What You Need to Know About Dental Implants
Millions of people suffer from tooth loss, and the incidence gets higher as you age. Thankfully, there have been innovations in dentistry that offer more options than wearing dentures or a bridge. Dental implants are one option that can help protect your bone health and fill the empty space in your mouth.
What do you need to know to decide about a dental implant? Let’s start with identifying the types of dental implants available and the process you go through to get one.
Types of Dental Implants
A dental implant attaches to your jaw under the gum line. A metal post is inserted into the jaw bone and allowed to heal. Then the tooth is attached to the post. There are several advantages to using implants over standard dentures.
Because the implants are not anchored to the tooth next to them, they preserve your healthy teeth. They also look better, are more functional and reliable than bridges and dentures. Studies have also shown the success rate can be over 98%.
Of course, this depends on your health and whether you’re eligible for the procedure. However, it can also mean that a dental implant is your best option if you’re missing a tooth. They’re comfortable to wear and a cosmetic improvement over dentures.
The implant also gives your body the natural stimulation it needs to prevent bone reabsorption in your jaw. Missing teeth that are not replaced can reduce your bone structure by 25 percent. This compromises the support for your remaining teeth, which can lead to tooth failure.
However, not everyone is eligible for a dental implant. The best candidates are people who have adequate bone density, maintain regular dental visits and practice good oral hygiene habits. If you do not have good bone structure, a bone grafting may be needed before an implant can be placed.
If you have several teeth missing, we can use a bridge that removes the need to have individual posts implanted for each replacement tooth. Posts are implanted on the outside teeth and the middle missing teeth are inserted on a bridge.
The newest types of implants are called same-day implants or immediate load implants. These are done in one procedure but are only available to people who have enough bone support. The clinical success of this type of implant is dependent on several factors. However, when those criteria are met, immediate load implants can have a successful outcome.
Steps to Getting a Dental Implant
Missing teeth can increase your risk of poor oral health and periodontal disease. Food particles can become trapped in the gap between your teeth and even regular flossing may not clean the area adequately.
Once a dental implant is completely healed, it behaves like a regular tooth. You don’t need to purchase special products to clean them, and upkeep is much more affordable. Before the process begins, we do a thorough examination. This may include a CT scan to better assess your dental health and bone structure that will support the implant.
The next step is to remove any teeth that need to be replaced. This is usually done by an oral surgeon. If your initial examination shows there is not enough bone to support the implant, then a bone graft will be done first. Bone is harvested from another area of your body and added to the jaw where it’s needed. Another option is to use synthetic or natural donor bone. After the bone graft has healed, the implant will be put in place.
The surgical procedure to place the post is relatively simple and will be done under local anesthetic. Unless you are having an immediate load implant placed, the first surgery is only to place the titanium post into the jaw.
You’ll require a period of healing, so the implant root is anchored and fused with the jawbone, just like a natural tooth. During this time, you’ll wear a removable denture to cover the gap. This healing time can take two or three months so there’s enough bone growth to stabilize the implant.
Next, an abutment is added, which is the part of the implant that holds the crown in place. This takes another four to six weeks for healing. Finally, the tooth, also called a crown, is put into place.
We work hard to customize the color, shape and size of the crown to match your other teeth. After each procedure, it’s important to follow the hygiene instructions we give you as it will improve the long-term success of the dental implant.
Is a Dental Implant Right for You?
Do you want more information about getting a dental implant to replace your missing teeth? Our dental team at Passes Dental Care are dedicated providers. We will assess your situation and advise you whether an implant will best fit your needs.
We are committed to helping you get the best care possible for your oral health. Call our office today at 516-858-5921 or use our online form to schedule your first appointment. The sooner you get started, the faster you’ll be enjoying your new smile.