male implant dentist with dental assistant preparing to treat patient

Dental Implants – Solution for Replacing Missing Teeth

People experience missing teeth because of injuries, gum diseases, and decay. When someone has a missing tooth in the front of their smile, they often feel ashamed of their appearance. Missing teeth also make it more difficult to chew certain types of food or even speak succinctly. With dental implants, a person can replace their missing teeth with a semi-permanent option that looks natural.

male implant dentist with dental assistant preparing to treat patient

What Is a Dental Implant?

When someone schedules a procedure for dental implants, they want to ensure they understand the process entirely. Dental implants replace missing teeth anywhere in the mouth. Some people need multiple dental implants to complete their smiles.

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root implanted down into the jawbone. The dental implant is titanium, the only known metal to bond with human bone tissue. Once the dentist places the implant in the jawbone, bone tissue grows around it. This bone growth takes several months, but the implant eventually becomes a permanent part of the individual's jawbone. Titanium implants offer the same strength as a natural tooth root.

What Is Involved in the Procedure For Placing Dental Implants?

implant dental student smiling and holding a modle mouthMany people wonder what a dental implant procedure is. It is essential to understand that getting dental implants is a multi-step process. A person needs to ensure they are patient throughout the process and realize they will have multiple dental visits.

Implant dentists generally carry out dental implant procedures under a local anesthetic. First, the dentist will place an incision in the gum tissue to expose the bone. Next, a hole will is drilled in the jawbone so the dentist can put the implant in place. Once in place, the dentist stitches the gum closed so the bone can begin to heal.

Healing takes a few months because the bone tissue must grow around the implant and secure it in place permanently. After complete bonding, the dentist will bring the patient back for the abutment placement. Abutments connect the titanium implant with the dental crown.

A minor in-office surgical procedure opens the gum tissue again. Next, the dentist attaches the abutment to the titanium post. Finally, the implant dentist will close the gum tissue around the abutment, but they will not cover the abutment entirely. Healing for this part of the process takes around two weeks. Some dentists will offer their patients a temporary crown for their comfort.

The next step in getting a dental implant fits the porcelain crown. The crown is the only portion of the dental implant that will show above the gum tissue. The result is natural-looking because the porcelain crown is customized to match the patient's surrounding teeth.

What Are the Types of Dental Implants?

There are two main types of dental implants. The most common type is endosteal implants, and the standard material used is titanium. Titanium is the metal of choice because the human body rarely rejects it, and it does not irritate.

Those with insufficient bone mass may opt for subperiosteal implants. This type of implant is placed below the gum line and above the jawbone. This implant resembles endosteal implants, but the implant never penetrates the jawbone.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

modle jaw with dental implantBefore a person can receive a dental implant, they must see the dentist for a consultation. The dentist will check to ensure the patient is in good overall health and does not have gum disease or decay. The dentist would need to resolve these issues before placing a dental implant.

Individuals seeking dental implants should also have ample bone tissue in the socket where the implant gets placed. A bone graft becomes necessary for those with insufficient bone. Patients should also avoid smoking before and throughout their procedure.

What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

Dental implants provide a semi-permanent option for those who want to replace their missing teeth. Dentists use implants to fill in the gaps left behind after teeth are lost, no matter the reason for their loss. The following are some of the most significant benefits of dental implants.

  • Dental implants are highly durable and meant to become a permanent option with proper care. Only the crown needs replacing, as long as no trauma occurs.
  • A dental implant requires less maintenance than dentures and other tooth replacement options.
  • Dentists use dental implants to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth or hold a denture plate in place.
  • A dental implant preserves the integrity of surrounding teeth.
  • Dental implants also prevent bone loss in the jawbone and preserve the patient's facial features.

Schedule a Consultation

Scheduling a consultation appointment is the first step in getting dental implants. From start to finish, the entire process can take up to five or six months, depending on the age and health of the patient. The process takes time but is well worth the effort once a person's smile is complete.

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