Dental implants are an excellent choice to replace a single tooth, several teeth or to support a set of dentures. A dental implant is a titanium post surgically placed in the jaw to act as a sturdy anchor for the replacement tooth or teeth. Titanium is a bio-friendly metal commonly used to replace other body parts such as hips and knees. In our office, we work with the most qualified periodontists and oral surgeons in our area for implant placement. As the bone grows around the implant it forms a secure foundation for a single tooth replacement, several teeth replacement or full set of teeth as in a denture. This may take several months before the abutment and replacement teeth can be attached to the implant by your dentist. An abutment is secured to the implant with a torque wrench and supports the implant crown. A single tooth implant mimics a natural tooth the best and has a very high success rate in a good candidate. Implants can be connected to each other as an implant-supported bridge.
Implants are not an option for everyone. Because implants involve surgery, patients should be in good overall health. Chronic illnesses such as diabetes or leukemia may slow healing after surgery. Patients with these issues may not be a good candidate for implants. Use of tobacco can also slow healing around the implant. Patients must either have adequate bone to support the implant or be able to have surgery to build up the area needing the implant. Patients also should be ready to commit to daily oral care and regular dental visits. Your dentist will help you decide whether dental implants are a good option for you.
The advantages of dental implants are:
- An implant is most similar to a natural tooth.
- Adjacent teeth do not have to be involved.
- An implant is a great option especially when other options such as a bridge are not.
- Implants may last years or decades.
- Some implants and dentures can be restored in one to two visits.
- Implants help to prevent loss of bone in the jaw from tooth loss.
The disadvantages of dental implants are:
- Implants are not for everyone since they require surgery.
- Adequate bone is necessary to support the implant or grafting may be necessary to build up the area needing an implant.
- Implant placement may take longer than other options such as a bridge due to healing time.
- Implants may cost more than other treatments.
Generally, implants take 3-6 months for the bone to grow around the implant to integrate and anchor.
Three Phases of Implant Treatment:
- Placement: We work with excellent oral surgeons and periodontist in our area who place the implant into the jawbone with the help 3D imaging for ideal placement. This can be performed awake or asleep.
- Healing process: There may be some swelling and/or tenderness after surgery. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or prescribed pain medications help to ease the discomfort. A soft diet and anti-microbial mouth rinses may be recommended during the healing process. During this phase your body deposits bone around the implant to hold it in place. This process varies from person to person but averages 3-6 months. The implant must completely heal before the next phase can begin.
- Replacing your missing tooth or teeth: A custom fit abutment and crown will be made by your dentist to attach to your implant. The abutment is attached to the implant with a torque wrench and supports the implant crown or bridge. In the case of an implant overdenture (a denture supported by multiple implants), special anchors will be attached to the implant and the denture will be modified to accept the anchors. The implant overdentures will snap onto the implants for use and removed for daily cleaning.
If you are missing one or more teeth, there are options for you. Your teeth are designed to work together to chew, smile and speak. When one or more teeth are missing, it can affect your smile and dental health. Teeth can shift, compromising function and can make your face look older. A dental implant is a great option for tooth replacement.
~Post by Yassamin Dorosti, DDS – Star Smiles Family Dental Columbus, Ohio / Dorosti Family Dental Zanesville, Ohio