In the past, the only cosmetic and functional options available for people with missing teeth were dentures and bridges. Advancement in technology now offer a more permanent solution for missing teeth called dental implants. Dental implants are designed to replace the roots of teeth that cannot be saved by traditional methods, such as root canal. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth in size, shape and color.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts, called abutments, are then attached to the implant which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
What Conditions Require a Dental Implant?
Your dentist will review your dental history and thoroughly examine your mouth and bone structure to determine if implants are the ideal solution for your dental needs. A candidate for dental implants has good oral hygiene habits and healthy gum tissue. The following oral conditions are ideal for dental implants:
- Missing teeth due to injury or a congenital disorder
- A crown that can no longer be replaced due to insufficient natural tooth support
- A crack in the root of your tooth that is causing pain or sensitivity requiring extraction
- Existing dental work like dentures or bridges that needs to be replaced with a fixed solution
The Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants are changing the way people live. Today it is possible to replace a full jaw with dental implants and a fixed bridge that results in a permanent, stable and highly esthetic solution. Additionally, implants have many additional benefits over traditional dentures:
- Improved appearance Dental implants look and feel like your natural teeth.
- Improved speech Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip.
- Improved comfort Since they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
- Easier eating Dental implants function like natural teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
- Improved self-esteem Dental implants can restore your smile and help you feel great.
- Improved oral health More of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.
- Durability With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
The Dental Implant Procedure
The placement of dental implants generally involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. As the jawbone heals, it grows new bone around the implanted metal post, anchoring it securely in the jaw. The healing process can take anywhere from six to 12 weeks. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. During this time, your dentist is forming the new replacement teeth.
After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Your dentist will uncover the implants and attach small posts, or abutments which will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. These posts protrude through the gums. The artificial teeth are placed on these posts. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months. Most patients experience immediate function of their teeth and excellent visual results.
How Grove Can Help
Dental implants are a team effort between an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and a Restorative Dentist. At Grove Avenue Family & Cosmetic Dentistry we use the latest dental techniques and technologies to ensure our patients receive the highest quality of care. Our dentist will examine your teeth and jawbone and determine the treatment that is right for you. If you are missing teeth or would like to replace dentures or bridges with a permanent solution call Grove Avenue Family & Cosmetic Dentistry today at (804) 285-1378.