Dental implants are a revolutionary way to replace missing or damaged teeth with artificial teeth. They are an effective and long-lasting solution to tooth loss, providing a secure foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. In this article, we will explore what implants are, how they work, and the benefits they offer patients who need them.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are small titanium posts that are surgically implanted into the jawbone. The implant acts as an artificial tooth root of a missing tooth, providing a secure foundation for replacement teeth (dental bridge or partial denture) to be placed on top. The titanium post is biocompatible and eventually fuses with the bone in the jaw, creating a permanent bond.
Subperiosteal Implants vs. Endosteal Implants
Subperiosteal implants and endosteal implants are two different types of implants. Subperiosteal implants are placed on top of the jawbone, just beneath the gum tissue. These implants are ideal for individuals who have insufficient bone height or whose jawbones have deteriorated over time due to periodontal disease or aging. Endosteal implants, on the other hand, are embedded directly into the jawbone. After implant placement, a dental crown is then placed on top of the titanium post for a natural-looking and secure restoration.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Once the titanium post is surgically implanted into the jaw, it acts as a new root for a prosthetic tooth. The implant will then be covered with a healing abutment and allowed to heal and integrate with the surrounding bone tissue. This process of osseointegration can take several months, during which time the gums are kept healthy. After the implant has healed, a crown or bridge is placed on top of it, providing a new tooth that looks, feels, and functions just like a natural one.
Are You a Good Candidate?
Implant placement is suitable for most adults, as long as they have healthy gum tissues and adequate bone mass in the area where the implant will be placed. To determine if you are a good candidate for dental implant surgery, your dentist will perform an oral assessment and review your medical history to evaluate your overall health. In addition, imaging tests such as 3D dental X-rays and CT scans may be used to assess the thickness and density of the jawbone in the area.
Remember, there are certain conditions that can affect the success of the procedure, including diabetes, heavy smoking, and gum disease. It’s important to talk to your dentist about whether you are a good candidate for the procedure before proceeding.
Benefits of Tooth Implant Placement
Tooth implants offer numerous benefits compared to conventional treatments for missing teeth, such as removable dentures and bridges. Unlike these other options, implants are permanent and do not require any special care.
Additionally, implants help to preserve the natural structure of the jawbone. When a tooth is missing, the surrounding bone begins to deteriorate. By replacing the root of a missing tooth with an implant, it helps to stimulate bone growth and prevent further loss. Implants also provide superior support compared to other treatments. Crowns or bridges attached to implants are much less likely to slip or move, providing greater stability and comfort for the patient.
Overall, implants are a safe and effective solution to missing teeth. They look and feel just like real teeth, providing patients with greater confidence in their smiles.
The Dental Implant Procedure: Step by Step
Step 1. Evaluation
The first step in the dental implant process is for your surgeon to evaluate your oral health and assess if you are a good candidate for the procedure. Your dentist will perform an oral exam, review your medical history, and use imaging tests to evaluate the thickness and density of the jawbone at the intended implant site. This step is important to ensure the success of the implant.
Step 2. Dental Bone Graft (If Necessary)
In some cases, the jawbone may not be thick enough or dense enough to support an implant. If this is the case, your dentist may recommend bone grafting prior to implant placement. This procedure involves taking a piece of bone tissue from another area of your body and transplanting it into your jaw to increase the volume and strength of the jawbone.
Step 3. Implant Placement
Once the necessary assessment and preparatory steps have been completed, it is time to place the implant. Your dentist will make a small incision in your gums and use specialized tools to insert the titanium post into the jawbone. The post should be inserted at an angle so that it provides adequate support for a dental crown or bridge. Once the post is in place, it must be given time to heal and osseointegrate with the surrounding bone tissue. This process can take several months.
Step 4. Installing the Abutment
Once the implant has had sufficient time to integrate with the jawbone, the next step is to install an abutment. This is a metal post that attaches to the implant and holds the crown or bridge in place. Your dentist will make a small incision in your gum tissues and carefully secure the abutment in place. Once securely installed, the gums will be sutured closed and given time to heal.
Step 5. Placing the Crown or Bridge
Finally, your dentist will take an impression of your mouth and create a customized restoration that matches the size, shape, and color of your natural teeth. The crown or bridge will then be securely attached to the abutment.
After the surgical procedure, you may experience some swelling and discomfort in the treated area. These should subside within a few days and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications. It’s also important to keep your mouth clean with gentle brushing and rinsing with warm salt water after each meal.
It’s important to follow your oral surgeon’s post-operative instructions closely, as this will help ensure the success of your implant. Most implants should last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance.
Schedule an Implant Consultation at Strull Oral Surgery!
If you are considering implant surgery, there is no better place to start than with a consultation at our dental office. Our experienced oral surgeons and knowledgeable staff will work with you to ensure that you get the best possible outcome from your implant procedure. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!