As mentioned above, there are other ways to replace missing teeth such as a bridge or denture. What makes dental implants superior to these choices? A dental implant replaces the entire missing tooth from root to crown. In this way, an implant is the most lifelike tooth replacement so you can once again smile, speak and eat with total confidence that your prosthetic will remain firmly in place.
In addition, the implant that is surgically positioned in your jawbone helps to ensure the stability of your facial structure. When you are missing a tooth, there is no root to stimulate new bone tissue growth. Consequently, your jaw can begin to shrink, making you look drawn and more aged. This can even happen with a prosthetic that merely rests on top of your gums.
The process begins with a complete examination of your teeth and gums. Dr. Carter needs to make certain that your mouth is healthy and that you have sufficient bone density to support dental implants. If not, then a bone graft procedure may be necessary.
The implant portion of your new tooth is a small screw or post made of titanium. This is surgically embedded in your jawbone underneath the open socket of a missing tooth. In the case of greater tooth loss, more than one implant is positioned in the jaw. Dental implants can be used to support a single porcelain crown, a fixed bridge, a removable denture or fixed dentures. Each implant is positioned to take the most advantage of your jaw’s bone density.
As you heal from this minor surgery, which can take anywhere from three to six months depending on how many implants were placed, the post and surrounding bone tissue fuse together. This process is called osseointegration. As this happens, the bone anchors the implant that will hold your eventual tooth restoration in place.
Once the healing process is completed, Dr. Carter will be able to attach a crown, bridge or dentures to complete your smile.
You’ll care for your dental implants just as you do your natural teeth. Brush and floss daily, because plaque and bacteria can cling to your prosthetic, too. If this happens, then you may be at risk for a bacterial infection known as peri-implantitis. Be sure to clean well around the gum line where plaque tends to accumulate.
Although dental implants do cost more than other prosthetics, they are designed to last a lifetime with proper care. If you take care of your dental implants, then your smile will take care of you.
Contact Dr. Carter’s office today if you would like to schedule a consultation.