Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures. Implants provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances.
Dental implants are titanium screws or cylinders which are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by an oral surgeon. Once the implant integrates to the bone (three to six months), your dentist will restore it with an implant crown. The teeth attached to implants are very natural looking and often enhance or restore a patient’s smile!
Dental implants can also be used to provide additional anchors (abutments) for longer bridges in cases of multiple missing teeth in a row or provide support for dentures. When replacing a missing tooth, individual implant crowns are a significantly better treatment option in comparison to a bridge because they result in a separate crown best resembling the original tooth and not requiring reduction in the structure of the abutment teeth. However, in some situation, bridge may be a better choice if a patient is not a candidate for an implant placement due to certain medical conditions, lifestyle (smoking severely inhibits implant integration), significant bone loss, etc.
Dental implants are very strong, stable, and durable and will last many years, but on occasion, they will have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear.
Reasons for dental implants:
Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space.
Restore a patient’s confident smile.
Restore chewing, speech, and digestion.
Restore or enhance facial tissues.
Support a bridge or denture, making them more secure and comfortable.
What does getting dental implants involve?
The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months.
X-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. In many cases, a radiographic scanning device is made by a laboratory to be used during a radiographic CAT scan and serve as a template for an oral surgeon to aid in precise implant placement. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself onto the bone for up to six months. Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the “post” that will hold the artificial tooth in place. With other implants the post and anchor are already attached and placed at the same time.
After three to six months of healing, an implant crown (alternatively, an implant supported bridge or denture) is securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort to the patient.
You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new implant.