WHAT IS A DENTAL IMPLANT?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that actually replaces your tooth root in the bone. The dental implant is placed in the area where the tooth loss occurred and is held in place by bone just like the root of the original tooth. The implant looks, feels and functions just like a natural tooth!!
WHAT IS THE IMPLANT PROCESS?
Implant treatment involves a cooperative effort between the restoring dentist, the surgeon and the dental laboratory. After the treatment planning has been completed, the implant placement can commence. Implant treatment generally involves three stages. In the first stage, the implant body is placed into the bone by the surgeon in the predetermined site(s). An implant placed into the bone is depicted in the illustration to the left. A period of time for healing from three to six months is generally required to allow the implant to integrate (fuse) into the bone – however, in some cases, the restorative treatment can commence sooner or even immediately. In the second stage, the abutment, or the post, is placed into the implant body as shown in the illustration to the left. This abutment may be temporary to allow for healing of the gums, or it may be the permanent one onto which the crown is placed. The third stage, performed by the restorative dentist involves taking impressions and fabrication of the final restoration (crown, bridge, denture). Once the finished restoration has been completed by the dental laboratory, it is then placed over the abutment/implant. The patient now has new teeth!
I’VE BEEN TOLD I HAVE BONE LOSS. IS IT TOO LATE TO HAVE DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Absolutely not! A simple procedure called bone augmentation can help rebuild even the most severe case of bone loss.
WHY ARE MY DENTURES NOT FITTING PROPERLY ANYMORE?
When a tooth root is missing, the jawbone begins to shrink. This creates a misalignment from when you originally were fitted for your dentures. Patients experience difficulty in speaking and eating, and some even complain of bleeding gums from mouth sores resulting from the constant shifting.
I ONLY HAVE ONE TOOTH MISSING. WHY NOT JUST A BRIDGE?
Bridges certainly have assisted many patients with a single tooth missing, however, the results can be problematic. Bridges require grinding down the supporting healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth. The bridge usually needs replacement within five years. Additionally, since the jawbone does not contain a root, there will be noticeable bone loss under the false tooth.
I LOST A MOLAR WHICH IS NOT VISIBLE TO ANYONE. HOW WOULD I STILL BENEFIT FROM A DENTAL IMPLANT?
When a tooth is missing, the adjacent teeth will shift, which can dramatically impact your bite. Teeth are known to shift forward, which can have a visual effect by crowding your front teeth. Because a missing tooth root causes the bone to retract the empty space, a visible defect is noted along the gum line. Implants preserve bone and minimize the need for additional dental work.
I WANT DENTAL IMPLANTS FOR FOUR MISSING TEETH. WILL I EXPERIENCE MUCH PAIN?
The Oral Surgeon is trained in the area of anesthesia. You will have options for medication during your procedure. After the surgery, patients may experience minor discomfort but usually do quite with over the counter pain medication. Most patients return to their normal activities within a day after treatment.