In the majority of cases, the most satisfactory and permanent way to replace missing teeth is with the use of dental implants. Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth.
What are dental implants?
The implants themselves are tiny artificial titanium or titanium/zirconia roots that are placed into the site(s) where teeth are missing. The bone bonds with the titanium oxide surface, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Not surprisingly, implants are about the same size as natural tooth roots.
What is the procedure?
In order to place an implant, we usually have to freeze the gums and make a small pilot hole to place the implant into. In general, the placement of an implant is faster and easier than removing the tooth we are replacing with it. In some cases, we can remove the failing tooth and place the implant replacing it at the same visit. After placing the implant, we often have to wait twelve to sixteen weeks for the bone to fuse to the implant before we make the final crown.
Do I have enough bone?
In some cases, especially if it has been a while since the tooth was lost, some of the natural bone has shrunk away. In these cases we sometimes have to do a minor graft to help your body grow back the missing tissue. Again, this is usually not a complex procedure, but requires patience while your body heals for several weeks or even months, depending on what we have to do.
How long should implants last?
Just as we like to see teeth last for your entire life, the goal with implants is to see them last for the rest of your life. Just like teeth, implants can develop gum disease if we don't look after them, so good homecare remains as important as ever. Crowns, whether they are on teeth or implants, can wear out over the years but are straightforward to replace. Most implants are for the long term, provided that you look after them with regular homecare and professional dental care.
Dental implants are changing the way people live! With dental implants, people are rediscovering the comfort and confidence to eat, speak, laugh, and enjoy life.
Drs. Holden and Afshar are general dentists who practice implant placement and restoration, and while most implant patients come to us by referral, you do not need a referral to see us. Contact us today to find out if implants are right for you.