Dental implants are a very effective way to replace missing teeth. Being fixed, they offer an improvement to removable dentures, whether partial or complete. Implants provide excellent support and stability.
Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth (usually made of titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by a dentist or periodontist (specializing in the gums and supporting bone). Because the teeth attached to implants are so natural looking, they often enhance the patient’s smile.
Made to last many years, dental implants are very stable and durable. On occasion, normal wear and tear will require retightening or replacement.
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Reasons for dental implants
To replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth
To resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into a missing tooth space
To restore a patient’s confident smile
To restore chewing, speech, and digestion
To restore or enhance facial tissues
To support a bridge or denture, making it more secure and comfortable
What dental implants involve
The process of getting implants requires a number of office visits over several months.
X-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal. It can take up to six months for the implant to integrate itself into the bone. Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the post that will hold the artificial tooth in place. With other implants, the post and anchor are already attached and placed at the same time.
After several weeks of healing and the artificial tooth has been made, it is then fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step may take one to two months to complete. Finally the artificial tooth is securely attached to the implant. It should provide a comfortable fit and excellent stability.
You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene and eating habits, as well as regular dental visits, will extend the longevity of your new implant.