What is a dental implant?
When a tooth, or teeth, have become so damaged due to decay, periodontal disease, or injury, a dental implant is most often used to remedy the problem. A dental implant is small titanium post that is surgically placed in the jawbone that fuses with your natural bone to act as an artificial tooth root. Once the posts are in place, our dental team can mount the replacement tooth, or teeth onto them. The titanium posts provide a stronger, sturdier, more stable base for supporting artificial teeth.
The main purpose of a dental implant is to replace damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function as if they were your natural teeth.
When are Dental Implants the Right Solution?
Doctor Arthur Santos explains when dental implants may be the right solution for missing teeth.
What are the advantages of having a dental implant?
A dental implant surgery can be the most beneficial procedure done to get as close to having healthy, natural teeth as you can get. An implant can offer a wide variety of advantages that include:
- Dental implants behave like natural teeth. – An implant will restore your full chewing and biting ability.
- Dental implants help to keep adjacent teeth stable. – An implant will close the gap in your mouth preventing the other teeth from shifting out of their natural places.
- Dental Implants prevent bone loss. – An implant helps to prevent bone loss in the empty space because it stimulates the jawbone like a natural tooth would.
- Improved appearance- implants are designed to look and feel like your natural teeth.
- Improved comfort and speech. – Implants are permanent and won’t move around like dentures causing discomfort.
- Durability and strength. Implants are made from titanium and with proper care can last a lifetime.
What is the process of receiving a dental implant?
Here at Smile Dental we know that no two people are the same, and that each patient we see needs their own individualized treatment plan. Once a treatment plan has been specially created for you by our dentists, the process will begin. Having a dental implant placed is a multi-step procedure and will require anywhere from two to four office visits drawn out over a few months.
The process will begin by numbing your mouth completely. Once you are comfortable and numb, an incision will be made into the gums where the implant will go exposing the bone below. Using specialized instruments, our highly trained dentists will then create a space deep into the jawbone for the implant to be placed. If there is too much bone loss, and not enough bone to support the implant, our dentists will recommend a bone graft. Next the titanium post will then be inserted deep into the bone socket of the missing tooth, acting as a natural tooth root. The implant will be delicately screwed into the bone in order to provide the most possible strength. Once the post is secured in place, the gums are then closed over the implant, and sutures may be used to keep the area closed.
For the implant to be successful, it must fuse together with the natural bone surrounding it. This begins the next phase of receiving dental implants known as Osseointegration. Osseointegration is the process that allows the dental implant to become part of your jaw naturally by fusing the implant and the jawbone together. This healing process can take anywhere from six to twelve weeks.
Finally, once the implant has successfully bonded to your jawbone, an abutment, or extension post, will then be placed on top of the implant to hold the new tooth in place. Our dentists will then take impressions of the tooth in order to create a custom crown. These impressions will create an accurate working model of your mouth. The impressions will then be sent off to a lab, and a dental crown will be specially designed for you. Once our team has received the crown back from the lab, they will carefully mount it over the implant, check for proper alignment, and then permanently secured in place.
We will recommend a follow up appointment or two to check the dental implant and make sure that you are healing properly. Most patients say that there is very little discomfort in the implant process. However, each patient experiences pain differently, so it is important that you inform us of any discomfort you may be experiencing right away. Dental implants can and will last for many years with proper oral hygiene. An implant requires the same care as you would give to your natural teeth, such as, brushing and flossing daily, and maintaining regular dental checkups.
If you need to have a dental implant placed, or simply would like more information regarding dental implants, give our office a call today at (619) 334- 8743 and one of our helpful staff members will be happy to assist you.