In the vast majority of cases, the most satisfactory and permanent way to replace missing teeth is with the use of dental implants. Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth can regain the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence, knowing that their teeth are stable, appear natural, and that their facial contours will be preserved.
What are dental implants?
The implants themselves are tiny artificial titanium roots that are placed into the site(s) where teeth are missing. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Not surprisingly, implants are about the same size as natural tooth roots.
What is the procedure?
In order to place an implant, we usually have to freeze the gums and make a small pilot hole to place the implant into. In general, the placement of an implant is faster and easier than removing the tooth we are replacing with it. In some cases, we can remove the failing tooth and place the implant replacing it at the same visit. After placing the implant, we often have to wait twelve to sixteen weeks for the bone to fuse to the implant before we make the final crown.
Do I have enough bone?
In some cases, especially if it has been a while since the tooth was lost, some of the natural bone has shrunk away. In these cases we sometimes have to do a minor graft to help your body grow back the missing tissue. Again, this is usually not a complex procedure, but requires patience while your body heals for several weeks or even months, depending on what we have to do.
How long should implants last?
Just as we like to see teeth last for your entire life, the goal with implants is to see them last for the rest of your life. Crowns, whether they are on teeth or implants, can wear out over the years but are straightforward to replace. Most implants are for the long term, provided that you look after them with regular homecare and professional dental care.
Dental implants are changing the way people live! With dental implants, people are rediscovering the comfort and confidence to eat, speak, laugh, and enjoy life. Our dentists have a great deal of experience with implants, and for more complex cases, we have a dentist in the group whose practice is limited to dental implants and related grafting. Contact us today to find out if implants are right for you.