Everybody loves a big and beautiful smile. Unfortunately, as we age, our teeth decay and can be damaged by accidents and other forms of trauma. When a tooth is damaged or decayed, it can be repaired with a filling or a crown, if enough of the tooth remains above the gum line. If, however, the tooth cannot be repaired, it will need to be extracted. Teeth can also be lost because of root canal failure, gum disease, and excessive wear and tear. Dental implants act as artificial tooth roots which are used to support a tooth restoration. With the help of an endosseous implant, these implants can look just like your regular teeth.
Anybody who is healthy enough to have a tooth extracted should be a good candidate for a dental implant. The implant offers a fixed permanent solution to tooth replacement, rather than a denture, a partial, or a bridge. Children, whose bones are still developing, are not good candidates until their late teens.
The most commonly used type of dental implant is the endosseous implant, which is a dental implant that is placed or contained in the bone of the jaw. The endosseous implant, sometimes called an endosteal implant, is commonly made of titanium or a titanium alloy. Titanium is highly biocompatible, meaning that it bonds well with living cells and tissues, and poses little risk of toxicity or rejection by the body. The dental implant commonly uses a titanium screw which is anchored into the jaw. This is the first step of a two-step process.
A CT scan is usually used to locate the exact site where the implant will be placed, to avoid possible nerve or jaw damage. After the implant is placed, it can take anywhere from three to six months for the bone to grow around and bond with the implant. This process is called osseointegration.
After the implant and the jaw bone have grown together, the second part of the process can begin. This is where the upper section of the implant acts as an abutment (a connector between the two parts) to which a crown or replacement tooth will be attached. A temporary crown is commonly put in place and acts as a template for the gums to grow and shape around. Lastly, a permanent crown is put in place of the temporary crown.
Diligent oral hygiene habits need to be maintained after placement of the implant has been completed. Brushing and flossing are important to ensure proper fusing of the bone structure. At the office of Dr. Samuel F. Jirik, a certified cosmetic dentist, our staff is ready to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.