Missing teeth should be replaced as soon as possible. Your teeth help to support each other and prevent neighboring teeth from shifting position. Teeth are also necessary for the long-term health of your jawbone since they stimulate bone growth. Dentures and bridges are good options for replacing missing teeth, but for the most permanent, stable solution, dental implants are the optimal choice.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants consist of a titanium root that is fused into your jawbone, an abutment or support post, and a crown that exactly mimics a natural tooth. Though dentures start to feel natural over time, dental implants have the advantage of looking, feeling, and functioning the most like natural teeth. By stimulating bone growth, implants preserve your jawline, while also restoring chewing and speaking ability and giving you a sparkling smile that looks all-natural.
Dental implants are an excellent option for replacing missing teeth and are one of dentistry’s biggest advances of the last 40 years. The technique involves placing a titanium post into the upper or lower jaw which then becomes an anchor for a replacement tooth or bridge.
How Do I Get Dental Implants?
First, your health history must be evaluated. If your teeth have been missing for a long time, your jawbone has likely deteriorated and may need a bone graft before it is strong enough to support an implant. If you are suffering from a chronic illness such as diabetes or leukemia, you may have trouble healing after the surgery. We will get a complete picture of your oral health through a dental/radiographic examination performed by our dentist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
A first visit is required to place the post, we then allow about four months for the bone to fuse with the post (a process called “osseointegration”), and finally, a custom-made crown or bridge is attached to the post. The size, shape, color, and fit of the implants are designed to blend with your existing teeth. Long-term studies show that teeth adjacent to implants have the best survival rates compared to other forms of restoration.
Dental implant surgery takes an average of four months since you must undergo ample healing time between each stage. During the process, temporary dentures will allow you to preserve your normal teeth functions.
- A bone graft will be performed if necessary. Your jawbone is strengthened with bone transplanted from a different part of your body.
- A cavity is drilled in your gums and the implant is installed in direct contact with your jawbone. Local anesthesia is used for this procedure. It will take time for the bone and implant to fuse together, a process known as osseointegration.
- The support post or abutment is attached to the implant. Depending on the strength of your gums and jawbone, this can be done simultaneously with the installation of the implant.
- When osseointegration is complete, the replacement tooth is connected to the support post. The tooth is shaped and colored to blend with your other teeth. This portion of the implant can be either fixed or removable.
For this reason, it is considered the best way to replace missing teeth. You must be in good overall health to receive implants. Some chronic illnesses such as diabetes or leukemia may interfere with healing after surgery.
Single Tooth Implant
The single dental implant is a titanium rod that has been placed in the jaw to replace missing tooth root. This helps prevent adjacent teeth from being compromised by wearing out, and it also provides more chewing power for molars so they can do all their work without pain.
Dental CT scan technology allows our experts to plan how much space will need replacing during surgery. With computer assisted planning software, we get rid of any guesswork about dimensions needed prior to performing an operation.
When a single tooth is lost, a porcelain fused to a metal bridge is one way to replace the missing tooth. The teeth on either side of the empty space are prepared to receive crowns, then a restoration which spans the empty space like a bridge is fitted over the teeth — hence the name.
The treatment requires two visits. The first is to make impressions of your teeth for the dental lab and to apply a temporary bridge. When the dental lab has finished making your bridge a second visit is scheduled to remove the temporary bridge and apply the permanent bridge. Bridges can be done with the help of sedation dentistry.
Dentures are an option to restore multiple missing teeth. Precise impressions of your mouth are made and used by a dental lab to construct a “record base” which is fitted with replicas of your teeth. The record base is adjusted to fit perfectly over your gums and matches the way your upper and lower jaws fit together. It is held in place by the surrounding hard and soft tissues and can be easily removed for cleaning, or as necessary. A variation of the technique exists as well where the record base is snapped on securely via implants. As with other dentures it is designed to be removed as needed.
Though dental implant surgery is lengthy and more involved than getting dentures, the end result is a strong, durable tooth that can last you a lifetime. Center For Beautiful Smiles will be happy to answer any questions about dental implants. Call today for a consultation!