Dental implants have revolutionized dentistry. No longer are patients forced to wear removable dentures after tooth loss. Teeth built on implants look, feel and function like natural teeth. Patients can eat and socialize with confidence. Call us to see if you can have implants to replace missing teeth.
What are Dental Implants?
Implants are pieces of bio-compatible material in the shape of the roots of teeth which are surgically placed in the jaw. These implants are used as anchors to secure individual teeth, dental bridges or dentures. Implants help to prevent deterioration of the jaw bone and preserve facial appearance.
The placement of implants involves removing bone under local anesthesia or intravenous sedation and inserting the implants into the prepared site. The top of the implants usually protrude slightly through the gums although sometimes they are completely covered with gum tissue. You can have temporary teeth placed for cosmetic purposes, right after the procedure, while the implants integrate with the bone. After about three months a post is placed into the implants and teeth, a bridge or a denture is placed on the implants. This sometimes requires a second smaller surgical procedure to accomplish.
When there is still a tooth in the site that has to be removed, it may be necessary to wait three additional months for the bone to fill in prior to placing the implant. Sometimes when there is an inadequate amount of bone to place the implant it may be possible to build up the bone with a bone graft procedure prior to placing the implant.
It is sometimes possible to place an implant into an extraction site at the time of the extraction. In select cases it may also be possible to place a crown on the implant on the same day. This is called “immediate loading” or be referred to as “teeth in a day”.
The procedure is usually a team effort; a surgeon places the implant and a restorative dentist makes and fits the prosthesis. The restorative dentist will also make the temporary prosthesis if it is required.
This stage of the procedure is performed by the restorative dentist. It can be a single crown to replace a single missing tooth. It may be a permanent bridge replacing two or more teeth or it may be a removable denture secured by implants. Each prosthesis has different requirements in terms of the number and position of implants.
Advantages of Implants
Having implants is the most natural way of restoring missing teeth. They are very stable and permanent. They do not require cutting down adjacent teeth into stumps which is necessary to have a permanent dental bridge. These teeth which are crowned to support a bridge are now compromised and have a shorter life span on average.
Full dentures are not very stable and cause the underlying bone to shrink away. This leads to a further loosening of the denture and eventually a sunken-in facial appearance. This is avoided with implants.