Crowns and conventional bridges or dentures may not be your only options when replacing missing teeth. For some people, dental implants offer a smile that looks and feels very natural. Surgically placed below the gums over a series of appointments, implants fuse to the jawbone and serve as a base for individual replacement teeth, bridges or a denture.
Implants offer stability because they fuse to your bone. Integration of the implants into your jaw also helps your replacement teeth feel more natural and some people also find the secure fit more comfortable than conventional substitutes.
Candidates for dental implants need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. A thorough evaluation by your dentist will help determine whether you are a good candidate for dental implants.
Dental implants are the most realistic tooth replacements available. Implants begin with a surgically placed post that is securely anchored into the jawbone. The bone surrounding the anchor will heal in approximately six months. With a completely solid and stable anchor point, an artificial tooth is then installed. The end result is a new artificial tooth that is virtually indistinguishable from a natural tooth, both from an aesthetic and functional standpoint. In cases where several teeth are missing, dental implants can also act as the teeth to which bridges are fixed, again perfectly mimicking the function of healthy, natural teeth.
A bridge or partial dentures may be considered if the financial burden of dental implants is too great.
Ill fitting, loose dentures. While dentures that are loose and ill fitting make eating difficult, they can cause painful sore spots on the gums as they slide around while chewing.
An implant denture may be the answer. Usually two to four implants are surgically placed in the bone and become anchored as the bone heals and secures itself to the implant. This healing process takes about six months after which the dentist can begin constructing an implant denture. An implant denture is a removable denture with attachments on the underside that clip onto a bar connected to the implants. The attachments and bar hold the denture in place and keep it from moving when chewing and speaking. Implant dentures can be classified into two groups: Implant Retained Dentures and Implant Supported Dentures. Implant Retained Dentures are held in place by the attachments, but are mainly supported by the bone and gum tissue as is a conventional denture. Implant Supported Dentures are for patients who do not have sufficient bone and supporting gum tissue. This denture is mainly supported by the bar attached to the implants.
New dentures may be considered if the financial burden of dental implants is too great.
Steps of Implant Surgery
Implant Placement and Bone Graft
First, the implant, which looks like a screw or cylinder, is placed into your jaw. If you do not have necessary amounts of bone, a bone graft is done to recreate bone and will be done at the same visit. Over the next two to six months, the implant and the bone are allowed to bond together to form an anchor for your artificial tooth. During this time, a temporary tooth replacement option can be worn over the implant site.
After the bone and implant have had the necessary amount of time to bond together and create a strong anchor for your new tooth, a healing abutment is placed. A healing abutment is a titanium cylinder that is placed over implant. Its purpose is to condition your gums and prepare them for your new tooth. This conditioning usually takes about 4 weeks to get your gums to the proper shape.
When the gums have properly healed and shaped, we will then take impressions of the implant area and send those impressions to the lab which will prepare your new tooth, custom fitting to your jaw.
The final step is the delivery and cementation of your new tooth.