Q1 What are Dental Implants? – learn about the placement and makeup of a dental implant
A natural tooth consists of a crown (the part you see above the gum), and the root (the part hidden under the gum, within the jawbone). It is the root that actually holds the natural tooth in place.
When a person is missing a tooth, the dentist must decide how to re-create the crown portion, and he must choose the best method to hold it in place. Dental implants were created for this purpose.
Dental implants are metallic cylinders that are placed into the jawbone where original teeth once existed. These root-like cylinders are used to secure a replacement tooth in place in a spot where a tooth is missing. Dental implants can also be used to secure loose teeth in place by being installed alongside the loose teeth and anchoring to them with splinted crowns. This will allow the loose teeth to function better and last longer in the mouth.
Dental implants are made of various biomaterials. Most commonly, a surgical metal called titanium is used, because it is the most compatible with human biology. They are surgically placed in the jawbone, right in the dentist’s office, using a local anesthetic. Approved and tested implant systems are very successful. In fact, some have lasted more than 20 years with a better than 90% success rate. Patients who have good oral hygiene and take care of their new teeth can enjoy implants that last a lifetime.
Q2 Why do I need Dental Implants? – find out if you’re a candidate for dental implants
People lose one or more teeth for a wide variety of reasons, including infection, gum disease, accident or injury. When natural teeth are removed, many problems occur. The remaining teeth shift, rotate and become crooked. An improper bite will develop, making it very difficult to chew food properly. Spaces and gaps between teeth may cause embarrassment, problems with speech, and lack of self-esteem. Dental implants, when properly placed, can restore missing teeth, thereby eliminating these potential problems. People who have teeth replaced with dental implants report better ability to chew food and eat properly, renewed confidence while speaking, and better self-esteem.
If you have been thinking about getting dental implants, you are probably wondering if you are a possible candidate for this procedure. You can take this simple test to see if this procedure might help you.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Am I missing one, two, or more teeth?
Do I hide my smile because of unsightly spaces between my teeth or because I am missing teeth?
Do I lack confidence when I smile, speak or eat?
Am I having trouble eating, chewing, or speaking properly?
Are my teeth loose, or am I getting or in need of treatment for advanced gum disease?
Do I have dentures that slip or cause sore spots when I chew?
Do my dentures need to be relined frequently because of bone resorption?
Do I carry my complete or partial dentures in my pocket or leave them at home?
Am I having any problems with existing crowns or bridges, either functionally or cosmetically?
Are the teeth holding my bridge loosening or moving?
Can I wait three to nine months for the entire implant process to be completed?
Will I be willing to commit to the high standard of home care that is necessary to properly maintain a dental implant?
Will I follow up with regular dental checkups?
Do I believe that my life could be improved if my teeth were improved?
If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, you may be a candidate for the dental implant procedure.
Q3 How do Dental Implants Work? – outline of the different ways by which dental implants can improve your smile
Dental implants replace the form and function of missing teeth. They support replacement teeth in virtually the same way that your natural tooth root supports your natural teeth.
Various replacement options are possible:
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, so that grinding down or altering adjacent teeth is no longer necessary.
Dental implants can be used as anchors to support a fixed bridge.
Dental implants can support loose teeth by being splinted to them.
Dental implants can support replacement teeth for an entirely toothless jaw.
Dental implants can provide stability for a complete denture, thereby eliminating unsightly moving and clicking associated with dentures
Dental Implants are actually an amazing procedure, actually giving you a second chance for your teeth!
Q4 What exactly does the Implant procedure involve? – detailed description of dental implant surgery
Surgical placement of the implant(s) into the bone. This is usually done right in the dentist’s office, with a local anesthetic. After surgery, there is a healing period of approximately four months. During this time, the implants fuse to the bone by a process known as ‘osseointegration’.
Next, there is a minor surgical exposure of the top of the implant, whereby the dentist will attach the post to the implant. The function of the post is to become the support for either one tooth or a set of teeth. This is a short procedure that usually requires only local anesthesia.
The last phase is the restorative phase. The dentist will take impressions and then make a prosthesis that will attach to the implants. This will require several visits. Once completed, your mouth will be restored to natural looking, strong teeth.