Dental implants are the best way to replace a missing tooth or teeth. The dental implant is placed into the location of the former tooth root, and the bone is allowed to grow around the implant, the dental implant feels and functions just like a natural tooth.
Unlike Dental Bridges, which are dependent on crowns on the teeth adjacent to the gap created by the missing tooth or teeth, dental implants individually replace one tooth at a time. They are the strongest restoration option and can last the remainder of the patient’s life.
Dental implants are not new, although their popularity has soared in the past decade. The first modern dental implants came on the scene in the 70s, but their history is much longer than that.
Modern Dental implants are named for the base. The titanium implant is screwed down into the jaw and overtime is allowed to become a part of the jawbone. When that process is complete a post, called an abutment, is attached to the implant and a porcelain crown (false tooth) is attached to the post.
People often don’t replace a missing tooth or two, either because of financial reasons or simple inertia. But this is a mistake because the teeth on each side of the gap tend to move over to fill the gap. This creates problems with the patient’s bite and alignment. Also, teeth transfer the energy from the extreme force created by biting and chewing down into the jawbone below. This energy prompts the jawbone to keep rebuilding with new bone. Missing teeth obviously don’t transfer energy downward and the jawbone deteriorates in that spot.
Implants have many benefits:
Having Dental Implants keep the adjacent teeth from moving.
Dental Implants keep the jawbone healthy by transferring bite force energy downward.
Dental Implants impinge on the adjacent teeth like bridges, which require crowns to be placed on the teeth on each side of a missing tooth or teeth to anchor the bridge.
They behave exactly like a natural tooth, enabling the patient to eat any foods.
Dental Implants are almost as strong as a natural tooth.
Dental Implants can last for decades.
They need no special hygiene, simple brushing, and flossing at home.
The dental implant success rate is 90 to 95%.
The main determinant of a person getting a Dental implant is the condition of the jawbone. The jawbone must have enough mass and strength to hold the implant. If the patient has not replaced a missing tooth or teeth for a long time, the jawbone beneath the missing teeth may have deteriorated. If this is the case, jawbone grafts may be necessary before the implant process can begin. Otherwise, if the patient has a good jawbone mass, he or she is a good candidate.
Dental Implants involve three steps, four if jawbone grafting is required.
The titanium implant is placed into the location formerly occupied by the tooth root. The implant is shaped like a screw and is screwed down into the jawbone. Sometimes we may also drill a small hole to aid the process. The patient goes home and the jawbone is allowed to grow around the titanium implant. This process is called osseointegration and takes from three to six months. When the process is complete, the bone has completely integrated the implant.
The patient returns and a post, called an abutment, is placed into the top of the implant. The abutment has a conical top and bottom. Impressions are taken to create the porcelain crown (false tooth) that will be attached to the abutment. This fabrication time allows the gums to fully heal.
When the porcelain crown is finished, the patient returns, the crown is permanently cemented to the abutment, and the process is complete.
The lifespan of a dental implant, much like that of a natural tooth, depends on the patient’s home hygiene routine. With good care and regular visits for routine cleanings and exams, your implant can last for decades, even for the rest of your life.
Just as they function exactly like a natural tooth, implants don’t require any special care. Simple daily brushing and flossing, along with regular professional cleanings and exams are all you need to do.