A missing tooth can affect your bite, speech, and eating choices. As you rely more on your remaining teeth, you increase the chance they will wear out prematurely, or be damaged or lost. Dental Implants are a great option to replace a missing tooth or several missing teeth. The implants are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These posts act as tooth root substitutes. The bone integrates with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth.
Tooth Replacement Options
You can select from a number of different options to replace your missing teeth – from temporary to long-lasting solutions. A good candidate is anyone missing one or more teeth, or someone who is unhappy with their dentures. A crown is used to replace one missing tooth. Each crown attaches to its own implant. A fixed bridge can replace two or more teeth and may require only two or three implants. There are several implant-supported replacement options available if you are missing all of your upper and/or lower teeth.
The Surgical Procedure
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves one surgical procedure, but sometimes two procedures are needed. The implant planning is a coordinated effort with your restorative dentist and may include impressions, models, diagnostic wax-up, and a surgical guide. Local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area where the implant will be placed. Intravenous anesthesia may also be used for additional comfort. We will discuss these options with you at your consultation.
When you are comfortable, Dr. Kelly makes a small incision in the gum tissue to reveal the bone, creates space using special instruments, and gently inserts the titanium implant. A small healing abutment will be placed. This is what you will see protruding through the gums during the healing phase. Sometimes it is better in the early stages of healing to have the implant covered by the gum tissue.