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Dental Implants 101

By December 9, 2019 No Comments

Whether you are missing a tooth, or at risk of losing many, dental implants may be a great solution for you. Dental implants are an increasingly popular fix for missing or dying teeth, and have many benefits.

What is a Dental Implant?

Dental implants are high tech teeth. The root of your current tooth is removed, and replaced with a screw attached to a ‘cap’ that looks identical to a natural tooth. Many people report higher confidence and comfort after receiving their new tooth.

What’s so Great About Them?

The cool thing about implants is that if taken care of, they can last for life. Usually all that needs to be replaced, if anything, is the cap. The other great thing about implants is that they can’t die like natural teeth. You still have to clean and maintain them like your other teeth, but no roots are any longer at risk of causing that tooth to fail. In addition to that, many implants can last a lifetime!

What is the Surgical Process Like?

The process is done either all at once, or in steps. This depends on the recommendations for your particular case. The first step is to remove the root of your natural tooth, and place the implant in its place. If there is not enough bone to place the implant, we may encourage you to have bone grafting first. The gum is then stitched closed and allowed to heal. This can take five to six months. The next step is to reopen the gum and place an abutment on the implant, along with a temporary crown so you can heal while the permanent crown is made for you. You then return to get your permanent crown attached in a few weeks. In other cases, all of these steps can be done in a single visit, but it depends on your specific case.

If you have any questions, please call our office for more information, we would be glad to help!

Though the technology has been around for over 50 years, it’s only been recently that dental implants have become the standard of care for replacing missing teeth. There’s no other replacement method that comes closer to providing the same interaction as natural teeth in both strength and appearance. With modern techniques, dental implants now enjoy a high level of success.

Despite the advantages of this tooth replacement strategy, you may not be aware of the reasons that make dental implants such an effective alternative to other methods, such as dentures and dental bridges. Implant systems have a tremendous range of versatility and remain the most biologically sound replacement method. Today, we discuss some basics that you might not know about dental implants.

Implants and osseointegration

One reason that dentures are an imperfect solution for replacing natural teeth is that they sit over the gums. Over time, without tooth roots in the bone of the jaw, you lose bone mass and shape, so a denture plate that once fit perfectly no longer matches the contours of your gums and jaws.

Dental implants start with a base that’s much like the root of your tooth. Inserted directly into the bone of your jaw, the implant base actually fuses with the bone, a process called osseointegration. This is one of the reasons why successful dental implants have such strength. Like natural teeth, they anchor solidly in the bone of your jaw. This interaction between implant and bone prevents the loss of bone tissue over time.

The versatility of implants

Because a single implant is so similar in structure to a natural tooth, it’s easy to think of an implant as a one-to-one procedure. If you’re missing three teeth, you may think that you require three implants. However, that isn’t the case, since we can place more than one crown on a single implant.

In fact, a common implant method uses a pair of implants to support a bridge of three or more adjacent crowns, so there isn’t necessarily a need to have an implant “root” for every tooth you need to be replaced.

Although many implant procedures result in permanent teeth replacement, dental implants can also serve as a base for dentures. Instead of denture plates being held in by friction or adhesives, they can also snap on to specially made implant posts. Though still removable, the denture plates stay secure. There’s also no longer the need for denture plates that cover the roof of your mouth.

Pain-free dental procedure

With what’s involved with a dental implant, you may be concerned about enduring the procedure and recovery. However, implants are typically no more painful than other common procedures,  such as fillings or root canal therapy. Modern painless dentistry procedures handle any pain associated with implants.

Contemporary dental imaging technology permits precise placement of implants, so there is minimal impact on surrounding tissue. Though in many cases there a recovery period lasting six weeks or longer, this allows for the osseointegration process, where bone and implant form a solid base. There’s no pain or discomfort associated with this phase of recovery.

Dental surgery is not required

Although dental implants may sound like cutting-edge technology, it’s becoming quite commonplace. There’s no need to see a dental surgeon. Many regular dentists are trained and up-to-date on dental implant procedures.

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