the proposed dental implant to simple grafts where only a very small area of the proposed implant lacks sufficient bone support. Bone grafting adds additional appointments, cost, and treatment complexity and does in the end affect the success rate of the treatment so if it can be avoided it should be. Phone: 604-629-8440 Email:

The simplest way to avoid the need for bone grafting procedures is to replace the extracted tooth as soon as possible with a dental implant. It is always disappointing for my patients to be finally ready to commit to a dental implant only to find out that there is insufficient bone and they are not a candidate for this treatment. When compared to the other methods of tooth replacement, this may be the most expensive but it also gives fantastic results. Phone: 604-629-8440 Email:

If you’re considering dental implants, please contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.

“replace the extracted tooth as soon as possible”

Dr. Ezzati “tomorrow’s dentistry, today”, Dr. Ezzati began practicing dentistry in 1997 at Atlantis Dental in Vancouver’s Yaletown. The slogan at Atlantis was “tomorrow’s dentistry, today”, and 16 years later that tomorrow is very much here. Dr. Ezzati is eager to make the all of the impressive advancements in dental technology available to his patients as needed. His aim is to establish Olympic Village Dental as Vancouver’s premiere high-tech dental office, where technology is paired with expertise and a genuinely caring approach for each individual.

This aim is a smart one, as increasing numbers of your professionals now reside Olympic Village and nearby neighbourhoods. These individuals value their time very much, and trust technology more so than older generations. Olympic Village Dental has designed their practice with this in mind and intends to put themselves at the forefront for this type of clientele. Phone: 604-629-8440 Email:

“These younger men and women want to get in, get the work done, and resume their daily lives” says Dr. Ezzati, “and our technology and expertise allows us to provide that for them.” Last but not least, every patient can expect open, direct, and honest communication from Dr. Ezzati and his staff regarding prognosis, expectations, time requirements and costs. He practices as if every patient is a family member, taking their best interests to heart on a personal level. That’s the mark of a good dentist in Vancouver or anywhere else for that matter, and it’s a big part of the exceptional service and dentistry excellence you’ll enjoy at Olympic Village Dental. Phone: 604-629-8440 Email:

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