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Posted on: October 2, 2020
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
If you are missing one or more teeth, a dental implant can provide you with a natural-looking tooth replacement that will brighten your smile and improve your bite. Our dentists are highly qualified in providing dental implant options that can enhance your overall quality of life.
Here are some facts everyone should know about dental implants and their positive effects on the activities you perform every day.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is primarily composed of titanium and consists of a post, an abutment and a prosthesis. The post is implanted into the bones of the jaw or under the gums and allowed to heal in place. Then the abutment is attached to the post. Finally, the artificial tooth or group of teeth is attached directly to the abutment to provide a solid connection between all three parts of your dental implants.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Because dental implants are designed to provide a secure attachment point for artificial teeth, the post portion of the implant must be placed into the bone of the jaw or under the gum tissue:
- Endosteal implants are the standard type of dental implants and are placed into the jaw to allow bone to grow around them and make them secure. In most cases, endosteal dental implant procedures result in the strongest and most durable replacements for missing teeth.
- Subperiosteal implants are less common than endosteal implants. They are used in cases where bone loss in the jaw has made it difficult to place the implants into this area. Instead, subperiosteal implant posts are placed into the gums to allow scar tissue to hold the implant in place. They are not as strong or secure as the endosteal variety of dental implants.
Implants can be used to support a single tooth, a group of several adjacent teeth or an entire row of teeth. Our dental team will work with you to determine the most appropriate type for your needs. By working with our dental experts, you can enjoy a beautiful smile and the healthiest bite possible.
What to Expect During a Dental Implant Procedure
Your dentist will discuss with you the specific procedures necessary to complete your implant procedure. The process may involve removing any damaged or broken teeth, preparing the bone in your jaw with grafts or other surgical procedures, inserting the post of the implant, placing the abutment and attaching the dental prosthesis or crown to the implant. There typically is a period of weeks or even months between the placement of the implant post and the attachment of the dental appliance. This is essential and enables the bone or gum tissue to heal around the post to provide it with adequate support.
What Are Bone Grafts?
Bone grafts are used when the bone in your jaw is not strong or substantial enough to provide the necessary support for dental implants. The graft materials may come from another part of your body or might consist of a substance that is designed to encourage the growth of your own bones. Depending on the extent of the grafting needed, your dentist may perform the graft during the placement of the implant, or a few weeks or months before that surgery begins.
Placement of the Dental Implant
The procedure for implanting the post requires an incision in the gum that exposes the bone. Your oral surgeon will then drill a hole into the bone or gums and place the implant post in the correct position. The incision in your gums will then be stitched closed.
Attachment of the Abutment
Designed to connect the implant to the artificial tooth or teeth, the abutment can sometimes be attached to the post during the initial surgery. In most cases, however, the abutment is attached in a separate procedure that takes place after the implant has fused into the bone successfully. This typically requires an incision in the gums to expose the abutment and attach it to the implant.
Application of the Dental Prosthesis
Once the abutment is in place, the artificial tooth or teeth can be connected to this part of the dental implant. In some cases, an entire row of teeth can be attached to four or more implants to create a complete replacement for multiple missing teeth. Most crowns or dental prostheses, however, are designed to replace only one or just a few missing teeth. The crown may be removable for cleaning or might be permanently affixed to the implant to provide a more secure solution for replacing missing teeth.
After Your Dental Implant Surgery
You may experience some discomfort or pain after your dental implant procedures. This is common to all types of oral surgery and can be relieved with medications available over the counter or prescribed by your dentist.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Implants are an excellent way to provide permanent replacements for missing teeth. Some of the most positive benefits of implants versus dentures are:
- Increased comfort when eating and chewing
- The ability to brush and floss the same as for your natural teeth
- Improved ability to speak clearly
- No chance of slipping as with dentures
- The most natural look and feel for your artificial teeth
Potential Drawbacks of Dental Implants
The length of time associated with getting dental implants can be discouraging for some patients. Also, dental implants can be quite costly, which can also be a barrier for some families.
How Our Dental Team Can Help
We will work with you to make sure your implant is as affordable as possible. To learn more about dental implants and how they can help you look and feel your best, contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. We look forward to the chance to serve you.