Dental implants are essentially titanium screws that replace the roots of your teeth. The implants are placed, and then crowns are placed on top of the implants.
What patients enjoy the most about implants is that they closely resemble their natural teeth. With implants, patients are able to brush and floss normally.
And because implants are so strong, patients are able to eat without fear that the tooth will break.
Unlike dentures, dental implants are permanently fixed in your mouth so you can eat, speak, and smile with confidence.
This is why implants are often the treatment of choice for a growing number of people.
In most cases, dental implants replace single teeth that cannot be saved.
For instance, if you have a fractured tooth below the gumline or very severe tooth decay.
Other times dental implants are used to restore spaces in your mouth where teeth have been missing for a long time. For example, if you had some molars extracted (pulled) several years ago.
A recent trend has been people with full dentures who want to have implants placed to increase stability and retention. In many cases, as few as two implants can make a denture so stable that the patient has to use quite a bit of force to take the denture out. People are also replacing their partial dentures with dental implants. This way, they don't have to take anything in or out of their mouths, no metal clasps are seen, and for upper dentures, nothingcovers the roof of the mouth.
The procedure involves getting the toothless areas anesthetized, making an incision, and reflecting the gum tissue. The jawbone is prepared with the implant handpiece, and the implants are placed. From there, the gum tissue is either sutured back together over the implants or temporary crowns are placed directly onto the implants. If the gum tissue is repositioned over the implants (the implant screws are underneath the gum tissue), then a partial or full denture may be worn by the patient so that he/she will have teeth showing during the healing period.
The surgical sites are usually sore for approximately 24-48 hours, and medication is prescribed to alleviate any discomfort. A 1-week follow-up appointment is needed to ensure proper healing.
After a healing time ranging from 6 weeks to 6 months has passed (the duration depends on the complexity of the surgery), the final steps leading to the placement of a post and crown on the implant are completed. Then feel free to eat whatever your heart desires! Dental implants are the closest equivalent to natural teeth. Contact your general dentist or periodontist to learn more about how dental implants can improve your life!