Making it through life with all of one’s teeth intact is less common than you might think. People can lose teeth for several reasons including injury, disease, decay, and age, and missing one or more teeth can result in several concerns including a changing appearance and difficulting speaking and eating as usual.
Thankfully, modern dentistry offers patients several options for replacing missing teeth to restore the form and function of their smiles. Among these options, dental implants are quickly becoming one of the most popular choices due to their versatility and the several benefits they offer as a tooth replacement treatment option.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a surgical treatment that replaces one or more missing teeth. Though dental implants have a lengthy healing process and involve intensive work from an oral surgeon, they still offer some of the most secure, permanent, and stable solutions to improve your smile and your overall oral health. Many patients even forget that their dental implants are not their natural teeth — they are easy and natural to incorporate into your smile.
Each dental implant consists of three parts:
- The implant anchor, made of biocompatible metal, mimics a tooth’s natural root system. The anchor is implanted directly into a patient’s jawbone where it osseointegrates with the bone during the healing process and holds the replacement tooth in place.
- An implant abutment (also made of biocompatible metal) connects to the anchor and provides a secure surface for the third part of the dental implant to attach.
- The dental crown is made of porcelain and dyed to match the patient’s surrounding teeth. Permanently fixed with dental cement, the crown caps the dental implant’s abutment, providing the only visible portion of the tooth replacement.
What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Though dental implants have a lengthy healing process and involve intensive work from an oral surgeon, they still offer some of the most secure, permanent, and stable solutions to improve your smile and your overall oral health. Many patients even report forgetting that their dental implants are not their natural teeth — they are that easy and natural to incorporate into your smile.
In addition to feeling and functioning just like natural teeth, dental implants also provide similar stimulation to the jawbone as natural teeth. When you bite down on a natural tooth, its root delivers pressure to the jawbone which triggers the generation of new bone matter and keeps the jawbone strong. When a tooth is missing or replaced by any other means than a dental implant, the jawbone does not receive this stimulation. As a result, it deteriorates over time. This deterioration not only changes the appearance of a person’s bone structure but can also result in the loss of even more natural teeth.
Dental implants are also a highly versatile tooth replacement option. They can be used to replace individual teeth on a one-for-one basis. However, they can also be used to support dental prosthetics such as dental bridges and dentures in order to support the replacement of several or all of a patient’s teeth without the need to place an implant for every missing tooth.
In What Cases are Dental Implants Used?
Dental implants are considered effective treatments to replace missing teeth. Replacing lost teeth is essential to dental care, as gaps in your smile can negatively impact your quality of life.
Dental implants may be used as treatment plans in the following cases:
· Periodontal disease: Gum disease can cause tooth loss if neglected. Once we get your periodontitis in check through periodontal therapy, we may suggest using dental implants to replace your missing teeth.
· Partial dentures: If you need partial dentures to replace multiple teeth, dental implant-supported dentures are among the most secure options. The implants will anchor the dentures, meaning they will stay secure when you eat, speak, and live your everyday life.
· Dental bridge: Dental implant-supported bridges offer secure anchors to bridge the gaps in your smile.
· Accidents: Losing a tooth because of an accident, fall, or sports injury can be traumatic. However, dental implants are secure and look and function like your old tooth.
What is the Process of Getting a Dental Implant Like?
An implant-trained dentist completes dental implant treatment at our Sunbury practice.
During the initial surgery, we will place an anchor into your jawbone. We will give it time to heal, during which it will fuse naturally to the bone, just as a tooth root would do. It may be several months before the next step of the process. Once the anchor is ready, we will add the tooth replacement as a crown. You will care for it like your natural teeth, brushing and flossing regularly.
How Long do Dental Implants Last?
With good oral hygiene and maintaining oral health, dental implants are designed to last a lifetime once they have been placed.
The crowns that top a dental implant can last just as long, but they are more prone to damage or coming loose over the years or with excessive wear and tear. In these cases, we can restore the crown with repairs or new dental cement or replace the damaged crown with a new one with a simple and painless procedure that requires no anesthetics or surgical procedures.
Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
If you are in good overall health, you will likely be a good candidate for dental implants. First, we will check your medical history and discuss your needs and goals before deciding on a treatment plan. Then, we will give you an initial exam, including an X-ray, so that we can gauge your bone structure and whether it will support the metal post of the implant. After we ensure you have healthy gums and overall positive health, we will decide with you whether dental implants are a viable treatment.
Wondering whether you would make a good candidate for dental implants? We’d love to talk to you about it!
Dental Implant Consultations at Anthony Dental Care
If you’re wondering whether you would make a good candidate for dental implants, we’d love to talk to you about it! During a consultation, we can talk with you about your treatment goals and expectations while working with you to determine the best tooth replacement treatment option for you. We welcome you to call the Anthony Dental Care team to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.