Dental implants are the modern way to replace missing teeth! Implants are titanium screws that are placed directly into your jawbone, serving as your tooth “root”, and function as your own natural teeth would. Because implants are permanently placed, there is no longer the worry that your new teeth will come out while speaking or eating.
Implants themselves are made up of several different parts. The first part is the titanium post that is inserted into the bone by your oral surgeon. Your dentist will then attach a new tooth (called a “crown”) to this post by using a connector called an “abutment”. The end result is a new tooth that looks and feels completely natural and allows you to eat whatever you want!
Placement of dental implants is done in our office and is a relatively non-invasive procedure with most patients reporting very minimal postoperative discomfort.. Prior to implant surgery we take a 3-dimensional scan of your jaws, called a cone beam CT scan, so that we know exactly how much bone you have for implant placement. If you have lost bone and do not have enough bone remaining for implants we will discuss grafting procedures with you.
Some patients wish to have sedation so that they may sleep through the surgery, and we are happy to discuss that option with you. Once the area is numb the implant is gently placed in the appropriate position Sometimes the implant will be completely buried under the gum for healing postoperatively and sometimes there will be a little metal cap that is visible within the mouth.
After the surgical placement of the implant post, there is a period of time (usually 6 weeks to 4 months) for the site to properly heal. During this time period your own bone cells grow around and into the titanium post – a process called osseointegration (essentially fusing the implant with your own jaws). Once the implant has osseointegrated it is stable and ready to have the new tooth crown placed onto it. We will see you in our office and, if the implant was completely buried, preform a very quick procedure to uncover the implant. Then it is ready for the crown. Your dentist will take an impression of the implant and send that to the dental lab which then fabricates your new tooth. The crown is then inserted onto the implant and your new tooth is complete and ready to be shown off to the world (and taken out to a steakhouse!).
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
If you are considering having dental implants please contact us. Dr. Martin or Dr. Appelblatt will preform a thorough exam, take radiographs, and discuss your medical history with you, gathering all the information we need to assess whether you are a candidate for dental implants. If you have significant bone loss and are not currently ready for implant placement we can discuss procedures such as bone grafting which will help to improve the area for implant placement.
Do Implants Need Special Care?
Once the implant is placed it is essentially the same as your regular teeth – except that it will not get cavities. Just as the rest of your teeth, it will need regular oral care, such as brushing and flossing as well as routine cleaning appointments with your dentist. But with proper care and hygiene, your dental implant should provide a lifetime of full smiles.