Dental Implants

Missing teeth can cause more problems than just gaps in your smile. Adults between the ages of 20 and 64 are missing an average of seven permanent teeth, and sometimes they result in major dental health problems.

Missing any of your teeth – whether they’re the visible front teeth or the hidden molars – can cause problems with chewing, pain from jaw misalignment, and permanent bone loss if left uncared for. Dentures are a common method of filling those gaps, but a better, long-term solution for a missing tooth is likely a dental implant.

Dental implants are tooth roots that are surgically implanted in the jawbone to replace teeth that have been lost to extraction, injury, or decay. Some people refer to implants as “artificial teeth”, which, technically, they are. Dental implants provide a strong foundation where crowns can be anchored to the new implant location to replace missing teeth.

Dental implants are installed by a prosthodontist in a process that takes several months, occasionally as long as a year. It is not a complicated procedure, and depending on your dental health, there may be one or more treatments required prior to installation of the implant

The healing process varies for every patient, but in general, people who do not smoke, do not have severe gum recession or bone loss, and who do not suffer from chronic illness or other risk factors Are good candidates for dental implants.

  1. Preparing for a Dental Implant

The prosthodontist will ensure there is enough tissue and bone for the new implant to attach to. In cases where there is bone loss, a bone or tissue graft may be required to replace missing jawbone or oral tissue. We will also take x-rays, perform a thorough dental examination, and measure the implant area.

  1. Installing the Artificial Root

The implant is essentially an artificial root made of titanium to which a crown (false tooth) will be attached. Pin-like in shape, it is implanted into the jaw. Acting as a new root, the implant eventually fuses to the jawbone for a permanent tooth replacement

3. Attaching the Crown

Your prosthodontist has created an artificial tool in the lab while your implant heals and bonds. The crown will be carefully matched in size and color to its neighboring teeth. A post is used to attach the crown to the implant, resulting in a new artificial tooth that looks and works as good as your natural tooth did.

Implants can be more costly than dentures and other dental restorations but are far superior to other methods for resistance to decay and staining. Dentures can actually promote tooth decay and gum disease and cause you to lose more teeth. With proper care, dental implants are a permanent solution for correcting missing teeth with natural-looking replacements.

The Smile Center’s dentists may recommend implants for you instead of dentures or bridges, particularly if you are young, if you are missing only one or a couple of teeth, or if the missing tooth is in a highly visible location. If you are generally healthy dentally, aren’t a smoker, and want a long-term tooth replacement solution, implants may be right for you.

Modern dentistry has come a long way and dentures aren’t the only solution to missing teeth! Many of the ways dental implants are superior to dentures include:

  • Dentures can contribute to bone loss in the jaw, causing the “sunken” look that is often associated with old age
  • Dentures can damage adjacent teeth
  • Implants are easier, more natural and far more comfortable for eating and drinking than dentures
  • Implants can be permanent, while dentures last only five to seven years
  • Dentures can make it difficult to speak normally or be understood
  • Dentures rarely look as natural as dental implants.

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