What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is designed to replace one or more of your natural teeth and is quite frankly changing people’s lives. If you’re missing a tooth, you might not like the way that you look and you may even find it difficult to eat and chew. Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. Implants are made of titanium and are embedded deep into the jawbone. Over time, your bone and the implant(s) form a solid bond strong enough to hold a crown, bridge or even complete set of dentures.
Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
Why choose dental implants over other options?
Alternatives to dental implants are a fixed bridge (missing one tooth) or removable dentures (missing many teeth). A fixed bridge involves shaving down two teeth (one behind and one front of the tooth that is missing) and then the three crowns are attached as one continuous unit and cemented into place. Why sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge a space? In addition, oral hygiene must be impeccable to prevent food and bacteria getting trapped under the bridge.
If missing multiple teeth, a partial or full denture is a practical option to restore one’s functional capacity. However, some patients may encounter that removing a denture at night may be inconvenient and/or their dentures are moving around too much. Therefore, the best option may be to place a few implants and the denture can then snap into the implants. This can provide improved stability and functional use from the denture.
Am I a candidate for implants?
If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly, and your medical and dental history reviewed. If your mouth is not ideal for implants, ways of improving outcome, such as bone grafting, may be recommended.
Are you a senior interested in dental implants? Visit our page on dental implants for seniors here.
What Can Be Expected During Dental Implant Treatment?
First, we numb the area that will be worked on. We then make a small incision through the gums to place the titanium implant post. This is done using special tools and techniques. The implant is embedded deep into the jawbone and we’ll provide you with instructions on how to care for the area while it heals. You can expect the implant to heal in roughly six months. Once healed, we’ll make a special crown that fits over the implant’s abutment to finish off your smile.
With constant technological advances, a surgical guide can be created to facilitate exact angulation for the implant placement, which ultimately results in the ideal outcome for the surgeon, restorative dentist, and the patient. The surgical guide can be made in the dental lab, or be produced by CAD/CAM technology, depending on the surgical precision required in each case. Proper dental implant treatment planning usually requires 3-D imaging by an in-office scanner to display important anatomical structures and data points for precise surgical planning.