Dental implants are small titanium cylinders. They are used to replace a single tooth, or to anchor a fixed bridge, denture or partial denture.
Why should I get a dental implant?
When a tooth is lost, the bone begins to shrink and change shape. The surrounding teeth may shift making chewing, speaking and cleaning them more difficult and susceptible to decay and gum disease. Bridges can be a good option to replace missing teeth, however they are more difficult to clean and require cutting down the adjacent teeth. Removable dentures and partials are often uncomfortable to wear and require occasional adjustments and relines as the supporting bone shrinks. Implants are the most natural way to replace missing teeth and preserve the surrounding bone. Because implants are placed in the bone, the pressure from chewing stimulates the bone to regenerate itself. Cleaning an implant is easy, just brush and floss!
What does getting a dental implant involve?
Traditional dental implants are usually a two step process. The first step is done with a local anesthetic, the same as would be done for a filling. The implant is placed into the bone, then allowed to "sleep" for 3-6 months. During this period the bone is attaching to the implant to stabilize it. Most patients have little or no pain with the procedure.
The second step is to restore the implant with a crown. A small piece of gum tissue is removed, often with only anesthetic gel and a dental laser, to uncover the top of the implant. An abutment is attached to the implant as a connector between the implant itself and the restoration. Often the final crown can be made right in our office in a single visit with the cerec computer, completing the implant process.
How long do dental implants last?
Implants are designed to be permanent. Long term clinical success rates are well over 95%. As with any dental restoration, proper care and oral hygiene are important to the success of dental implants. While implants will not decay, they are susceptible to gum disease. Smoking and systemic diseases that effect healing may be contraindications for dental implants.
You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new implant.
Another option for denture wearers are mini implants. Mini's are placed in a single visit and your existing denture is adapted right in the office to "snap" onto the implants. The result is a stable denture without the need for messy adhesives, all in one day!
If you are interested in learning more about dental implants, please ask!