What are dental implants?
A dental implant is one of the most reliable and permanent solutions to replace missing teeth. An implant is a titanium post that resembles a screw and is designed to replace the root of a missing tooth. The implant is surgically placed in the bone to act as a root — once it heals, a crown is then attached to the post via an abutment. Implants can be made to replace one or two missing teeth, can be used for an implant-supported bridge, and they can also be used to replace an entire row of teeth or implant-supported dentures (All on Four, a denture “snapped” onto 4 implants). Premier Dental Care is a multi-specialty practice, and our Periodontist performs all implant procedures.
Why choose dental implants?
While there are several ways to replace missing teeth, dental implants are usually the sturdiest and most comfortable option. They also are made to better reinforce the structure of the jaw, which provides the patient with a more natural facial structure. Dental implant surgery is also one of the safest and most predictable procedures in dentistry.
Dental implants are by far the best method for replacing missing teeth. There is no tooth-replacement option that will give you a longer-lasting result. Implants also help preserve tooth-supporting bone that naturally deteriorates when a tooth is lost. Loss of bone is one of the major hidden consequences of losing teeth.
The surgical procedure used to place an implant is quite minor and routine, requiring only local anesthesia in most cases. After a healing period, the implant is topped with a lifelike crown custom-made to match your existing natural teeth. Implants have a documented success rate of over 95%, which is significantly higher than any other tooth-replacement option.
How Dental Implants Work
Your dental implant is surgically placed into the jawbone in the space of an extracted or missing tooth. It takes 4 to 6 months for healing and fusing to the bone. The next step is the restorative procedure which entails taking impressions and having an abutment and crown fabricated, and last is the final insertion of the crown.
Implants can replace missing teeth in a variety of ways. They can be used to do:
Single tooth Implant
If you have one tooth missing, a single implant is surgically placed into the bone, replacing the root of the tooth; a crown is then fabricated and placed on an abutment attached to the implant simulating an actual tooth. This treatment is the best long-term solution for replacing a single missing tooth. Although the initial cost is higher than other options, it is cost-effective because an implant will never decay or need root canal treatment, and performs like a natural tooth.
Implant Supported bridge/Multiple Missing Adjacent Teeth
If you have more than one tooth missing, implants can be utilized to create a bridge. While a standard bridge requires placing crowns on adjacent natural teeth, an implant-supported bridge reduces the length of the bridge for improved function. Implants support fixed bridgework, so if you are missing three teeth in a row, we can place two implants and a crown in between that has no implant underneath (a three-unit bridge). In this way, your remaining natural teeth are not bridge supports (A five-unit bridge), which could weaken them and make them more susceptible to decay.
Total Teeth Replacement/Implant Supported Dentures
Implants can be used to support an entire upper or lower denture. In many cases, the denture can be supported by as few as 4 implants. In some cases, more than four implants may be indicated, each person is different and having a CT scan and consultation with our Periodontist is always the best way to go forward if considering this option. The benefits of having an implant-supported denture include less bone loss, less slippage of the denture, and a more permanent solution to missing teeth.
Implant Care and Maintenance
Poor oral hygiene or excessive biting forces can lead to implant failure. A lack of regular cleanings and good home care can lead to a bacterial infection called peri-implantitis. If you clench or grind your teeth a mouth guard may also be necessary to protect your investment in implants. Implants are a long-term solution for your dental health. Continued professional cleanings and exams are paramount to maintaining that investment for life.
What is the dental implant procedure like?
First, the dentist uses local anesthesia to numb the area where the implant will be. Then they simply screw the post into the jawbone where the root of the missing tooth once was. After letting the bone and tissue heal for a few months, the implant will fuse with the surrounding bone. Once the implant is fused, you will undergo an additional short procedure to attach a crown, bridge, or complete row of false teeth to the post or posts.
How do you care for dental implants?
You care for your implants the same way you would care for your natural teeth. Proper oral hygiene is essential — brush and floss your teeth thoroughly and schedule regular teeth cleanings.
Poor oral hygiene can cause bacterial infections that may result in loose implants. If you grind your teeth, you can also wear an implant down over time. Dentists recommend wearing a nightguard to protect implants and natural teeth.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
Each patient is unique — the best way to determine if dental implants are right for you is to schedule a consultation with Premier Dental Care. After an initial exam and review of your dental history, a treatment plan will be developed to address your dental needs.