Introduction to Dental Implants


Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The 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. The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. In addition, implants can help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing. Dental implants are changing the way people live! With them, people are rediscovering the comfort and confidence to eat, speak, laugh and enjoy life.

Procedure

Dental implants are metal anchors, which act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jawbone. Small posts called abutments are then attached to the 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, implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. Healing time following surgery varies from person to person, based on a variety of factors that include hardness of bone. In some cases, implants may be restored immediately after they are placed. You should be able to wear temporary dentures, called a flipper, and eat a soft diet during this time. At the same time, your final crown, bridgework or denture, which will ultimately improve both function and aesthetics, will be designed.

After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Your implant will be uncovered and a small healing collar will be attached. We will then be able to begin making your new tooth. An impression must be taken. Then posts or attachments can be connected to the implants. The tooth replacement, called a crown, is 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.

Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth which look, feel and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.

Surgical Advances

Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, we are able to place single stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require a minimum of six weeks of healing time before artificial teeth are placed. There are even situations where the implants can be placed at the same time as a tooth extraction – further minimizing the number of surgical procedures. Advances in dental implant technology have made it possible, in select cases, to extract teeth and place implants with crowns at one visit. This procedure, called “immediate loading,” greatly simplifies the surgical process.

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