What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root, usually made of titanium metal, that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants are a wonderful option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, failed root canal treatment or for any other reason.
A dental implant is inserted into the jawbone to replace the root of the natural tooth. An artificial replacement tooth called an abutment is then attached to the implant. Implants are a more durable, and natural looking alternative to a bridge or a partial denture.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that it is much easier to maintain proper oral hygiene like brushing and flossing around dental implants, keeping your mouth healthier.
How Is an Implant Placed?
The implant, which looks like a screw, is placed into your jaw bone where the missing tooth is. In some cases where the level and thickness is insufficient to properly support an implant, bone grafting material may have to place in the area along with the implant.
Over the next three to six months, the implant and the bone will bond together (osseointigration) to form an anchor for your artificial tooth. Once the bone and implant are are fused together, the second phase usually involves a short procedure to expose the implant and place a healing abutment which is a small cap that sits above the gumline.
This temporary healing cap completes the foundation on which your new tooth will be placed. At this time, dental impressions, photos and a shade for the new tooth can be collected and submitted to a dental laboratory to fabricate a custom tooth that will be placed on the implant.
The final phase of an implant procedure is when the replacement tooth, the crown, that was fabricated by the dental laboratory is cemented and screwed into the implant.
*Every case is different and different implant systems may require fewer or additional steps. Your dental professional will work with you to determine the best treatment plan.
How Are Dental Implants Different from Removable Partial Dentures and Fixed Dental Bridges?
A fixed dental bridge is another treatment that is commonly used when replacing one or more missing teeth. It extends across an area that has no teeth and is typically made up of an artificial tooth fused between two natural teeth covered by crowns.
When a fixed bridge or an implant is not possible, a removable partial denture is another alternative. A removable partial denture usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base, which is sometimes connected by metal framework that holds the denture in place in the mouth.
A partial denture allows you to remove it for regular oral hygiene maintenance and care. Dental implants use high grade materials, such as titanium, that have roughly the density and strength as bone. The bone and implant fuse together—a process known as osteo integration—essentially making the implant and your jaw bone fuse together, much like a puzzle.
They have the same density and strength, and your body treats them as it would a normal tooth. After 3-6 months when the dental implant is fused in place, crowns and bridges can be fixed to them, restoring a natural, healthy looking smile.
Why Should I Go with a Dental Implant over a Traditional Crown or Bridge?
Dental implants are stronger and longer lasting than bridges, usually lasting decades or a lifetime. When replacing a missing tooth with an implant, the neighboring teeth do not need to be involved in the placement procedure.
This allows the neighboring teeth to retain healthy enamel. Maintaining an implant is much like your natural teeth. Brushing and flossing can be done as usual to remove plaque for the area. . Traditional bridges require replacing every 10 to 15 years, are more challenging to maintain through oral hygiene and the neighboring teeth must be involved in the preparation phase, meaning healthy enamel is lost.
Due to the challenges in keeping bridges free of dental plaque, it possible for decay or gum disease to infiltrate the supporting teeth leading to failure of the bridge, thus requiring a new one.
Am I a Good Candidate for a Dental Implant?
The good news is that most people who are in good health and have healthy gums are good candidates for dental implants. In order for an implant treatment to be successful, it is important to assess the area for sufficient bone. In the event that 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. The only reason you may not be a suitable candidate for a dental implant is if you have considerable bone loss in your jaw.
Clients who have medical conditions such as Diabetes may have poor healing after surgery resulting in implant failure. In this case an implant might not be the ideal treatment. Tobacco use also delays healing of an implant. A thorough examination by your dentist along with a review of your medical history will help determine if you are a good candidate.
I Want Dental Implants! How Do I Get Started?
If you’re ready to book a consultation for dental implants, contact MYsmile Dental . Dr. Kamel will help you decide if dental implants are right for you.