If you are self-conscious because of your missing teeth or are wearing dentures that are uncomfortable or maybe you don’t want to have healthy tooth structure removed to make a bridge, talk to us so we can check if dental implants are a good option for you.
A dental implant is a popular and effective way to replace a missing tooth. Dental implants are designed to blend in with the rest of your teeth. They are an excellent long-term option for restoring your smile. In fact, the development and use of implants is one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years.
Dental implants are made up of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body. They are posts that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they serve as a firm anchor (root) for replacement teeth. Most patients will find that a dental implant is secure, stable and a good replacement for their own lost tooth.
There are generally three phases to getting an implant
- First, the dentist surgically places the implant into the jawbone. Your dentist may recommend a diet of soft foods, cold foods and warm soup initially during the healing process.
- Second, the bone around the implant heals in a process called osseointegration. What makes an implant so strong is that the bone actually grows around it and holds it in place. Osseointegration means “combines with the bone” and takes time. Most patients need to wait until the implant is completely integrated, up to several months, before replacement teeth can be attached to the implant.
- Finally, it’s time for the placement of the artificial tooth/teeth. For a single tooth implant, we customize a new tooth for you, called a dental crown. The crown will be based on size, shape, color and fit, and will be designed to blend in with your other teeth. If you are replacing more than a single tooth, custom-made bridges or dentures will be made to fit your mouth and your implants. (Note: The replacement teeth usually take some time to make. In the meantime, we may give you a temporary crown, bridge or denture to help you eat and speak normally until the permanent replacement is ready.)
Keep in mind, if you are interested in dental implants, it’s a good idea to discuss it carefully with your dentist first. If you are in good general health this treatment may be an option for you. In fact, your health is more of a factor than your age. You may be medically evaluated by a physician before any implant surgery is scheduled. Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or leukemia, may interfere with healing after surgery. Patients with these issues may not be good candidates for implants. Using tobacco can also slow healing.