Dental Implants: What You Need to Know
If your smile is missing teeth, chances are that simple daily tasks like eating or talking may have become difficult. Not to mention that your attitude towards smiling or being social may be subdued as well because you are feeling self-conscious. Difficult oral health problems can be created as well. Luckily, dentists have a treatment option available to help restore the function and beauty of your smile – the Dental Implant.
What Exactly is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants consist of a titanium post and an artificial tooth that will be placed into your mouth to take the place of the missing tooth or missing teeth. The implant post is made of titanium and will be surgically implanted into your jawbone. After a healing time of between 3-6 months, the implant post will have become fused to your jawbone and is now ready to support an artificial tooth. This process is called osseointegration. The visible portion of the artificial tooth is made of a ceramic material and will be screwed or cemented into place on top of the implant post.
What’s Involved in Placing Dental Implants
The first step in getting dental implants installed is placing the implant post into or onto the patients jawbone and then waiting for the healing process to complete. Once the implant area has healed and osseointegration has occurred, the implant will be covered by new gum tissue. The implant will need to be exposed and a healing collar attached. After that an impression mold will be taken so that a fixture used to attach an artificial ceramic tooth, as well as the artificial tooth itself, can be fabricated. It is important that both pieces fit perfectly onto the post and into the gap. Once the artificial tooth is ready, it will be test fitted and then cemented or screwed into place.
There are two types of dental implants used by dentists today:
Endosteal implants are most commonly used and feature an implant post that is placed into the jawbone.
Subperiosteal implants are designed for patients whose jawbone isn’t sufficient to support an endosteal implant and instead feature an implant that is placed on top of the bone.
The Advantages of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer many distinct advantages when compared with other forms of restorations such as:
- Implants take the place of your natural teeth and offer the same functionality and appearance.
- Dental implants are stable and secure, meaning they wont shift or slip out of position.
- Unlike with dentures or bridges, there are no additional cleaning procedures required. Implants are cleaned just like your natural teeth. There is no need for removal or overnight soaking.
- Neighbouring teeth remain intact, meaning no shaving or installation of crowns is required to install a dental implant.
- Dental implants can help with a sagging facial expression and can restore the natural contour of your face.
- Implants prevent your other teeth from moving to fill in the gaps caused by missing teeth.
- Dental implants are custom fabricated to match or upgrade your existing smile – no one will know you have dental implants.
- Implants can help patients rediscover their zest for life by allowing them to speak, chew and smile normally with confidence.
If you are suffering from missing teeth, contact our office for a free consultation about whether you’re a candidate for dental implants and how they can help restore your smile.