What are dental implants?

        After remarkable advances in dentistry in recent years, dental implants have become the treatment of choice for people missing one, a few, or all of their teeth, and for those with failing teeth or severe periodontal disease. Dental implants look and perform more like natural teeth. They are rooted in the bone, there is no artificial plastic on the roof of the mouth, and the need for adhesives and denture creams is eliminated. More important, the use of dental implants does not impact healthy, adjacent teeth.
        Dental implants are long-lasting tooth root replacements that ClearChoice oral surgeons implant into the jawbone to simulate the root of a pre-existing tooth. For qualified patients, replacement teeth then can be restored immediately, returning a spectacular smile quickly—usually on the same day. Unlike dentures or bridges, dental implants don’t move or shift, and they can last a lifetime.
        A dental implant designed to replace a single tooth is composed of three parts: the titanium implant that fuses with the jawbone; the abutment, which fits over the portion of the implant that protrudes from the gum line; and the crown, which is created by a Prosthodontist (a specialist in the treatment planning and restoration or replacement of missing teeth) and fitted onto the abutment for a natural appearance.

Illustration of a dental implant:
The titanium implant has a top
abutment on which the crown (tooth)
is afixed.

Regaining Confidence through Dental Implants

        Most people feel that a smile is your introduction to the world, whether you are meeting prospective employers, colleagues, or romantic interests. Unfortunately, a majority of adults have lost a tooth through accidents, failed root canals, disease or decay. When losing a tooth, particularly a front tooth, a first impression may no longer be as “winning” or confident. In considering how to remedy a missing tooth, consulting a dental professional, such as a periodontist and/or a restorative dentist, can reveal which dental implants are right for your smile.

What are dental implants?

        A dental implant is a synthetic “root” which is literally implanted permanently, within the space where the natural tooth once lived. The root resembles a screw or rod. A custom-made artificial tooth is then affixed to the screw, creating a stable and natural-looking replacement for the lost tooth. A dental implant can slow the process of aging in the jaw, and it offers far more comfort than partial dentures. The problem of gum shrinkage, irritation, and changes in speech are eliminated with the use of dental implants. 

What are the advantages to dental implants?

        One significant advantage is that dental implants do not put strain on the surrounding teeth, especially when compared to bridges. Dental implants have been a common procedure for decades, so the technology is now streamlined with a minimum of stress to the patient.  The results of these teeth implants are impressive, most often restoring lost confidence and self-esteem. By virtue of the permanency of the implant, the dental implant procedure is the most similar to having one’s natural teeth.

What is the process of dental implants?

        Part of the reason that dental implants are such a preferred choice of treatment is that the dentist’s implant screw or rod is given time to fuse to the bone structure of the patient’s gum, a procedure known as osseointegration.  Successful osseointegration is the fundamental part of feeling as though your tooth has returned. Upon implanting the titanium screw, a protective cover is placed over the dental implant until the osseointegration process is complete. The process of osseointegration does take anywhere from three to six months.
        Once osseointegration takes place, a temporary crown is placed over the screw, allowing that area of the gum to form naturally to accommodate the final custom crown. This new “tooth” implant will match your natural teeth in color and texture and size.

Would I be a good candidate for dental implants?

        You should always consult a dental professional for an individual recommendation as to any care or procedures for your teeth.  Your dental professional will explain to you the time, cost, risks and likelihood of success of a dental implant procedure.  
        In general, however, an ideal candidate for dental implants is someone in good overall health. Other factors in favor of a successful dental implant candidate are healthy gums, sufficient bone for the fusing to take place, and a commitment to continuing good care and aftercare. 
        Individuals who may not likely be good candidates are those who have suppressed immune systems, chronic medical conditions, younger persons whose jaws are still developing, pregnant women, smokers, and people who have a chronic problem with teeth-grinding. Again, a full evaluation by a periodontist and restorative dentist would be necessary in order to assess the extent of suitability of a patient.

What is the after-care of dental implants like?

        Naturally, once you have your new tooth, you will want to care for it as you would your other teeth. Good aftercare is extremely important. Regular brushing and flossing are necessary to prevent plaque build-up and irritation. You will be given special brushes to make sure you reach the areas of the tooth. Regular check-ups with your dental professional will also be part of your aftercare.

An important decision….

        Dental implants are a significant investment in both health and self-esteem.  Protecting your oral health is foremost, but a wonderful benefit is the confidence you feel when you flash that “winning” smile.