How Do Dental Implants Work?
Dental implants are one of today's best tooth replacement options. Implants function, look, and feel like healthy, natural teeth.
Dental implants replace the tooth as a whole, from the root to the crown. The implant post securely bonds with the jawbone, preventing deterioration and giving the crown a secure base.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Today's dental implants are almost indistinguishable from natural teeth. They seamlessly fill gaps in your smile while providing a healthy appearance.
Single-tooth implants are easy to care for, requiring only brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits. Caring for implant-supported bridges and dentures varies depending on the type of restoration.
Preserve Jawbone Health
When the natural root system is missing, the jawbone loses the stimulation it normally receives from chewing. This problem leads to jawbone deterioration around the socket, causing a sunken facial appearance.
Prevent Other Teeth from Moving
If you have a gap in your smile, your other teeth will slide into new positions. They may become crooked or disrupt your dental bite. You may be more prone to gum disease and tooth decay because it is more difficult to keep crooked teeth clean.
Improve Chewing Ability
Restorations like crowns and bridges may come with food restrictions. Avoiding overly sticky or sugary foods is always a good idea with dental restorations, but within reason, you can eat what you like with dental implants. You can finally stop chewing around the gaps in your teeth. Chewy foods like steak, crunchy apples, and chips will no longer be a problem.
Missing teeth may cause a loss of self-esteem. You may feel reluctant to show others your teeth, smiling with your mouth covered or shying away from photographs. When you feel you can freely share your smile, your confidence improves.
Who is a Candidate for Dental Implants?
- Patients with generally good oral health, including healthy gums
- Patients with sufficient jawbone mass to support an implant
- Patients free of health conditions that may interfere with implant healing, including diabetes and cancer
Types of Dental Implants
Single-Tooth Dental Implants
This type of implant replaces one tooth at a time.
Bridges can replace a handful of teeth at a time. Implants improve a standard bridge by providing a stronger, longer-lasting attachment point.
Implant-supported dentures may be your best option if you are missing many teeth or need multiple extractions. You can choose from partial, fixed, and removable full-arch dentures to meet your needs.
How Dental Implants Are Installed
Most types of dental implants require a multi-step installation process that can take several months to complete. The single-tooth implant process is as follows:
Step 1: Consultation
Sitting down with your dentist, you will discuss your needs and expectations. Your dentist will help you choose the best implant type to promote your oral health.
The dentist will conduct a comprehensive oral examination and take diagnostic images to help determine whether you need any preparatory work before getting implants.
Step 2: Bone Grafting
This step is optional and is for patients with lower bone mass in the jaw. Oral surgeons typically place bone grafts. A graft may take up to six months to heal enough to place an implant.
Step 3: Placing the Post
After any preparatory work has healed, the dentist will surgically place the dental implant post in your jaw. They will use a computer-guided system to make the process faster, easier, and safer. Over time, the post bonds with the bone in osseointegration, creating a solid attachment point.
Step 4: Placing the Abutment
Once the post heals, your dentist will place a stainless steel cap or abutment on top.
Step 5: Installing the Final Restoration
At the end of the process, the dentist installs your permanent restorations. After healing, you can chew, eat, and speak clearly without issues.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Implants
How long does it take to get dental implants?
Dental implants may take several months, especially if you need preparatory work like bone grafts. Considering how much more durable implants are than standard bridges or dentures, this extra time is worth it.
What happens if you have a tooth pulled and don't replace it?
Missing teeth can damage your oral health. Food particles and plaque bacteria can accumulate in the gaps between teeth. Your teeth may shift, causing alignment problems or changing your dental bite. You may develop a prematurely aged facial expression due to losing natural jawbone mass.
Call Dunedin Dental Associates
If you want to learn more about dental implants and how they work, please schedule a consultation today. We can explain your options and help you decide whether implants are your best choice for tooth restoration. Please call our Dunedin, FL, office at 727-734-3321 to make an appointment.