What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a prosthetic restoration option for missing or severely damaged teeth. An artificial root (implant) is placed into the jawbone, or in some circumstances under the gum above the jawbone, to secure a replacement tooth or bridge. After osseointegration (when the surrounding bone has healed to the implant), the replacement tooth or bridge is secured to the top of the implant. The new tooth performs, appears, and feels nearly identical to a natural tooth. Dental implants can dramatically help in restoring the ability to properly chew, talk, and smile.
How is the implant procedure performed?
The dental implantation process occurs over several steps, depending on your specific circumstances, and can take anywhere between two and nine months to fully complete. Multiple tooth, complete lower or upper tooth, bridge and denture replacement options are often far more complex and take significantly longer of a time period to complete than single-tooth implants. The conventional single-tooth implant process includes:
- Pre-treatment consultation: A thorough examination of your dental and medical history will be conducted by your dentist. To determine if a dental implant is right for you, your dentist will make sure that you have healthy gums, sufficient underlying jawbone to support implantation, and overall good health. If your dentist determines that you meet all criteria, they may refer you to prosthetic or surgical specialist prior to the beginning of your treatment. Depending on your unique situation either your general dentist, a prosthodontist (restoration and teeth replacement specialist), periodontist (gum specialist), or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (dental surgery specialist) may be called upon to perform the implantation.
- Implant placement: The initial procedure is generally performed in your selected practitioner’s office in one visit and under either local or general anesthesia. The implant, resembling a screw or cylinder, is surgically placed into your jaw to serve as a root anchor for the prosthetic attachment, which will eventually support replacement teeth or a bridge. Following the implant placement, over the course of the next several months, the osseointegration process fuses bone to the implant, strengthening and anchoring it into place. During this time period, a temporary tooth replacement option, usually a dental cap, if needed, can be worn to protect the implant site.
- Prosthetic attachment implant: Once it is determined that the implant has fully healed to the jawbone, the temporary tooth replacement cap is removed. If needed, additional time may be required for the gums to further heal following cap removal. Afterward, a prosthetic post attachment (or abutment) is affixed to the implant by your dentist. The post protrudes through the gumline slightly and serves as the anchor for the replacement tooth. Once set the created replacement tooth is securely attached to the post. Impressions are taken to ensure a correct fit is achieved and any minor adjustments are made.
- Follow-up maintenance: Careful oral hygiene is critical for the success of the implant. Your dentist will provide you thorough care instructions to help maintain the function, appearance, and feel of your new implants.
What are the benefits of a dental implant?
Dental implantation offers a significant number of benefits, which make it a compelling option for replacing your missing or severely damaged teeth. Some of these benefits include:
- Helping to maintain your oral anatomy structure by preventing jawbone deterioration which can occur over time with missing or damaged teeth.
- Allowing you to return to normal chewing, speaking, and smiling. Substantially improving your overall quality of life.
- Reducing the need for future more invasive restorative work for your teeth and eliminating the need to grind down other adjacent healthy teeth during bridgework.
- Having much longer longevity than other teeth restoration options.
- Fitting securely with no movement or slipping to provide superior comfort and reliability.
What risks are involved with dental implantation?
Modern dentistry and advances in technology have greatly improved the positive outcome of dental implantation treatment. The vast majority of dental implants are successful, however as with any surgical procedure, there are some potential, albeit rare, risks involved. These risks include:
- Possible infection around the implant site.
- Potential for injury to adjacent teeth, nerves, or blood vessels.
- Bite issues, less tooth strength, and poor aesthetics if implanted teeth are improperly aligned.
Are dental implants the right option for you?
For most patients, dental implantation is the best option for replacing missing or severely damaged teeth. Regardless of age, typically if you are in generally good health and have a jawbone strong enough to support an implant, this treatment will be a good option for you.
Please discuss any additional concerns or questions regarding dental implant treatment with your dentist during your next scheduled exam appointment or cleaning.
To schedule an appointment with Dorosti Family Dental in Zanesville, Ohio, call 740/452-3697.