A dental implant feels fits and functions like a natural tooth. Recent technology has made it possible for almost anyone to qualify for dental implants. Missing teeth can diminish your quality of life by making it difficult to enjoy your favorite foods or speak clearly.
Tooth Loss is Bone Loss!
Bone loss is a common consequence of loss of teeth and chronic periodontitis. In the case of periodontitis, the bacteria gradually eat away at the underlying jawbone and at the periodontal ligaments that connect the tooth to the bone. The most common cause of loose teeth is due to bone loss which is most commonly caused by periodontal disease.
Dental Implants to the Rescue
Dental implants can renovate a missing tooth and restore your smile enough to last your entire life. Dental implants are a lovely invention in the dentistry field which was developed in the 1960s.
How Bone Grafts Work
It is not unusual for the patient to present for a consultation at the oral surgeon’s office and be informed at some point in the discussion that he or she may require a “bone graft” in order to maximize the outcome of dental implant surgery. While this sounds pretty scary at first, the truth is that bone grafting in the oral cavity today is a routine, predictable and painless procedure. In a bone graft procedure, the surgeon will take a section of bone from another area of your body, or – as is most often the case now – use a special bone grafting material, and graft it onto your jaw bone.
What is a Dental Implant?
To understand that we need to see combination of 3 things:
- The implant itself
- An abutment
- A prosthetic, like a crown or dental bridge
The Dental Implant
A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gum line that allows your dentist to mount replacement teeth or a bridge into that area. An implant doesn’t come loose like a denture can.
A connector, placed on, or built into, the top of the dental implant, to connect the implant to the replacement tooth or teeth.
A dental prosthesis is an intraoral prosthesis used to restore intraoral defects such as missing teeth, missing parts of teeth, and missing soft or hard structures of the jaw and palate. Prosthodontics is the dental specialty that focuses on dental prostheses.
The Dental Implant Process
The time frame for completing the implant and crown depends on many factors. When the traditional method of placing an implant is used, the shortest time frame for a complete implant is about five months in the lower jaw and six months in the upper jaw. This includes surgeries and placing the permanent crown. However, the process can last a year or more, particularly if bone needs to be built up first.
Placing the Implant & Abutment
If you have a second surgery to place abutments, a small incision is first made in the gum tissue. In many cases, a healing abutment is temporarily secured to the implant. When gums have healed, the final abutment is placed.
Attaching the Prosthetic
When your gums have healed around the abutments, your restorative dentist will begin making your permanent prosthesis. Several office visits may be needed to make a precise model of your mouth. Then it may take a few weeks, or even months, to build your prosthesis.
How to Care for Dental Implants
Caring for teeth restored with dental implants is just like caring for your natural teeth: brush, floss and maintain regular dental cleanings and check-ups, as scheduled. Additional cleaning aids also may be recommended to help you keep your teeth healthy at home.