If one or more of your teeth are missing, there are a number of ways to replace them. An alternative to bridges, partials or complete dentures may be dental implants. Implants are used to replace missing roots and support artificial replacement teeth. They are comfortable and look like natural teeth.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is an artificial root made of titanium metal. It is inserted into the jawbone to replace the root of the natural tooth. An artificial replacement tooth is attached to the implant. The implant acts as an anchor to hold the replacement tooth in place.
Who can get dental implants?
If you are in good general health, have healthy gums and have enough bone in the jaw to hold an implant, dental implants might be right for you. If your jawbone has shrunk or if it has not developed normally, you may be able to have a bone graft to build up the bone. A bone graft is a way of adding new bone to your jawbone. Your dentist or dental specialist will tell you if bone grafting can be done.
How dental implants are done?
Initially dental radiographs and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. Once Dr. Maedel has all the required diagnostic information she will determine if she can place the implant in office or if a referral to an oral surgeon or periodontist is required. With more advanced cases that require bone grafting or sinus lifts Dr. Maedel works alongside the dental specialists. Often the dental specialists with do the required surgery and implant placement and then Dr. Maedel can restore the implant in office once integrated.
During the first stage of surgery, your dentist or specialist will put a dental implant into your jawbone beneath the gum tissue. The gum tissue is then stitched back into place. As the tissue heals, the implant will bond with the bone and attach to the gum. It can take several months to heal.
During the second stage of surgery and once the tissue is healed, your dentist or specialist will attach an abutment to the implant. An abutment is a post that connects the replacement tooth to the implant. In some cases, the first and second stage of implant surgery may be done in one single stage.
After the implant has healed and integrated with the bone a final impressions is taken and an artificial replacement tooth is made to attach to the dental implant.
Long term success of implant dentistry depends on many factors but in general have an over 90% success rate. Dental implants are very strong, stable, and durable but on occasion, they will fail and not osseointegrate or have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear. 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.