What Are Dental Implants?
What are dental implants? Dental implants are artificial tooth roots. They’re typically made out of titanium, but also sometimes ceramics. If a tooth is extracted for whatever reason, the root of that tooth leaves behind a void in the jaw. The dental implant fills this void, and can then be fitted with a restoration. Dental implants can be used to restore a single missing tooth, or can be used to support a bridge to restore multiple teeth. Several implants used in careful coordination can even be used to support a full arch denture, providing unparalleled stability and function for a full-mouth rehabilitation.
Why Get Dental Implants?
Implants offer several advantages over dentures, bridges or removable partial dentures.
• Look and feel more natural
• If well cared for can last a lifetime
• Easier to maintain - just brush and floss like regular teeth
• Do not damage surrounding teeth
• Can improve health by broadening the diet
• Prevent further bone loss and even strengthen the jawbone
What's the Process for Dental Implants?
A dental implant is composed of 3 parts, the Implant, Abutment, and Crown. The first thing that needs to happen for a dental implant procedure is for the tooth to be extracted. This might be done as part of the procedure, or sometimes the tooth has been missing for a while already.
The implant itself is a small titanium post that is placed into bone in area(s) of missing teeth. Once the teeth implant is placed in the bone it needs to heal. During healing, bone surrounds and attaches to the titanium post recreating a stable structure where a crown will be attached.
The abutment is the transition between the implant and the crown. Most abutments are screwed into the implant and provide a surface for the final crown to be cemented on to.
Finally, the crown (cap) is the tooth portion of the implant system that will be visible in the mouth. Once healing is complete, the next step is to place the “abutment” and take an impression. This allows a laboratory to recreate the missing tooth. After the laboratory is finished the patient returns to have the crown permanently cemented in place. Once cemented the dental implant can be treated like a natural tooth. Daily brushing can begin at this point and regular treatment (dental cleanings & evaluations) can be scheduled as needed.