All About Dental Implants

All About Dental Implants

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

For years dentures or bridgework was the choice to replace missing teeth. But in more recent years, more people are opting for dental implants, which are an attractive, practical, and convenient way of regaining all the functionality of natural teeth without the hassle. Here is what you need to know if you are considering dental implants to replace missing teeth and improve your overall dental health.

More than Aesthetics

Dental implants are the top of the line method for replacing a missing teeth. And with dental implants, the result is more than aesthetic. In fact, they are the healthiest alternative for your mouth. Here’s why:  dental implants not only look and feel like real teeth, they require the same level of maintenance as your natural teeth. That means no soaking or slippage, as there would be with dentures, bridges or other removal apparatus. Implants rarely if ever crack; they rarely if ever need replacement. Plus, they are designed to perfectly match your permanent teeth while providing the structure your jaw and face need to keep your other teeth securely in place. Implants make eating easier, won’t rub like dentures, and lessen the risk of bacteria build-up and infection.

Implant Options

The standard implant is called an endosteal implant and consists of a titanium post screwed into a person’s jawbone and then capped off with a crown. A subperiosteal implant is placed under the gum when the person’s jawbone has withered to the point where it would reject a post; in this case, jawbone augmentation surgery is often required for successful outcome.

Before an implant can be placed, the dentist will determine if the jaw can provide enough structure and be sturdy enough to accommodate the implant. In some cases, bone augmentation helps to restore or help regenerate bone. In this case, the gum is sliced and peeled back, revealing the jawbone. In place of the missing tooth, cadaver bone or a synthetic bone-like substance will be packed into the gum, which then is stitched back in place. Some patients may undergo a sinus augmentation or elevation, whereby cadaver bone is added beneath the sinus cavity where one’s natural bone has deteriorated. Still other patients may undergo a ridge expansion, the recommended procedure for when a person’s jaw is not wide enough for an implant. In this scenario, material is added to the small ridges or spaces along the top of the jaw to strengthen the area enough for an implant to be placed.

A Lengthy Process

Getting implants is not an overnight procedure. First, the damaged tooth must be extracted and healing needs to take place. Then, your dentist will ensure your jaw is strong enough for the implant to take. Even though the process of inserting the post will take about 30 minutes, it may take months for osseointegration – the process of the bone growing into and around the titanium post – to finalize. Then, a prosthetic abutment is placed on the head of the implanted post for securing the crown on the post. Once the abutment is placed a mold is taken for a crown. On the final visit, the crown will be placed atop the abutment and permanently secured.

With proper care, a dental implant will last a lifetime and will look, feel, and seem like a real tooth. When it comes to implants, you want a dentist who will working with you during the entire process. No matter what type of issue you are having with your teeth, the team at Cosmetic & Family Dentistry can advise you and walk you through any, or several procedures that will get your smile looking better and brighter. Click here and set up your appointment securely via the web, or call them at (651) 646-2392. Everyone you smile at will thank you!