What are Implants?
For one reason or another, there may be missing teeth in your mouth. Replacements for these teeth are needed either for function (the ability to chew), or cosmetics to not have the unsightly appearance of having teeth missing. Implants are replacements for missing teeth that are permanently fixed in your mouth, therefore eliminating the need to take them in and out like dentures. Implants will feel more natural and as close to your natural teeth than any other alternative. Implants are made of titanium that is biologically compatible with your body.
Structure of the Dental Implant
What are Advantages of Implants?
- Improved appearance and comfort. Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth because they are designed to fuse naturally with your bone. Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
- Easier eating. Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
- Improved self-esteem. Dental implants can give you back your natural smile and help you feel better about yourself, knowing that the implants are a part of you.
- Improved oral health. Dental implants don’t require reducing other teeth, like a bridge does or shaving teeth for partial dentures. Nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant so more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, so it is easier for you to floss compared to a bridge.
- Durability. Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants can last a lifetime.
- Convenience. Removable dentures are…removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place.
What Is Involved in Getting a Dental Implant?
The first step in the dental implant process is the development of an individualized treatment plan. The plan addresses your specific needs and is prepared by our team of professionals who are specially trained and experienced in implant placement and restorative dentistry. This team approach provides coordinated care based on the implant option that is best for you. X-rays will be needed to measure the quality and width of bone to see if an implant can be successfully placed and the best position to place it. If the quality of bone is good, implants have a 98% success rate and with proper care, it can last a lifetime.
The implant is placed into the jawbone of your mouth. This may sound painful, but we will make sure you are completely numb by using local anesthetic. Furthermore, there are no nerves in your bone. No nerves means no pain. As the jaw bone heals, bone forms around the titanium implant anchoring it securely in your mouth. This healing process called osseous integration can take up to 12 weeks.
After osseous integration, a connector called an abutment is placed on the implant. This connector will connect the implant to the crown or restoration.
Not everyone is a candidate for implants. Patients must have good oral hygiene and be committed to maintain good oral hygiene throughout life. Patients who have diabetes, who smokes and have had radiation therapy to the head and neck area have a higher risk for implant failure. Our dentists will carefully evaluate these patients to determine if they are candidate for implants
What is a Bridge?
A bridge is used to replace missing teeth. It is made up of two or more crowns to “bridge” the missing teeth. Much like the bridge you drive on, we use two sides as anchors with a false tooth to connect the two sides. The crowns that make up the bridge can be made of many different materials (see Crowns Section).
What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?
- Restore your smile
- Restore the ability to properly chew and speak
- Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
What Is the Process for Getting a Bridge?
At the first visit for getting a bridge, the natural teeth between the missing teeth are prepared. Preparation involves removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Next, impressions of the teeth are made, which serve as a model from which the bridge and the crowns involved will be made by a dental lab. Our dentist will make a temporary bridge to protect the exposed teeth while the bridge is being made.
At the second visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and the new porcelain or metal bridge will be checked and adjusted to achieve a proper fit. Multiple visits may be required to check the fit of the metal framework and bite. This is dependent on each individual’s case and how many missing teeth the bridge is replacing. Eventually the bridge is cemented into place.