What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a titanium fixture that is utilized to replace the root of a tooth. These are often placed by oral surgeons and the prosthetic cap is affixed to the underlying implant by your general dentist. Implants are helpful in replacing one or more teeth that are completely missing. These are fixed and not removable and actually work with your body to provide firm and solid support for crowns, bridges and even full dentures. They are often made out of titanium, which is biologically inert and integrates well with the body. They are the gold standard for replacing teeth and can last decades without showing signs of wear.
Why are Dental Implants needed?
We often recommend dental implants to our patients who are missing teeth and desire a prosthetic that is most like natural teeth. Implants are the gold standard for replacement of teeth. One alternative treatment includes having a bridge placed that requires the surrounding teeth to be shaved down and compromised. Another is to wear a removable denture that can be bulky, esthetically displeasing, mobile when talking or chewing, and associated with up to 90% decrease in overall bite force. An implant is useful in providing a permanent solution to your dental-related problems. The implant itself will osseointegrate, or fuse, with the jaw within a 4-6 months and create the foundation for the overlying prosthetic. Once osseointegrated, the implant is secure and solid for any type of dental restoration to be placed on top by your general dentist.
Who is a candidate for Dental Implants?
Most individuals are candidates for dental implants from a medical standpoint. There are certain risk factors that can alter implant healing like being a smoker. When evaluating candidates for implants, it is important to determine the bone quality and quantity at the prospective implant sites. This can be accomplished by taking a CT scan at our office during your consultation visit. Implants require a surplus of healthy, solid bone structure circumferentially. If you have bone loss in areas where we would place implants, we will either recommend bone grafting before placing the implant itself or simultaneous to its placement.
What happens during Dental Implant surgery?
We provide oral surgery services with local anesthesia, nitrous oxide anxiolysis, or intravenously to provide deep sedation or general anesthesia. The procedure begins by administering the appropriate anesthesia. We then perform the procedure by placing the implant into the jaw structure with or without grafting. We then give the implant time to integrate with the jaw and heal which can be 4-6 months. During this time we will periodically check the implants. Once the implant will have fused with the surrounding bone we will refer you back to your general dentist where they will provide the restorations (crowns, bridges, dentures) that rest on top of the implants.
If you would like to learn more about implants and how they work, call our office today and we can get you in for an appointment.