A dental implant is a post made of metal that is designed to replace missing teeth. It is usually made out of titanium and is placed surgically into the jawbone where the tooth is missing. Unlike a bridge, an implant is a more permanent solution.
You have several options when replacing teeth; it isn't limited to crowns and conventional bridges or dentures. Dental implants are aesthetically pleasing and feel very natural. Implants are surgically placed below the gums over a series of appointments. With time, they fuse to the jawbone and serve as a base for individual replacement teeth, bridges or dentures.
Through a process called osseointegration, implants offer stability because they fuse to your bone. Integration of the implants into your jaw also helps your replacement teeth feel more natural. Some patients have reported that the secure fit is more comfortable than alternatives. Dental implant candidates must have healthy gums and bone to support the implant.
Reasons for Dental Implants
Keep the look and feel of a real tooth where one is missing
Maintain healthy bone levels
Help support overdentures
What Does a Dental Implant Involve?
Implant Site Preparation: To prepare the site, the gum tissue is opened to expose the bone area. If there is insufficient bone structure, bone grafting may be recommended. With healthy bone, a special drill is used to prepare the bone to receive the implant.
Placing the Implant: The implant is placed into the healthy bone and the tissue is sutured. The sutures are removed in seven to ten days. It is normal to expect three to six months to heal entirely. Osseointegration occurs over this time period allowing the implant to become part of the upper or lower jaw.
Attaching the Post: A special post is attached to the implant when the gum tissue is ready. This post is the support for the new porcelain crown. Zirconium abutments attached to the implant post assure that the new porcelain tooth has translucency properties similar to a natural tooth.
Placing the Crown: The new crown is made from impressions taken and shaded to match your existing teeth. The crown is cemented over the post. The final prosthetic crown appears as your natural tooth.
Smoking tends to lead to a high rate of failure in implants, so dental implants are not the best option for patients who are actively smoking. We will help you determine whether dental implants will be a good tooth replacement option for you. Proper brushing and flossing will maximize the longevity of your new dental implant.