A dental implant is designed to permanently replace missing teeth, and through dental technology and its versatility, has become one of the most popular forms of tooth replacement today. Dental implants are usually made out of titanium or zirconium and are surgically placed into the jawbone where any teeth are missing. Unlike dentures or a dental bridge, a dental implant is permanent.
DENTAL IMPLANTS PROVIDE MORE OPTIONS TO TOOTH REPLACEMENT
Dental crowns, bridges and dentures are no longer your only options when replacing missing teeth. Dental implants look and feel very natural. They function just like your natural teeth. Surgically placed below the gum line over a series of appointments, dental implants fuse to the jawbone and serve as a base for individual or multiple replacement teeth, bridges, or a denture.
Types of Dental Implants
One of the many benefits of dental implants is that there are several different forms available, depending on your needs and how many teeth you need to replace. Most dental implants are permanent, however, there are variations that have removable prostheses.
If you are missing only one tooth, a single tooth dental implant is likely all that you need. Multiple tooth dental implants, on the other hand, are for individuals who are missing several teeth. It is common for dental implants to consist of six to eight posts. The All-on-4® Treatment Concept has just four implant posts, two on the bottom and two on the top.
Implant supported bridges do not rely on your surrounding teeth for support. Rather, your replacement teeth are supported on the implants. This means that your adjacent healthy teeth do not need to be altered or shaved down in any way, which can sometimes be the case with bridges or crowns. An implant supported denture, on the other hand, has snap on attachments that attach on to the implant and can be removed. An implant supported denture may be chosen when an individual does not have any remaining teeth, but has enough jawbone to support dental implants, and if they would rather not opt for traditional dentures.
Preparing for Your Dental Implant
Prior to receiving dental implants, Dr. Snodgrass and his team will request that you schedule a dental cleaning and exam. We will first want to ensure you are a good candidate for dental implants. We will request a copy of your medical history. It is important that we are aware of any medical conditions, medications that you take, or any other pertinent information we may need before deciding it is safe for you to undergo dental implant surgery.
Sometimes, prior to receiving dental implants, patients may require to have one or more teeth extracted if they are decayed, damaged, or beyond repair. With dental implants you do not need to have any healthy teeth removed. We will simply install the number of dental implants you need surrounding your healthy teeth. With dentures, however, especially if you are receiving full dentures, having the remainder of your teeth extracted is common so that we can properly place your new denture.
BENEFITS OF DENTAL IMPLANTS
Dental implants offer stability because they fuse to your jawbone, through a process called osseointegration. Integration of the dental implants into your jaw helps your replacement teeth feel more natural and some people also find the secure fit more comfortable than removable substitutes. Candidates for dental implants must have healthy gums and adequate bone strength and structure in order to be able to support the dental implant.
REASONS FOR DENTAL IMPLANTS
• To replace a missing tooth
• Maintain healthy bone levels
• Help support overdentures
• Keep the look and feel of a real tooth where one is missing
WHAT DOES A DENTAL IMPLANT INVOLVE?
Implant Site Preparation
The gum tissue will be opened to expose the bone area where the dental implant will be placed. If there is insufficient bone structure, bone grafting may first be recommended. Once healthy bone material has been established, a special drill is used to prepare the bone to receive the dental implant.
Placing The Implant
After the bone has been prepared, the dental implant is placed and the tissue is sutured. The healing process typically takes between three to six months. During the healing process, the implant becomes part of the lower jaw, commonly referred to as osseointegration. The dental implant essentially fuses with the jawbone, becoming one.
Even though it takes several months for osseointegration to occur, the sutures are typically removed within seven to 14 days after your oral surgery.
Attaching The Post
When the gum tissue is ready, a special post will be attached to the dental implant. This will be 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 dental crown will be made and shaded to match your existing teeth. The crown is then slipped over the post and cemented on. This final prosthetic crown appears as a natural tooth. The crown will be the only visible part of your new dental implant.
If you are interested in learning more about dental implants, Dr. Snodgrass and his team 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. To find out more about dental implants, give us a call at Thurston Oaks Dental today at (360) 514-9212.