By now you’ve probably heard that dentures and bridges are no longer the only way to correct missing teeth. They’re not even the preferred treatment for many patients.
Dentistry has evolved and dental implants have become a long-lasting, natural looking option for many people. Dental implants are a fantastic alternative for replacing missing or extracted teeth. They are permanent and, unlike bridges, no teeth usually need to be altered in order to put in the new tooth or teeth.
Let’s start from the beginning:
A dental implant replaces the root or roots of a tooth.
Like tooth roots, dental implants are secured in the jawbone and cannot be seen once they are surgically placed. They can be used to secure a variety of tooth replacements such as:
- crowns—the visible part of a replacement tooth
Safe and nonreactive titanium is used for the root replacement. It is lightweight, strong and biocompatible, meaning that it’s a material accepted by the body. Dental implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device including other bone implants and orthopedic joint replacements.
Dental implants have three components:
- The implant: A screw that functions as a root for your new tooth. This is the part that permanently attaches to your jaw.
- The abutment: A permanent connector that holds and supports a tooth or set of teeth. It can be removed by your dentist, if necessary.
- The crown (or prosthetic tooth): This is the part of the tooth that is visible. Crowns are most often made of zirconium or porcelain for durability and aesthetics.
There are four phases of the implant process:
- Implant Installation
During the initial phase, the actual implant is installed. A screw is placed into the jawbone and an incision is made in the gums where the implant will be placed. If necessary, more than one implant can be installed at once. The gums are then sutured.
During the healing period, which lasts approximately 3 – 6 months, a process known as osseointegration occurs. This is when the jawbone forms around the implant. While this healing occurs temporary crowns may be installed, allowing you to eat and speak normally. This is especially common in front teeth to preserve your smile’s appearance.
- Abutment Placement & Impressions
Once the gums and jawbone are fully healed, an abutment is placed on the implant which will serve as the base for the new tooth.
An impression is taken which will be used sent off to the lab. The lab then creates the permanent crown or bridge.
- Seating the permanent restoration
Within about two weeks, the permanent restoration (crown or bridge) arrives at our Centennial dentistry office and you return for your final appointment. At this visit, Dr Young will seat the crown or bridge, talk to you about proper oral care of your new restoration, and send you off with your beautiful new smile!
Ready to learn more about how dental implants can improve your smile and quality of life? Contact Young Family & Cosmetic Dentistry today to schedule your consultation.