What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or other reasons.
Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth which look, feel, and function like natural teeth. A person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved.
Dental Implants Evaluation
If you feel implant dentistry is the choice for you, we ask that you undergo an examination and health history analysis. During these consultation visits, your specific needs and considerations will be addressed by your doctor. Your questions and concerns are important to us and our team will work with you very closely to help make your procedure a success.
We will also discuss fees and insurance at this time. There are many types of insurance plans, and coverage for dental implants is varied. We will be happy to assist you in obtaining any benefits to which you may be entitled.
Dental Implants Procedure
Dental implants are metal anchors which act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jaw bone. Small posts are then attached to the dental implant which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, dental implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the dental implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. At the same time, your restorative dentist designs the final bridgework or denture, which will ultimately improve both function and aesthetics.
After the dental implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Your doctor will uncover the dental implants and attaches a small healing collar. After two weeks your general dentist will be able to start making your new teeth. An impression must be taken, and then, posts or attachments can be connected to the implants. The teeth replacements are then made over the posts or attachments. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months. Most patients do not experience any disruption in their daily life.
In some instances, dental implants can be placed at the time of tooth extraction (“immediate implants”) and in some special circumstances, the crowns or teeth can be placed on top of the implants immediately (“immediate load”) rather than having to wait for the above mentioned three to six month healing period. Which of the above techniques the doctor uses, is at the discretion of the doctor according to what is most appropriate for your particular situation.
It is important to understand that in some people, especially those that have been missing teeth for many years, often the bone and soft tissue that was supporting those missing teeth has now atrophied to the point that bone and/or soft tissue grafting may be necessary in order for the dental implant treatment to be successful. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will discuss this with you during your consultation if necessary.