What are dental implants?
Dental implants are posts that act as replacement tooth roots. Made out of either titanium or a bio-compatible ceramic, dental implants can support a single tooth, or they can be used in combination with other replacement options such as a dental bridge or a denture.
Why have Dental Implants become so popular?
The main reason for their popularity among dentist and patients alike is because dental implants are the most durable and natural-looking option for replacing missing teeth. They look, feel, and function just like natural teeth. Moreover, they can last a lifetime when properly cared for, making implants a win-win solution for the dentist and patient.
Another reason that more and more people are opting for dental implant treatment is because thousands of people who had previously been denied implants are now candidates thanks to breakthrough advances in implant procedure and material. As an example, those suffering from extensive bone loss simply lacked sufficient bone mass to support one or more implants. However, new procedures for building bone have eliminated that problem.
Even certain physical conditions that had once been thought to prohibit successful implant treatment (such as diabetes, anemia and osteoporosis), are no longer an obstacle. While it is up to the dentist to determine whether implant treatment is the best option, most people who need one or more teeth replaced and are healthy enough to undergo surgery are candidates for dental implants.
Are Dental Implants better than dental bridges or dentures?
In terms of aesthetics, health, and durability, implants have many advantages over conventional bridges and dentures.
- Implants look, feel, and function like your natural teeth
- Implants help provide you with far greater chewing power
- Implants help prevent the gum and bone loss caused by missing teeth
- Unlike dentures, implants do not slip or irritate your gums
- Unlike dental bridges, implants do not depend on adjacent teeth for their support and therefore put no undue stress on your natural teeth
- Implants last longer than bridges or dentures
Implant-supported options to replace missing teeth
Conventional dental bridges and dentures do have the advantage of being more affordable than implants. However, keep in mind that you may not be facing an either/or situation. Today, several options are available for an implant-supported bridges and dentures. Depending on your smile goals and needs, your dentist can consult with you to find the best solution.
What are the steps to getting Dental Implant Treatment?
- Consultation and Exam – the first step is to have a consultation with a dentist that is qualified and experienced in implant treatment. Your dentist will meet with you to discuss your goals and do a full exam, including any needed X-rays, to get a full picture of the condition of your teeth, gums and bone.
Should you lack sufficient bone, you will need to be set up for bone augmentation, where bone is either built up further or new bone is created. Once the bone augmentation is done, there is a waiting period of 3 to 6 months for the bone mass to build up sufficiently.
Your dentist will monitor your progress and give you the green light once bone it is deemed that you have a strong enough foundation for implant placement.
- Implant placement – Now it is time to receive the implant. This is done using a gentle surgical procedure. Most patients report that they experienced little if any discomfort.
Once the implants have been placed, there is a 3- to 9-month waiting period during which cells need to grow around the implant. “Osseointegration” is the technical term for this process during which human bone cells actually attach to the dental implant, and it was the breakthrough that made implant treatment possible.
Provided the bone stays healthy, the implant will stay in place. You will likely be given some type of provisional replacement teeth during this period.
- Placement of the final restoration – The dentist places a small post called an abutment that will connect to each implant. At this point, your dentist with get digital impressions of your teeth and your implant abutments.
Part of preparing the final restoration includes selecting a shade that blends in well with your natural teeth. The high-precision planning that goes into fabricating your final teeth is highly results in teeth that look, function and feel like they are your own natural teeth.
Do you have one or more missing teeth? Would you like to learn whether dental implants are right for you? If so, please call (610) 200-6290 today for an appointment with Blue Bell implant dentist Dr. Ken Siegel at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell.