When it comes to replacing missing teeth, dentures and fixed bridges are no longer the only options available. Today, a more permanent solution exists in the form of dental implants. With proper care, these replacement teeth can last for years or even a lifetime.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants replace a single missing tooth at a time and may be used to replace all of the teeth when necessary. Implants consist of a root, a crown, and an abutment. The root is a titanium metal screw that actually fuses with the bone in the jaw for stability and security. The crown is the part of the tooth that shows and looks like one of your natural teeth. The abutment attaches the crown securely to the root. Because an implant is secured directly into the jaw bone, it looks and functions more like your natural teeth.
Advantages to Dental Implants
Unlike fixed bridges, any teeth remaining around the implant will not be damaged in the placement of these implants. This will help keep surrounding teeth healthier for longer. With dental implants, there is no slipping like with removable dentures. There is no need to worry about embarrassing slippage, funny noises, and limiting food choices. Implants are a more permanent and more natural solution to replacing missing teeth.
What Is the Dental Implant Process?
There are variations in the implant process that depend on individual circumstances. However, for the most part, at least two appointments will be needed to complete the implant procedure. If there is enough healthy gum and bone tissue, the root to the implant will be installed. At this point, the abutment may or may not be placed as well. After this, it is important to give the jaw bone time to heal and fuse with the new root. This fusing process is called osseointegration and is important for the longevity and security of the final result.
At the next appointment, the crown will be placed. If the abutment was not attached in the process of installing the root, it will be placed prior to the crown. The crown will then be attached securely to the abutment.
Considerations with Implants
There must be adequate healthy gum and bone tissue available for implants to be effective. However, bone grafting and other treatments may be performed in order to continue with the implant procedure. Follow all of the instructions after your procedure for the best success.
If you feel that dental implants might be a good option for you, call the offices of Alabama Family Dentists for an individualized consultation.