Dental Implants

While we do everything we can to prevent oral health problems and preserve our patients' natural teeth, tooth loss can still occur for a variety of reasons, and living with missing teeth can take a toll on your quality of life. Thankfully, modern dentistry offers several restorative treatment solutions that can help you restore your smile's form and function. Dental implants are among the most popular options for replacing missing teeth.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are a type of dental prosthetic restorative treatment option for replacing missing teeth. A dental implant consists of an anchor (implanted in the jawbone to mimic a natural tooth's root system), an abutment (attached to the anchor and fixed to a dental restoration), and a dental restoration (a dental crown, dental bridge, or denture). 

The Advantages of Choosing Dental Implants to Restore Your Smile

Dental implants offer several benefits over other tooth-replacement options. Of all the solutions available, dental implants look, feel, and work the most like natural teeth because they are anchored directly in a patient's jawbone. Additionally, dental implants are designed to last a patient for their lifetime, so with proper care, you'll feel just like you still have a complete set of natural teeth. 

Dental implants also deliver direct stimulation to the jawbone which prevents the bone from deteriorating over time. With other tooth-replacement treatments that are not fixed in the jawbone, the bone will actually begin to deteriorate. This deterioration can harm the health of neighboring, natural teeth and also affect a person's appearance. Dental implants, however, keep the jawbone healthy and strong. 

How Can Dental Implants Be Used? Dental Implant Treatment Options

Dental implants are a versatile restorative treatment option and offer several treatment applications for replacing missing teeth. 

One-for-One Tooth Replacement

Dental implants can be used to replace teeth on a one-for-one basis. This makes them a good option for patients who are missing a single tooth or multiple teeth that are not close together inside the mouth. 

Anchored Dental Bridge

Dental implants can also be used to anchor a dental bridge. With this treatment option, the dental implants replace the normal dental crown or wire-based bridge attachment, and the implants support the pontic portion of the bridge. With this option, patients can restore a portion of their smile when the teeth that have been lost are all in a row (either in the middle of an arch of teeth or at the end of an arch). Using an implant-anchored dental bridge, we can use one or two implants to replace any number of consecutive missing teeth. 

Implant-Supported Dentures

For patients who are missing all or most of their teeth (or all or most of an arch of teeth), the best treatment option is often tooth replacement with dentures. Implant-supported dentures can replace both complete arches of missing teeth to completely restore a smile. 

Implant-supported dentures come in two forms: all-on-4, 6, or 8 dental implants and snap-on dentures. The first option permanently attaches a denture to four or more strategically placed dental implants. With snap-on dentures, the denture is still attached to strategically placed dental implants but is designed to be easily removed by a dentist for maintenance if necessary. 

This treatment option is an excellent alternative to traditional (removable) dentures for any patient who prefers a more secure fit and less daily maintenance while wanting to keep their jawbone strong. 

The Process of Getting Dental Implants

The process of getting dental implants can take anywhere from six months to a year for most patients, depending on each individual's specific needs. The length of treatment depends on: 

  • Whether or not the patient first requires a bone grafting procedure to shore up the jawbone prior to implant placement
  • The number of implants being placed and whether or not they can be placed during the same procedure
  • Individual healing times

The process begins with a bone grafting procedure, if necessary, followed by a healing and bone generation period. The implant placement can then be performed. Placement is followed by a period of healing and osseointegration. An abutment can then be attached to the dental implant followed by the placement of a dental restoration (dental crown, dental bridge, or denture). 

Find Out If Dental Implants Are Right for You

If you're missing one or more teeth and hoping to restore your smile to its natural form, function, and beauty, we encourage you to schedule a smile restoration appointment with our dentist. We can talk with you about your goals and treatment preferences and help you determine the best course of treatment to help you restore your smile.

Learn More About Dental Implants

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