Dental implants are metal posts which are surgically placed into the jawbone beneath your gums. Implants are used to mount replacement teeth and give you a secure and stable fit. Since the implant grows into your jawbone, the replacement teeth won’t shift or slip and feel just like your natural teeth. Dental implants are more comfortable then ordinary bridges or dentures since none of the adjoining teeth are affected.
Unlike traditional bridges and dentures your adjoining teeth do not need to be ground down or prepared. There is no attachment to the other teeth, and the dental implant can hold the replacement tooth on its own. To receive dental implants, you must have adequate bone and healthy gums. You must also commit to regular dental visits and dental hygiene to keep your gums healthy.
Types of Dental Implants
Implants act as anchors and look like screws or cylinders. They replace your natural tooth root and can be used in upper and lower jaws. They are made of titanium and other materials which are compatible to the human body. They grow into your jawbone and create a stable base for one or more replacement teeth.
The American Dental Association has approved two types of dental implants.
Endosteal implants are surgically implanted directly into the jawbone. After the surrounding gum tissue is healed another surgery is performed to connect a post to the implant. An artificial tooth is then attached to the post.
Subperiosteal implants are metal frames which are surgically fitted onto the jawbone just below the gum line. The frame heals into the jawbone and then posts are attached to the frame. These posts protrude through the gum and an artificial tooth is mounted to the posts.
Placement of Dental Implants
Placement of dental implants is usually done in a three part process over several months. At your first visit your doctor places the implant surgically into the jaw leaving the top of the implant slightly above the top of the bone. Your doctor inserts a screw into the implant to prevent gum tissue and disease from entering it. Your gum is then secured over the implant and over three to six months the implant fuses with your jawbone in a process called osseointegration.
At your second visit the implant is uncovered and your doctor attaches a post to it and the gum is left to heal around it. Some implants are a single unit, while other types of implants and posts are separate units. At your last visit the dentist creates a crown which blends into your natural teeth’s color and shape. This crown is then attached to the implant post and your new tooth is complete.
Once your implant is complete you will need to keep up with good oral hygiene habits and regular checkups. Don’t smoke, or quit smoking and don’t eat hard foods such as ice and hard candy. Regular cleanings are also important to keep your gums healthy.
If you need a tooth, or teeth, replaced call or contact Live Oak Family Dental today and ask about dental implants.