Dental implants enable dentists to create healthy, attractive smiles in an innovative way. Used to replace one or more missing teeth, dental implants are another alternative to conventional bridges and dentures. In essence, dental implants can act and look like natural teeth. And, because they maintain bone mass, dental implants can help prevent additional tooth loss as well as the sunken facial appearance associated with missing teeth.
Dental implants can also be used to secure appliances such as dentures and dental bridges. Implant secured dentures, for example, virtually eliminate the problems associated with conventional dentures while still allowing the dentures to be removed for dental hygiene procedures.
A dental implant restoration consists of a bio-compatible titanium screw and post topped by a dental crown, bridge or dentures. The dental implant is surgically placed into the jawbone where it replaces the natural tooth root. In a few months, the dental implant securely attaches to the bone (called “osseointegration”), allowing it to withstand biting and chewing forces just like a healthy, natural tooth.
Dental implants are an important part of his practice at Etheridge Family Dentistry as it allows patients with missing teeth to receive a beautiful, fully-functional smile again.
Are Dental Implants Right For Me?
The most common indications for dental implant therapy are:
- Replacement of one or more missing teeth
- Support of a non-removable “bridge” to replace multiple teeth
- Support of removable full or partial dentures
Patients who successfully pass a screening and evaluation can be considered as candidates for implant dentistry.
The primary limiting factor inherent in implant dentistry is the amount of bone available to receive and support the dental implant. If it is determined that a patient does not have enough bone to support a dental implant restoration, bone grafting procedures may be considered. Heavy smoking and some medical conditions may preclude the use of implant dentistry.
What Happens At The First Dental Implant Appointment?
To determine if the site is appropriate for dental implant placement, Dr. Ty typically takes x-rays. Sometimes CT scans may be prescribed as well to provide more information about the amount and quality of bone. Impressions are taken of the mouth and then used by the dental laboratory to create a customized dental implant restoration. Many dental implant dentists fabricate surgical guides to simplify the placement of the dental implants.
What Happens At The Second Dental Implant Appointment?
At the second surgical appointment, the dental implant dentist makes an incision to expose the bone at the dental implant site. The dentist then prepares the site to receive the dental implant. Once the dental implant is secured, the gum tissue is sutured back over the dental implant.
The dental implant is left undisturbed for three to six months to allow it to osseointegrate with the bone. If the dental implant is in a visible area of the mouth, the patient may choose to wear a temporary dental crown during the healing period. Dentures may be relined with soft liners to allow patients to comfortably wear them during the healing process.
What Happens At Subsequent Implant Dentistry Appointments?
Once the dental implants have been completely integrated with the bone, a post is attached to each dental implant. Dr. Ty then uses his cosmetic dental expertise to create the permanent tooth replacement, reestablishing the normal feel and function of your mouth.