Dental implants are made up of three elements:
- The dental implant. The dental implant is a titanium root replacement that is placed in the position of your natural tooth root. The surrounding bone heals around the artificial root over the course of several weeks. Once healed, the implant root can be used to hold the remaining part of the tooth in place.
- The abutment. This piece secures the implant and crown together.
- The crown. The crown offers the appearance of a natural tooth. It is custom created to fit into your smile.
- If you have lost teeth due to an injury, tooth decay, periodontal disease, or some other reason, dental implants are a reliable way to replace your teeth.
What does the dental implant placement entail?
Typically, dental implant placement involves two steps: the placement of the dental implant and the placement of the replacement tooth (prosthesis). The overall length of treatment can vary based on each patient’s individual needs. Some patients require a bone graft procedure to create or restore the correct height and width of their jaw bone in the area where the dental implant will be placed. Sometimes this needs to be completed before placement of a dental implant. In these cases, the duration of your treatment may be extended.
Immediate Implant Placement
When dental implants were first introduced, surgeons allowed for healing after tooth extraction before placing dental implants. Many providers still hold to this approach, but our doctors at Boynton Oral Surgery can often place a dental implant during the same visit that the tooth is removed. By combining these procedures, immediate implant placement spares you the time, inconvenience, and discomfort of a second procedure. Perhaps more importantly, it allows you to have your replacement tooth sooner. Of course, there are situations where it is better to allow for healing following tooth removal before dental implant placement. During your consultation, we will discuss your individual situation to decide whether a dental implant can be placed at the time of tooth removal.
Immediate Temporization/Provisionalization of Implants
Most of our patients are concerned about the way their smile will look when a tooth is missing. There is always a waiting period between implant placement and having a final replacement tooth, but you don’t need to worry about appearing like you are missing a tooth. There are multiple options to fill the missing space as your implant heals. In many cases, we can even connect a provisional (temporary) tooth to your dental implant at the time the implant is placed. This can be particularly beneficial when replacing front teeth with dental implants. An immediate provisional tooth helps to preserve the natural shape and appearance of your gums, which often leads to a more aesthetic final result.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
A long-term solution for tooth replacement
Most traditional methods, such as tooth-supported dental bridges, offer patients a solution for missing teeth for as little as 5–10 years. But a dental implant can last a lifetime! If properly placed and cared for, patients will not need to worry about the durability of their dental implants.
Most similar to healthy, natural teeth
A dental implant fits into your mouth so well that many patients forget that they even have a dental implant. Dental implants are stable and secure, allowing you to function and smile with ease. With dental implants, you will not need to worry about temporary or removable dentures or tooth-supported replacements that may fall out or loosen during your everyday activities.
Easier speaking, eating, and maintenance
Dental implants enable you to bite into and properly chew your favorite foods without worry. Dental implants improve a patient’s ability to speak clearly and help to maintain the health of surrounding teeth. Dental implants usually don’t require any specific or special care; you just need to brush, floss, and have routine professional dental care for them just like the rest of your teeth.
Retain natural facial aesthetics
Because dental implants help to maintain the natural bone that your body has built to hold teeth in place, patients can avoid the common shrunken or sagging appearance that happens when teeth are missing. Dental implant patients can smile confidently and feel like they never lost a tooth to begin with.
Protects healthy teeth and bone
Dental implants keep neighboring teeth from shifting or moving in the mouth. This commonly occurs when a tooth is lost without being replaced. This shifting worsens the longer a tooth has been missing. Unlike full dentures or partial dentures, dental implants stay in your mouth. And unlike bridges, dental implants do not require the support of surrounding healthy teeth to carry the burden of the missing tooth. There is no alteration of neighboring teeth to cement a bridge. In addition to all of those benefits, dental implants prevent the loss of bone where a tooth has been removed.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
Most people are candidates for dental implants. Your oral surgeon will review any medical conditions you may have and evaluate the health of your teeth and gums to help you decide if dental implants are right for you. If you are interested in learning more about the procedure and finding out if you would benefit from dental implants, we encourage you to contact us to schedule an initial consultation.