What is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants look and feel like you own lost tooth. They are a tooth replacement option that involves placing a new "root" into the bone of your jaw. The titanium "root” fuses with your bone in 3-6 months and can then be used to support a crown, bridge or denture. Implants can also be used to replace partials and other forms of dentures.
The success rate for dental implants is extremely high and is due in part to the biocompatible material of titanium Because titanium is accepted so well by the human body, it is also used for orthopedic implants, such as hip and knee replacements. They have become well accepted in the dental industry for replacing missing teeth. They look and feel like your natural teeth and have a higher success rate than all other forms of tooth replacement.
There are considerations to take into account when deciding if dental implants are right for you. Because implants require surgery, patients need to be in good health and have healthy gums and bone support. The initial cost is generally higher for an implant over other forms of tooth replacement, but the long term benefits easily outweigh the difference in additional cost. An investment in implant dentistry is an investment in overall health, appearance and well being, as it involves preserving the integrity of facial structures, as well as replacing missing teeth.
Dental implants require time and healing to look and feel like your natural teeth. The placement and function is usually a two part process. First the implant post is placed and the area is allowed to heal. During this time you may be wearing a temporary crown and asked to limit heavy chewing in the area. The healing period is between three to six months.
The second stage of implant placement involves restoring the implant with the restoration of choice. Here is where you have many options with just how this implant will function. It may be used to support a single crown, as an attachment to hold a denture or partial, or one end of a fixed bridge to replace several teeth.
While there are some techniques that allow for immediate loading of new implants, there will always be healing that has to take place and limitations on function in the beginning of any new implant. Patients need to be committed to very thorough oral hygiene every day and regular dental visits to be considered a good candidate for dental implants.
Single Tooth Implants
Do you have missing teeth? It is critically important to replace missing teeth. Eating and chewing with missing teeth can sabotage your bite and lead to incessant discomfort. Missing teeth can give rise to a mouth rearrangement that often results in facial changes that look decrepit.
A single tooth implant procedure may be done if a tooth has been extracted or is missing. A titanium implant base is placed into the jawbone to resemble the tooth root. We allow a period of time for the jawbone to heal over the implant base before fitting for a crown.
Next, an abutment is screwed into the base of the implant to allow for a crown to be fitted on top. Finally, a custom fabricated crown is placed over the abutment to function like a real tooth.
Multiple Tooth Implants
Multiple tooth implants may be placed if you need or desire to permanently replace an extracted or lost tooth. Titanium implant bases are placed into the jawbone to replace the job of the tooth roots. We allow a period of time to allow for the jawbone to heal over the bases before fitting for a crown. Next, abutments are screwed into the bases of the implants to allow crowns to be attached. Finally, custom fabricated crowns are placed over the abutments and will function like a real tooth.
Considerations for Dental Implants
The advantages of dental implants far outweigh the disadvantages.
- They look and feel like a natural tooth.
- The adjacent teeth do not have to be involved in the placement procedure.
- They retain bone support, facial form and lip support.
- May be able to be repaired and replaced if needed
- They cannot get dental decay.
- They cannot be sensitive to temperature or sweets.
- The cost is higher than alternative replacement options