Dental implants offer people an alternative to the traditional ways of replacing missing teeth. The actual implant is an artificial root (anchor) made from synthetic material, usually titanium metal. There are three phases to the implant process.
During the first surgery, the dental implant is surgically placed into the jawbone. It takes 3-6 months to fuse with the bone (called osseointegration).
When the gum is completely healed and the bone is fused with the implant, an abutment (post) is attached to the implant and protrudes above the gum tissue.
Finally, a replacement restoration is cemented or screwed to the implant abutment. Depending on the situation, dental implants can support a fixed crown or bridge or act as a stabilizing base for a full denture. The procedure can take up to 9-12 months for completion and has a high degree of success.
Some individuals have had so much bone resorption (loss) that the remaining bony ridge is too thin to hold an implant. In many cases, synthetic or natural bone can be grafted (added) or grown to allow for dental implants as an alternative treatment.
Implants have a great advantage for people already wearing full dentures since they can support and stabilize the denture while minimizing further bone loss of the denture ridge.
Not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. There are certain risk factors that may limit success including smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, chronic bruxism (grinding of the teeth), systemic problems such as diabetes and individuals with poor oral hygiene.
Dental implants offer a "second chance" to those who have lost all of their teeth. For people missing only one or several teeth, dental implants provide benefits as an alternative way to restore the mouth. To determine if implants are for you, a clinical examination, x-rays, study casts and other appropriate records and measurements will be necessary. Contact us if you have questions or would like to schedule an implant exam.