What are Dental Implants?
Despite the advances that have been made in both oral hygiene and dental treatments today, a significant number of people still experience the loss of a tooth or teeth at some point in their lives. Tooth loss is more than a cosmetic problem; the absence of the tooth can also lead to deterioration of the bone and movement of the remaining teeth as they shift into the gap left behind. Fortunately, there is a highly effective means of restoring a lost tooth today for both cosmetic and health reasons. Dental implants are a way to fill the gap left by the missing tooth, enhance your smile and boost your self-confidence in your appearance.
A dental implant is a small titanium post that is affixed into the gum and serves as the missing root for the lost tooth. The post is screwed into the jawbone and includes a portion that extends above the gum line. This visible section can be used to hold a crown in place, replacing your lost tooth with a natural and beautiful substitute. If multiple teeth have been lost, implants can also be used to secure a bridge in place to fill the full gap.
The dental implant process is a lengthy one, taking many months as the titanium post integrates with the bone to allow for an artificial tooth to be placed securely. However, this process is the most natural alternative to your natural teeth, offering permanent results in nearly all cases. Even if the cost of the dental implant is a bit higher than other types of restoration, the longevity and durability of this option make it one of the most cost-effective in the long run.
Reasons for Dental Implants<
Dental implants offer numerous benefits to the right patients:
- Durability – the permanence of implants make them an attractive, cost-effective option
- Natural Results – no other restoration process will give you the natural look and feel of implants
- Support – implants allow you to retain your natural expressions and appearance by providing the necessary support to your jaw and facial profile
- Protection – an implant fills in space in your mouth, which prevents bone deterioration and movement of remaining teeth
- Speech – other types of restorative devices like dentures can affect your ability to speak clearly, especially when they don’t fit as well as they could, but implants will not affect your speech
- Eating – dentures and other restorative devices force you to consider what you eat and how it will affect your teeth, but implants allow you to enjoy your favorite foods without worry
- Predictability – Implants offer the most predictable results of any restorative procedure, ensuring you know what to expect from your procedure and for many years afterward
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
Despite numerous benefits offered by dental implants, this is not always the right choice for every patient. To be a candidate, you will need to have sufficient bone structure to allow the implant to integrate properly. Healthy gums are another criteria, since the implant will require a stable foundation. To ensure your implant is successful both in the short and long terms, you will need to commit to good oral hygiene practices to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible
The Implant Placement Process
When your desire is to replace a lost tooth or teeth, Dr. Haynes will assess your situation to determine whether an implant is the best choice for you. If it is, he will make arrangements to place the implant or implants into the appropriate areas; a procedure typically performed using a local anesthetic. Once the implants are in place, they will need time to heal and integrate into the bone, a process known as osseointegration. During this process, the jawbone will grow around the post, strengthening the implant. You may have a temporary restorative device in place during this time.
During the healing process, Dr. Haynes may recommend you adhere to a mostly soft diet to avoid placing undue strain on the new implant. After six to 12 weeks, the post will become a stable part of the jawbone that creates a sturdy foundation for the artificial tooth. However, Dr. Haynes may allow the osseointegration process to continue for three to six months before attaching the crown to the implant.
When the implant is ready, you will come back into our office to have your crown placed. These crowns are customized based on an impression of your current natural teeth, to ensure they fit perfectly into your mouth. If multiple teeth are replaced, you may have a bridge or denture designed for this purpose. All of the artificial teeth are created in a laboratory that specializes in creating these types of restoration devices.
The placement of the crown or bridge is a relatively quick, straightforward procedure that is also performed under local anesthetic. You may experience some discomfort after your procedure, but this is usually managed easily with oral pain medication. Most of our patients can return to their regular activities right away or the day after their procedure.
When it comes to durability and longevity, dental implants a top choice. The success rate for these devices is 96 percent or higher, with very few revisions ever needed. However, patients that have not found their implants have worked as well as they hoped can also come to Dr. Haynes for restoration implants, which involves removing the original implant and replacing it with a restorative device that is more comfortable and effective.
Dental implants have become one of the most popular ways for restoring your smile today, due to the many benefits they provide. To learn more about this procedure or find out if dental implants are the right choice for you, contact Radiance Smiles Center today at 970-247-9549.