Dental Implants

What are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is a permanent tooth replacement for one or more missing teeth. A titanium screw is surgically placed into the jaw bone through an incision in the gums to serve as an artificial tooth root. The dental implant is then allowed to heal for three to six months before a custom made permanent crown is cemented to the dental implant. In some cases a second piece called an abutment is fastened to the implant, and then the custom made permanent crown is cemented to the abutment. A temporary crown can be worn during the healing period to mold the gums to the exact contour of the crown and create a very natural looking gum line.

The patient must be in good overall health and if there is periodontal disease present it must be controlled prior to surgical placement of dental implants.  The patient must also have adequate bone to support the placement of a dental implant.  If there is not enough bone present ridge augmentation and bone grafts will be necessary. When bone grafts are required then there is an additional three months of healing time. There will be periodic follow up appointments to ensure the surgical site is healing properly.

Dental implants not only restore your confidence to smile again, but actually do a great deal in keeping your entire mouth’s functionality and bite pattern correct and prevent the “sunken face” look that some people with missing teeth have. They are the best option to replace missing teeth as they do not need to use neighboring teeth for support. You will never have to remove it to soak or clean because it basically becomes a part of your body permanently. You care for a dental implant just like you would your natural teeth, through regular brushing and flossing, and of course periodic exams with your dentist and periodontist.