Think of dental implants as artificial tooth roots, similar in shape to screws. When dental implants are placed in your jawbone (A), they bond with your natural bone. They become a sturdy base for supporting one or more artificial teeth, called crowns.
A connector – known as an abutment (B) – is placed on top of the dental implant to hold and support your crowns. The crowns (C) are custom-made to match your natural teeth and fit on top of the abutment. Dental implants are strong and durable and will last many years. On occasion, they will have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear.
Reasons for dental implants:
Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space.
Restore a patient’s confident smile.
Restore chewing, speech, and digestion.
Restore or enhance facial tissues.
Support a bridge or denture, making it more secure and comfortable.
What does getting dental implants involve?
The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months.
X-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself for up to six months. Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the “post” that will hold the artificial tooth in place. With other implants the post and anchor are already attached and placed at the same time.
After several weeks of healing the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step may take one to two months to complete. After a healing period, the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort to the patient.
You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene and eating habits, alongside regular dental visits, will aid in the life of your new implant.
Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures. Implants provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances.
Five facts about dental implants:
Ancient dental implants have been traced back to around 600 AD, when tooth-like pieces of shell were hammered into the jaw of a Mayan woman.
Dental implants are the only dental restoration option that preserves natural bone, actually helping to stimulate bone growth.
In 1951, a small group of dentists who were successfully placing dental implants formed the AAID – American Academy of Implant Dentistry – to share their knowledge on the practice of implantology. AAID is the first professional organization in the world dedicated to advancing implant dentistry.
In 1952, Swedish orthopedic surgeon P.I. Branemark discovered that titanium naturally fuses with bone, eventually switching his research focus to the mouth from the knee and hip.
3 million people in the United States have implants, a number that is growing by 500,000 annually.
If you have questions about dental implants or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office.