Replace Those Missing Teeth with Dental Implants

May 18, 2015

What are Dental Implants?

Dental ImplantsDental implants are permanent, artificial replacements set into the jaw bone, made to look and function like natural teeth.  They are often the best option to replace missing or broken teeth.  With the advancements in technology and materials, dental implants are becoming the standard of care to take the place of one tooth, or even multiple teeth.


Dental Implants VS Bridges

Traditionally a bridge was used to replace one or two missing teeth.  A bridge utilizes teeth on either side of the missing one(s) to provide support and span the gap.  It requires aggressive reduction of adjacent teeth.  In contrast, implants require no changes to surrounding teeth and can prevent the removal of healthy tooth structure.

Bridges require special cleaning aids to access the area underneath.  Implants can often be cleaned with the same oral health aids used throughout the rest of the mouth.  Enabling patients to floss and clean the area just like a regular tooth.

Implants will preserve surrounding bone.  Once a tooth is removed, the bone starts to breakdown in the area.  A bridge does nothing to protect the surrounding bone structure. Implants utilize the bone for support, therefore the bone levels remain stable.


Dental Implants and Dentures?

Denture wearers can benefit from implants also.  As time goes by even a well-fitting denture can become loose.  Over the years, bone and gums change causing dentures to shift, rock side to side, create sore spots, or even fall out.  Implants can alleviate these problems.  As previously stated, implants help retain the bone support.  Even a few (1-3) implants can hold a denture in place, yet still allowing removal for cleaning.    Another option is a fixed prosthesis where 4-6 implant are utilized and a complete set of teeth are permanently placed in the mouth.  There is no need to suffer from poorly functioning, ill-fitting, unsecured dentures.

What is the Process?

The first step in placing a dental implant is taking a 3D image of the area, checking on the surrounding bone structure.  A bone graft may be placed if necessary to build up the implant site.  The next step, is placing the titanium implant into the bone and covering it with gum tissue to allow the bone to grow around it.  Most patients are pleasantly surprised that the discomfort following this procedure is far less than the discomfort from have a tooth removed.  After four to six months the top of the implant is uncovered and a healing cap is placed allowing the gums to heal, awaiting the new tooth.  Finally a crown is screwed onto the implant base, restoring the smile to its natural state.  Click here for before and after photos of dental implants replacing missing front teeth.


Ask About Dental Implants

There are many different treatment options for implants.  Call your dental provider today or visit the American Dental Association web site for more information. This might be exactly what you were looking for to create a healthy new smile.

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