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 artificial roots and teeth (usually titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by a dentist or Periodontist - a specialist of the gums and supporting bone. The teeth attached to implants are very natural looking and often enhance or restore a patient’s smile!
Dental implants are strong and durable and will last many years. On occasion, they will have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear.
Reasons for dental implants:
What does getting dental implants involve?
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 it more secure and comfortable.
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. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself 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 several weeks of healing the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step may take one to two months to complete. After a healing period, the artificial teeth are 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 and eating habits, alongside regular dental visits, will aid in the life of your new implant.
If you have questions about dental implants or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office.
What exactly is an implant?
A natural tooth has a crown - the part which shows above the gumline, and a root - the anchor hidden below the gumline.
When a tooth is missing, a dental implant takes the place of the missing root and a prosthetic crown replaces the natural crown.
The Implant Procedure
The implant procedure is the same whether one or all teeth are missing. In this example, there is only one missing lower tooth. For the purpose of demonstation we will assume the patient is healthy and is a candidate for this procedure.
Implant Site Preparation
The gum tissue is opened to expose the bone area where the implant will be placed. In situations where there is insufficient bone structure, bone grafting may be a recommended procedure.
Once healthy bone material has been established, a special drill is used to prepare the bone to receive the implant.
Placing the Implant
After the bone has been prepared, the implant is placed and the tissue is sutured.
The Healing Process - Osseointegration
The healing process takes three to six months. This is the amount of time it usually takes the implant to become part of the lower jaw, commonly refered to as osseointegration.
The sutures are typically removed however, seven to fourteen days after surgery.
Attaching the Post
When the gum tissue is ready, a special post is attached to the implant. It is the support for the new porcelain crown.
Today's technologies often include zirconium abutments attached to the implant post, to assure that the new porcelain tooth possesses translucency properties similar to a natural tooth.
Placing the Crown
After impressions are taken a crown is made and shaded to match your existing teeth. The crown is then slipped over the post and cemented.
The Completed Implant
The final prosthetic crown appears as a natural tooth.
Applications of Implant Dentistry
In many cases, dental implants are incorporated into an overall treatment plan that might focus on the replacement of several teeth.
Some patients have the option of replacing each affected tooth with a new implant, depending upon the condition of bone material.
Other treatment plans may recommend implants for anchoring bridges and dentures.