An estimated two in three Americans have one or more missing teeth. Replacing missing teeth helps regain a confident smile as well stay fit and healthy by maintaining good nutritional habits and eating health foods they previously were unable to chew.
Implants with attached crowns are the preferred method for treating tooth loss because they function the same as natural teeth and help preserve the jaw structure by preventing atrophy from bone loss. In addition, dental implants look, feel and function like healthy, natural teeth. Today’s dental implant restorations are virtually indistinguishable from other teeth. They can help protect your oral health and preserve your facial structure by preventing bone loss that occurs when teeth are missing. Bridgework and dentures may assist in the cosmetic problem of missing teeth but do not prevent bone loss.
By replacing missing tooth roots, dental implants provide people with the strength and stability required to enable them to eat all the foods they love, without struggling to chew, and also allowing patients to smile with confidence, knowing that your teeth appear healthy and natural.
What are Dental Implants?
Implants are titanium screws a dentist inserts into the jawbone and affixes a prosthetic tooth or crown. Dental Implants are made up of three separate pieces - each fulfilling a unique role. The implant will integrate with the jawbone, forming a secure anchor upon which the two other components, the abutment and the crown, will be placed. Titanium implants over time fuse naturally with bone, a process known as osseointegration. Implant surgery can replace one or more teeth provided there is sufficient bone to support the implants. It is recommended that Implant patients have the procedure done as soon as possible after losing a tooth to prevent bone loss at the site.
How 3D Imaging assists in Implant Treatment
Advanced, highly precise computer-guided dental implant surgery has made implant procedures faster, highly predicable and long-lasting with a success rate of 97 percent. 3D imaging is changing the practice of dentistry. With state-of-the art digital imaging, dentists can analyze the anatomy of the patient’s jaw without surgery, which saves time and money and shortens implant recovery time. It’s like having the patient’s jaw on the computer screen and helps make implants the most predictable procedure in dentistry today.
The Surgical Procedure
For most patients, the Dental Implant process involves two phases. First, the implant is placed into the jawbone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implant is gradually integrating with the jawbone beneath the surface of the gum.
After the implant has integrated into the jawbone, the second phase begins. The implant will be uncovered and a small temporary post will be attached, which will allow the gum to heal round the implant. Shortly after this minor procedure, your Dentist will begin to make the crown for the implant.
The entire implant process (first and second phase) takes about six months. During this time, most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.
Are you a candidate for Dental Implants?
To determine if implants are right for you, a consultation with your dentist, and/or oral surgeon is needed. During this appointment, your dental professional will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums and evaluate bone density and quantity. This may involve x-rays to ensure there is sufficient bone structure for placing the implant(s), and to determine exactly where the implant should be placed.
Dental implantation, which is performed to replace missing teeth, can be done any time after adolescence or when bone growth is complete. Certain medical conditions, such as active diabetes, cancer or periodontal disease, may require additional treatment before the implant procedure can be performed. People of all ages (with the exception of growing children) can benefit from Dental Implants. If you have routine dental treatment, it’s likely you can have an implant placed. In addition, implants can be used to stabilize and secure full or partial dentures for added comfort.
Depending on your situation, your dental professional will advise you of how long the entire treatment process will take, how many appointments will be necessary and what you can expect after each procedure. During your initial evaluation, your Doctor will discuss the type of anesthesia that is most appropriate for you. You can be assured that every effort will be made to minimize your anxiety and discomfort during and after surgery.
Care for Dental Implants and Recovery
Dental implant recovery depends on a number of factors, one of which includes the various procedures required to complete your treatment. However, it is generally recognized that once an implant has been placed, maintaining diligent oral hygiene habits (brushing and flossing) is required to ensure proper fusing of the implant and bone structure. Follow-up appointments with your Dental Care Provider are essential for monitoring your progress. If cared for properly, an implant restoration can remain in place for more than 40 years.
Call your dentist or orthodontist today to schedule a consultation for your specific dental needs.