A dental implant is part of an artificial tooth, and it is used to replace a missing tooth. It is a titanium screw, which acts like the roots of a tooth. Titanium can fuse with bone, so the implant eventually becomes part of the jawbone. The implant is topped with an artificial crown that looks just like the crown of a real tooth.
Dental implants have been used since the 1970s, and there are now over 40 types. There are single-tooth implants and multi-teeth implants, and the latter often has accompanying bridge work. Some implants are designed to work with dentures. Dental implants, in general, have a high success rate of over 95%. Dental implants do not decay, and they can last the patient’s lifetime.
What does the procedure involve?
Dental implant surgery is an outpatient procedure. The provider will install the implant and may wait some time for it to fuse with the patient’s jawbone. He will then top the implant with an artificial crown.
An implant procedure can have one or two stages. In the two-stage procedure, the implant is covered with gum tissue and left to fuse with the jawbone.
Later, the dentist uncovers the implant and attaches an abutment or connector to the implant and lets the gum tissue heal around it. During the second stage, he attaches a crown to the abutment. In the one-stage procedure, the dentist leaves the top of the implant protruding slightly through the gum tissue.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Dental implants permanently replace lost teeth, and they last the patient’s lifetime. Bridges, by contrast, last five to ten years. They are also supported by healthy teeth, which have to be modified to accommodate them. By contrast, dental implants can be installed without affecting or altering healthy teeth.
A dental implant functions like a natural tooth. Unlike dentures, which move around while the patient is talking or eating, implants remain in place and don’t have to be repositioned. Eating with dental implants is as comfortable and easy as eating with natural teeth.
Missing teeth can impair the health of the jawbone. If it isn’t holding teeth, a jawbone can eventually deteriorate. A dental implant keeps the jawbone from losing bone, and it can even stimulate bone growth. Similarly, dental implants help the patient’s face retain its proper, natural shape. If someone loses teeth, their face can sag and look sunken.
Taking care of dental implants
Dental implants need and should get the same sort of care as natural teeth. They need to be brushed, flossed and regularly examined by a dentist. While the implants themselves don’t decay, the gums around them can still get diseased if neglected. Implants are also vulnerable to wear and tear, so it’s important to have a dentist regularly check them.
Contact the office of Dr. Samuel F. Jirik, DDS today to schedule a consultation.