Dental implants are changing the way people live. They 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, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.
What Are Dental Implants?
An implant itself is a tiny titanium post, similar in shape to a screw that is surgically placed into the jawbone where a tooth is missing. This metal post acts as tooth a root substitute. The bone bonds with the implant, creating a strong foundation for an artificial tooth. An abutment that protrudes through the gums is then attached to the implant. This abutment provides a stable anchor for an artificial replacement tooth. A patient can have one or several implants placed, depending on their needs.
Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
The Surgical Procedure
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves one surgical procedure. An implant is placed within your jawbone. A healing abutment is then placed to keep the tissue from closing over the implant (preventing an additional surgery). This abutment will be in place for the first three to six months following surgery. During this time, the implant is integrating in the bone. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life. After the implant has bonded to the bone, the patient will then see their dentist to begin the restorative process.
In some cases, the placement of a dental implant or implants involves two surgical procedures. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Dr. Kelly will uncover the implants and place abutments that protrude through the gums. The patient will then see their dentist to begin the restorative process.
What Types Of Prosthesis Are Available?
A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing tooth. Each prosthetic tooth attaches to its own implant. A partial prosthesis (fixed bridge) can replace two or more teeth and may require only two or three implants. A complete dental prosthesis (fixed bridge) replaces all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended. A removable prosthesis (over denture) attaches to a bar or ball in socket attachments, whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by our dentist.
Dr. Kelly performs in-office implant surgery in a hospital-style operating suite, thus optimizing the level of sterility.
Why Dental Implants?
Once you learn about dental implants, you finally realize there is a way to improve your life. When you lose several teeth whether its a new situation or something you have lived with for years chances are you have never become fully accustomed to losing such a vital part of yourself.
Dental implants can be your doorway to renewed self-confidence and peace of mind.
Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types Of Restorations?
There are several reasons: Why sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge a space? In addition, removing a denture or a partial at night may be inconvenient, not to mention that dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and rather embarrassing.
Are You A Candidate For Implants?
If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history reviewed. If your mouth is not ideal for implants, ways of improving outcome, such as bone grafting, may be recommended.
What Type Of Anesthesia Is Used?
The majority of dental implants and bone graft can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, with or without intravenous anesthesia.
Do Implants Need Special Care?
Once the implants are in place, they will serve you well for many years if you take care of them and keep your mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dental specialists.