Implant Dentistry has revolutionized the restoration and reconstruction of patients who are missing some or even all of their teeth. Regardless of whether the tooth loss is a result of trauma or poor oral health, implants can be used to stabilize, replace, or completely restore a patient’s smile and function. This information will help you learn what a dental implant is and how it may be used to create a healthy mouth for you.
Implants Versus Bridges or Dentures
Many people prefer and will benefit from dental implants rather than fixed bridges or dentures because implant dentistry results in:
- Natural appearance and feel. Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. Since dental implants integrate into the structure of your bone, it is likely no one will ever know that you have a replacement tooth.
- Tooth sparing. Dental implants don’t sacrifice the quality of your adjacent teeth because neighboring teeth are not altered to support the implant. (No crowns needed on teeth to support bridges!) Because implant dentistry leaves more of your own teeth unaltered, it is a benefit to oral health.
- Confidence. Dental implants allow you to speak and eat with comfort and confidence. They are secure and offer freedom from the clicks and wobbles of normal dentures. Dental implants are one way to avoid misplaced dentures, messy pastes, and denture adhesives that you may be currently using.
- Reliability. Before performing implant dentistry, we always gather the proper medical information. Thats why the rate of success for the implant is highly predictable. Implants are an excellent option for tooth replacement.
Visit our Smile Gallery to see the progression of implants for a bridge.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a small post made of metal (titanium) and coated with a special material that allows the implant to attach to the bone. At the beginning of the implant dentistry procedure, the small post is surgically inserted into the jaw where the teeth are missing. After the implant is placed, the surgical area and bone are allowed to heal for a time period that in some cases can be as long as four to six months. It is during this healing phase that the bone actually bonds to the titanium implant. A dental implant can be used to replace a single tooth, as the anchor point for several adjacent teeth (bridge), or as an anchoring aid for dentures.
What Is Involved In the Dental Implant Process?
One, and sometimes two implant dentistry procedures must be performed to place the anchor and an associated post support that may be needed to connect replacement teeth. Different types of implants affect whether one or two surgeries may be necessary. We will advise you on the best approach. After the gums have healed for several weeks, artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step can take one to two months to complete.
Implant dentistry surgical procedures can be performed either in a dental office or in a hospital, depending upon a number of factors. A local or general anesthetic may be used. Usually pain medications and, when necessary, antibiotics are prescribed. We will define and discuss the implant dentistry plan we propose for you, including clear instructions on diet and oral hygiene procedures to follow during and after completing the process.
Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?
The ideal candidate for a dental implant is in good general and oral health. Adequate bone in your jaw is needed to support the implant, and the best candidates for implant dentistry have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease. Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to an injury or some other reason.
What Can I Expect After Dental Implant Treatment?
As you know, your own teeth require conscientious at-home oral care and regular dental visits. Dental implants are like your own teeth and will require the same care. In order to keep your implant clean and plaque-free, brushing and flossing is important. Your customized implant dentistry plan will include periodic follow-up visits to monitor your implant, teeth and gums to make sure they are healthy.