About dental implants
Dental implants are long-term replacement teeth. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon surgically implants them in your jaw bone.
Patients who choose dental implants enjoy greater comfort and confidence than those with fixed bridges or removable dentures. Dental implants won't decay like the teeth anchoring fixed bridges. Dental implants won’t slip or make embarrassing noises like dentures.
What does it look like? A dental implant looks and feels like a natural tooth. A titanium post is placed into your jaw bone during a simple procedure in the oral surgery office. This implant becomes integrated into your jaw, replicating a natural tooth root. Your dentist then places a crown onto this implant. The result looks and functions like a natural tooth. No parts rest on the other teeth or need to be removed.
Do I need a dental implant? Discuss dental implants with your dentist if you need to replace a tooth or multiple teeth. We will work with your dentist to provide the best outcome. Or, ask for a referral to an oral surgeon to find out whether dental implants are right for you.
What is the procedure like? Many patients find that going through a dental implant procedure is easier than having teeth extracted. Many also are surprised how well they feel after the procedure. Most patients are able to return to normal activities after a few days.
Why dental implants?
Best long-term investment. Fixed bridges last approximately 10 years, on average. When they fail, they can take one of the anchor teeth with them. Partial dentures can jeopardize the health of your natural teeth. The clasps that engage other teeth place pressures on these teeth, increasing the likelihood of these teeth breaking or failing. Implants are designed to last a lifetime if placed and cared for properly.
They preserve the adjacent teeth. With missing teeth, the adjacent teeth can drift or tip into the space. This can cause your teeth to no longer fit together. Studies also have shown higher failure rates of the adjacent teeth if the space is not filled with an implant or a bridge. With a bridge, your dentist must remove significant healthy tooth structure on these anchor teeth to fabricate the bridge. An implant does not involve any work on the adjacent teeth.
They preserve the jaw bone. The jaw bone is one of the most dynamic bones in the body. It involves a complex process of bone growth and removal. Your teeth and roots stimulate the bone so this process happens. If a tooth is missing, the bone does not regenerate and can slowly disappear and dissolve over time. This can give your jaw a sunken appearance as you age. Because an implant is placed into your jaw, it provides the same stimulation as your natural teeth. The bone level stays stable. This is important in your upper front jaw. The implant provides the most esthetic option for replacing missing teeth in the esthetic zone. If you replace the missing tooth or teeth with a bridge or a partial denture, the bone loss will cause a gray shadow under the restoration that can be unsightly.
Easy to clean. The implant is cared for like your natural teeth. It does not need to be removed every night and placed in solution like dentures or flossed under like a bridge.