Replacing Teeth with Dental Implants
Before the development of dental implants, dentures or bridges were the only alternative to replacing a missing tooth or teeth.
What Are Dental Implants?
Implants are synthetic structures that are placed in the area of the jawbone normally occupied by the tooth root. Implants are anchored to the jawbone and act as a foundation for an artificial tooth or permanent bridge. In some cases, implants can be used to attach dentures.
Implants are so well designed that they mimic the look and feel of natural teeth. Implants are usually made of a synthetic yet biocompatible material like titanium or ceramic.
How Are Implants Fitted?
Surgery is necessary to prepare the area for an implant and place the implant in the mouth. Following the procedure, a period of time is required for the implant to take hold and for bone tissue to build up and anchor the device. In some cases where aesthetics is an issue, a temporary crown or bridge is placed on top of the implant so the patient has an instant tooth. After 4 to 6 months, an impression is taken of the implant fixture for the purpose of constructing the final restoration which may be a crown, bridge or denture. This is then screwed onto the implant very tightly.
Like any restoration, implants require diligent oral hygiene (brushing, flossing and mouth wash) and proper care to ensure they last a long time.
Can I Get an Implant?
Unfortunately, not everyone is a able to receive an implant or implants. Patients need to be healthy and have strong bones. We assess the strength of your bones with an X-ray, so you must be able to have an X-ray. It is also preferred if the patient is a non-smoker as smoking can affect the implants.