A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically anchored into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place. The benefit of using implants is that they don’t rely on neighboring teeth for support and they are permanent and stable. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason. Implants are a good solution for tooth lolost teeth because they look and feel like natural teeth.
Implant material is made from different types of metallic and bone-like ceramic materials that are compatible with body tissue.
Are you a Candidate For Dental Implants?
The ideal candidate for a dental implant is in good general and oral health. Adequate bone in your jaw is needed to support the implant, and the best candidates have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease.
- Replacing a Single Tooth If you are missing a single tooth, one implant and a crown can replace it.
- Replacing Several Teeth If you are missing several teeth, implant-supported bridges can replace them.
- Replacing All of Your Teeth If you are missing all of your teeth, an implant-supported full bridge or full denture can replace them.
- Sinus Augmentation A key to implant success is the quantity and quality of the bone where the implant is to be placed. The upper back jaw has traditionally been one of the most difficult areas to successfully place dental implants due to insufficient bone quantity and quality and the close proximity to the sinus. Sinus augmentation can help correct this problem by raising the sinus floor and developing bone for the placement of dental implants.
- Ridge Modification Deformities in the upper or lower jaw can leave you with inadequate bone in which to place dental implants. To correct the problem, the gum is lifted away from the ridge to expose the bony defect. The defect is then filled with bone or bone substitute to build up the ridge. Ridge modification has been shown to greatly improve appearance and increase your chances for successful implants that can last for years to come.
What can I expect during this procedure?
The dentist must perform surgery to anchor the “artificial root” into or on your jaw bone. The procedure is done in the dental office with local anesthesia. The gum is then secured over the implant, which will remain covered until it fuses with the bone. The dentist then uncovers the implant and attaches an extension, or post, to the implant. With some implants, the implant and post are a single unit placed in the mouth during the initial surgery. Finally, the dentist makes an artificial tooth, or crown, that is attached to the implant post.
How long does the process take?
The process can take up to nine months to complete. Each patient heals differently, so times will vary. After the implant and posts are placed surgically, the healing process can take up to six months and the fitting of replacement teeth no more than two months. Sometimes, if a patient has good bone quality, posts can be placed and replacement teeth fitted in one appointment.
What is the success rate of implants?
The success rate for implants depends on the tooth’s purpose and location in the mouth, as well as a patient’s overall health.
How do I care for implants?
Poor oral hygiene is a big reason why some implants fail. It is important to floss and brush around the fixtures at least twice a day. Your dentist will give you specific instructions on how to care for your new implants. Additional cleanings of up to four times per year may be necessary to ensure that you retain healthy gums.