Dental Implants: A Better Way to Replace Teeth
The importance of Dental Implants
Missing a tooth isn’t just bad when it comes to your looks, but it can be bad for your health as well. Healthy teeth play an important role in the body from head to toe. When you are missing a tooth, your jawbone deteriorates, your self-esteem suffers, and so does your diet, which negatively affects the health of your entire body. Dental implants are widely recognized as the best replacement method, and they look, feel and function just like natural teeth.
The Three Parts of a Dental Implant
Dental implants have revolutionized the way we treat missing teeth. The 3-part artificial tooth has a titanium screw that is placed in your jaw. An abutment, or connector, protrudes from the implant and holds the crown in place. The crown is the visible part of the implant.
The Miracle of Osseointergration
Implants are made of titanium and permanently bond with the jawbone through a process called osseointegration. This effective fusion of metal and bone allows for completely natural eating, chewing, and biting.
The Time Factor
You may be surprised to hear that your jawbone is a lot like a muscle in that it must be stimulated regularly in order to maintain its volume. Therefore, when a tooth is extracted (or comes out naturally), the jawbone begins to deteriorate almost immediately. In fact, studies show that within a year of tooth loss, there is a 25% decrease in bone width. Thankfully, dental implants can take the place of natural teeth to provide the stimulus needed by the jaw. If done early, this greatly reduces the need for bone grafting down the road.
- Consultation and treatment plan: During the initial phase of the dental implant process, imaging is gathered along with your medical and dental histories to give us a clear picture of your current health and to determine if you are an implant candidate. We will then explore your treatment options with you to formulate a plan that ensures that both your health goals and budgetary needs are met.
- Extraction: The next step is to have the tooth in question extracted. In some cases, we may be able to place the implant at the same time of extraction. In others, bone grafting with an occlusive membrane for bone regeneration will be required prior to implant placement.
- Bone grafting: It is fairly common for the jawbone to lack the mass needed to accept an implant. In that case, a bone graft will be performed first to strengthen the target area. Bone grafting is typically followed by several months of healing before the implant can be placed.
- Dental implant surgery: During the implant procedure itself, a titanium screw is inserted into your jawbone. You will be given anesthetic for comfort during the surgery, which takes about 1-2 hours depending on the extent of your case.
- Osseointegration: After placing the implant, we cover it with the surrounding soft tissue and let it sit for 3 months in order to fuse with the bone.
- Final restoration: After osseointegration is complete, an abutment is placed on the implant to connect with the final crown restoration. Typically, the final restoration is done by your general dentist.
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Our Latest Patient Testimonial
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