A dental implant is a component (usually titanium) that is surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw bone. It replaces the root of a tooth, and is used to support a crown, bridge or denture.
This direct connection to the jawbone is the key benefit of dental implants over other tooth replacement systems. When a tooth and its root are lost, the underlying bone basically melts away. This is why people who have lost most of their teeth and are not wearing dentures appear to have a caved-in appearance to their mouths. Replacing the root with an implant made of titanium–which biochemically joins to bone—stabilizes the bone and stops the process of bone loss.
Reasons for dental implants:
- Replace one or more missing teeth (without affecting adjacent teeth).
- Resolve pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space
- Restore a confident smile
- Restore chewing, speech, and digestion
- Restore or enhance facial tissues
- Support a bridge or denture, making them more secure and comfortable
What does getting dental implants involve?
Getting a dental implant is typically a four-step process.
- At the first appointment, x-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant.
- At the next appointment, an anesthetic is used to numb the area, and then the implant is surgically placed into the jawbone. The area is then allowed to stabilize and heal for a few months while the implant properly adheres to the bone and creates a healthy fusion.
- Next, a final impression is taken.
- Then, a few weeks later the new crown, bridge or denture is placed to complete the process.
Our patients receive care instructions when treatment is completed. With good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental visits, the new implants will last many years.