Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures. Implants provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances.
Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth (usually titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by an oral surgeon or periodontist - a specialist of the gums and supporting bone. The teeth attached to implants are very natural looking and often enhance or restore a patient’s smile!
Dental implants are very strong, stable, and durable and will last many years, but on occasion, they will have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear or traumatic injury.
Reasons for dental implants:
Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth. (A one tooth solution for a one tooth problem.)
Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space.
Restore a patient’s confident smile.
Restore chewing, speech, and digestion.
Restore or enhance facial tissues.
Support a bridge or denture, making them more secure and comfortable.
What does getting dental implants involve?
The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months and depends on the patient's goals and the number of implants being placed.
If you are replacing one or several teeth and do not want something removable for the final result:
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 and integrate itself onto the bone for up to six months. 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 the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step may take one to two months to complete. After a healing period, the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort to the patient.
If you wish to stabilize a full denture:
X-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and dentures 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 and integrate itself onto the bone for 2-6 months. It is recommended that you do not wear your denture for 2 weeks during initial implant healing. After that the denture is modified and can be worn until the implants are ready for the second stage of the process where the denture is made to snap on and off of the implants. The denture is now more stabile but you still need to remove it after meals to clean.
If you wish to get rid of the denture(s) completely the same process is involved but at the end of treatment nothing comes out and you clean around the implants and dental work like your natural teeth.
You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new implant.
Parts may wear out over time and need replacement but maintaining regular check-ups will help your dental work last.