What are dental implants? Dental implants are a wonderful way to replace missing teeth and also provide a non-removable solution for partial or complete dentures. Dental implants are artificial roots (made of titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by a dentist, periodontist, or oral surgeon and then restored by your dentist with a natural-looking crown (tooth.) Dental implants are very strong, stable, and long-lasting, but on occasion, they will have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear. What are some reasons for dental implants?
- Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth
- Better eating and speech
- Support a complete or partial denture to make it more secure and comfortable
- Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space
The process of getting implants can take several months. First, X-rays and impressions are taken to assess the bone levels, spacing, and gum tissue available for a dental implant. Once it has been determined that the patient is a good candidate for implant placement, he or she will receive local anesthetic to numb the area where the implant will be placed. Once the area is numb, the implant is surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate into the bone, usually for 3-4 months. Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the “post” that will hold the artificial tooth in place.
Once the implant has had sufficient time to integrate into the bone, the new artificial tooth is fitted to the post that has been placed into the implant. If the implant is toward the front of the mouth, this step can take several weeks to complete in order to achieve an ideal aesthetic result. Once the artificial tooth has been tried in and the gum tissue is in the right place, the new tooth is cemented or screwed into the implant.