What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant acts as a root to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth to replace missing teeth. They act as an anchor for a replacement tooth or crown or a set of replacement teeth. Replacement of lost teeth with dental implants has been used for treating missing teeth for more than 50 years and is recognized as an effective treatmxent choice. Treatment is considered more predictable than bridgework, resin bonded bridges and endodontic treatment.
How are Dental Implants Placed?
- Local anesthesia is given to the patient
- A base for the implant is installed and closed with a screw.
- When the base is properly placed with the cover screw, the incision that exposed the bone is sewn closed and allowed to heal.
- When the initial implant base has properly healed, the base is uncovered and the cover screw is removed in a second surgery.
- A temporary crown is screwed in in place of the cover screw and the gums and tissue are given two or three months to heal and form around the temporary crown.
- Once the tissue has properly healed, a final prosthetic tooth is made and fitted onto the implanted base.
Why Get Dental Implants?
People lose one or more teeth for a wide variety of reasons, including infection, gum disease, accident or injury. When natural teeth are removed, many problems occur. The remaining teeth shift, rotate and become crooked. An improper bite will develop, making it very difficult to chew food properly. Spaces and gaps between teeth may cause embarrassment, problems with speech, and lack of self-esteem. Dental implants, when properly placed, can restore missing teeth, thereby eliminating these potential problems. People who have teeth replaced with dental implants report better ability to chew food and eat properly, renewed confidence while speaking, and better self-esteem.
Who Should Get Dental Implants?
Patients with missing teeth and who are healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for a dental implant. Patients should have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. They also must be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. Heavy smokers, people suffering from uncontrolled chronic disorders -- such as diabetes or heart disease -- or patients who have had radiation therapy to the head/neck area need to be evaluated on an individual basis. If you are considering implants, talk to your dentist to see if they are right for you.