Dental implants replace natural missing teeth. Dental implants are posts surgically placed into the upper or lower jawbone. They replace one or more teeth that are next to each other. Implants are an effective way to replace missing natural teeth. When teeth are lost because of disease or an accident, dental implants may be a good option. You may want to choose dental implants if:
- You hide your smile because you have missing teeth
- Your dentures are not comfortable
- You are not happy with your removable partial denture
- You do not have or do not want your other teeth to anchor a bridge restoration
People may choose implants to replace a single tooth, more than one tooth, or support a full set of dentures. Dental implants are made out of titanium (a strong, lightweight metal) and other materials. Millions of implants are placed by dentists every year in the United States, which makes them a very common and popular option for replacing teeth.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Implants offer firm support to natural teeth and have many benefits, including these:
- Implants won't slip or shift in your mouth. This is highly important for eating and speaking normally.
- Implants feel more natural than removable partial or conventional complete dentures because of their secure fit.
- A single tooth implant is a stand-alone unit and doesn't involve treating the teeth next to it.
- Implants help to preserve the bone after teeth are lost or removed.
- Implants are a good value. They may seem like a more expensive option at first, but they can last a lifetime if you take good care of them.
Single Tooth Dental Implant
A single tooth implant replaces the missing tooth's roots. it is a stand-alone unit and does not involve treating the teeth next to it.
*If you are missing one or more teeth, there are many reasons why you should replace them:
- You may not like how the gap looks when you smile.
- Missing teeth may affect how you speak.
- A missing back tooth (molar) can make it harder to chew.
- When a tooth is lost and not replaced, the teeth around it can shift. Shifting teeth can affect how you bite and chew.
- Bone loss may occur in the area of the missing tooth or teeth. This may cause the remaining teeth to become loose over time.
- Loss of teeth and bone can make your face sag. You may look older because of this occurance.
An implant-supported bridge replaces the lost natural teeth and some of the tooth roots when more than one tooth is missing. Unlike traditional bridges, an implant-supported bridge does not need support from the teeth next to it.
If you are missing all of your teeth, an implant-supported denture can replace the missing teeth and some of the tooth roots. Because the bone in your jaw actually grows around the implants, an implant-supported denture tends to be comfortable and stable. This allows you the ability to bite and chew naturally.
Steps of Placing a Dental Implant
Treatment will depend on your personal case and can take only one day, several months, or somewhere in between. Discuss with your Ladd dentist which type of implant is best for you. Then, we create a treatment plan for you.
Implant placement usually involves 3 main steps:
- Placing the implant- Your Ladd dentist, periodontist, or our oral surgeon will use X-Rays and other images to carefully find where the implant should be places. Then, they surgically place the implant into your jawbone. You may have some swelling and/or tenderness after surgery. Your dentist or implant specialist may recommmend medicine to make you more comfortable. During the healing process, your dentist may tell you to eat soft foods.
- Healing Process may take several months- The reason why an implant is so strong is because the jawbone grows around it and holds it in place. This process takes time. Some patients might need to wait up to several months until the implant is completely healed before replacement teeth can be attached to the implant. Other patients can have implants and temporary teeth placed all in one visit.
- Placement of the replacement tooth or teeth- For a single tooth implant, your Ladd provider makes a new tooth that is customized for you, called a dental crown. It is designed to look just like your other teeth. For multiple missing teeth, implant-supported bridges and dentures are also custom-made to look like your natural teeth and to ft your mouth. The replacement teeth are attached to the implant posts that were surgically placed into your jawbone.
Replacement teeth usually take some time to make. In the meantime, your Ladd dentist, periodontist, or oral surgeon may give you a temporary crown, bridge or denture. This will help you eat and speak normally untilyour permanent replacement teeth are ready.
Talk to your LADD dentist or one of our dental implant specialists to see if implants are right for you
Implants are not an option for everyone. You should be in good health and/or cleared by your doctor before scheduling any implant surgery.
- If you are in good general health and your jaw can support an implant, this treatment may be a good option for you. Your health is more important than your age.
- You shouldhave enough jawbone to support the implant or be able to have surgery to build up the jawbone. Bone can be built up iwth a bone graft or with a sinus lift surgery.
- Chronic diseases, such as diabetes and leukemia, may slow healing after surgery. Implant treatment may not be a good option for people with these diseases.
- Using tobacco of any kind (such as dip, chew, cigarettes, pipes, and e-cigarettes) also can slow down your healing process.
If your LADD provider does recommend dental implant treatment:
- Consistent and good oral hygiene is very important for the success of the implant.
- You must spend time caring for the implant and making sure the area around it is very clean.
- If not, it increases your risk for infection, which can weaken the bone and tissues that are needed to support the implant.
- Also, regular dental visits and putting in the time to take care of yout implant are key to the long-term success of your implant.
- Your in home-care routine will include brushing twice a day and cleaning between your teeth at least once a day. A special type of toothbrush or mouthrinse may also be recommended.