What are Dental Implants?
Regular checkups and proper cleaning and maintenance of your teeth can keep your teeth looking great for years. But, some of our teeth might not be able to keep up as we age, whether it is from a previous cavity or the tooth has become weak. If you have lost a tooth due to injury or disease, dental implants can restore your smile and your overall oral health.
An implant is a synthetic tooth root in the shape of a post that is surgically placed into the jawbone. The “root” is usually made of titanium. Titanium is used in many knee and hip replacements and is a great metal for surgical purposes, even dental work. A replacement tooth is then fixed to the post. The replacement tooth can be either removable or permanently placed. Permanent placement can end up being more stable that the removable option, but both have their advantages.
The ideal candidate for dental implants is a person who has good oral health, doesn’t smoke, has a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw, and healthy gums with no sign of gum disease.
Single or Multiple Dental Implants
Implants are very versatile. If you are only missing one tooth, one implant and replacement tooth will have your teeth back in order. If you are missing several teeth in a row, a strategically placed implants can support a permanent bridge, which is a set of replacement teeth. Also if you have lost all of your teeth, a full bridge or full set of dentures can be permanently fixed in your mouth to make sure you are back to 100%.
What are Some Advantages Compared to Dentures or Bridges?
Conventional bridges and dentures are not fixed to the bone and can be relatively unstable. If they are somewhat unstable, smiling or eating can become worrisome and you can can lose confidence. Implants can be a great alternative to traditional dentures or bridges since they act more like natural teeth. Since implants don’t rely on the rest of your teeth for support they won’t compromise the health of your other teeth. You can expect bridges to last around 7 years, but implants can last a lifetime with no issues!
Your replacement implants should be treated like natural teeth. They require the same daily brushing, flossing, and regular checkups. Expect your replacements to last a long time if you take care of them just like natural teeth.
Our implant services include:
- Sinus Lift Augmentation: Often the sinuses will enlarge following loss of the upper back teeth. This can preclude placement of dental implants in the upper back areas of the mouth, since the sinus is an air-filled space and dental implants need to be surrounded by solid bone. A sinus lift augmentation/graft is a surgical procedure that restores the sinus cavity to its original size, and replaces the bone that has been lost as a result of the enlarged sinus. This new bone graft typically takes nine to 12 months to heal before the dental implants can be placed into the grafted bone.
- Autogenous Bone Grafting: Occasionally, the ideal areas for dental implants do not have sufficient bone quantity to support the implants. In these cases, it is often necessary to “borrow” bone from another area of your mouth and graft it into the deficient area. Often, the area of choice is from the chin or in the back of the jaw where your wisdom teeth used to be.
- Implant Site Development: When a tooth needs to be removed due to infection, it is not uncommon to have lost bone around the infected tooth. In these cases, various types of bone grafting can be done at the same time the tooth is removed to facilitate the placement of a dental implant at a later date.
- Computer-Enhanced Treatment Planning: We have special software on our computer that allows us to evaluate your dental CT scan in three dimensions for bone quality, bone quantity, and bone location, enabling the best possible placement of your dental implants. This also allows us to work closely and smoothly with your restorative dentist to ensure an ideal result where your dental implants are concerned.
- Implant Maintenance: Once your dental implant restoration is completed, it is important to keep the area clean and infection-free. Dental implants can accumulate plaque and tartar just as teeth can. Whether you have just one tooth replaced by an implant or several, a professional cleaning schedule will be necessary to keep your implants healthy. The time interval for these professional cleanings will be determined by your individual needs.