Dental Implant Procedure
What are Dental Implants?
Tooth replacements have gone through a number of upgrades over the years. Wood, ivory and even animal teeth are all materials that people used to make dentures in the past. Fortunately, we have better technology that makes tooth replacements more comfortable and effective today.
Dental implants combine science with an emphasis on aesthetics to make replacement teeth look natural. They also have benefits that preserve your facial structure and prevent future tooth loss.
How Long Have Dental Implants Been Around?
You may be surprised to learn that dental implants have been around for decades. The first ones were used in 1965 by a physician named Dr. Branemark to restore a volunteer’s smile. These first implants lasted 40 years and were still functional when the volunteer passed away.
It took some time for implants to be fully accepted in the field of dentistry. Scientists carried out studies that revealed that they are a safe and effective option for replacing teeth. Now, millions of people throughout the world have beautiful sets of implanted teeth.
Materials Used for Implants
There are two main parts to an implant. The main part of the implant is the post. This part goes into your jaw where it fuses with the bone. Posts are usually made from titanium. This material is known for its durability and hypoallergenic qualities. Zirconia, which is metal-free, can also be used to make implant posts, in the rare instances the patient is allergic to titanium.
The top part of the implant is called the crown. This is the part that looks like your natural teeth. Similar to a regular dental crown, these can be made from a variety of materials. Porcelain, ceramic and metal crowns are all potential options. Porcelain can also be fused to metal for a stronger implant crown.
Your dentist will talk to you about your different options for materials. We’ll make suggestions based upon your oral health, lifestyle habits and the location of the implant.
Different Types of Implants
With implants, you have the choice of replacing a single tooth or a full arch. You can replace several teeth with a bridge implant. This consists of two implants that support a crown on top of each one and hold a false tooth in the middle. With a full arch, you can choose to implant only 4 posts, although 6 or more provide more stability. The posts hold ta denture in place so that it doesn’t slip out when you eat and talk.
Most single tooth replacements are fixed implants, which means that you don’t remove them for cleaning. Instead, you’ll brush and floss like normal. Full arch implants can be fixed, but also come in removable styles, sometimes called snap-on dentures, that allow you to remove the dentures for cleaning. Then you just snap them back into place on the posts.
Immediate load implants are a newer type. You’ll sometimes hear these called same-day implants because they only require one procedure. These are usually only offered to people with enough natural jaw bone in place to support the implant.
Implanted teeth look quite natural. You will be able to choose the shape and color when you get a full arch.
How the Implant Procedure Works
Most implants are placed in several steps:
First, you’ll have any damaged teeth extracted that you plan to replace.
The posts will then be implanted into your jawbone.
After the healing period of 4-6 months, the final crown will be placed.
Some individuals will need what is called a sinus lift to prevent the implant from invading the sinus cavity. Others may require a bone graft, if they have experienced bone loss from missing teeth, to give the implant a strong base. We can explain how these procedures work if we find you need them.
Dental Implants vs Removable Dentures
Dental implants are one of the most effective ways to replace teeth.
They are more stable than removable dentures.
Implants look and feel more like a natural set of teeth.
Fixed implants allow the wearer to feel the texture of food when eating.
They will always fit - there’s never a need to have them readjusted or relined.
Fixed implants don’t have to be removed at night for cleaning.
The stimulation they provide to the jaw helps to prevent further bone loss.
Let us know if you are interested in dental implants. We can provide you with your options and fill you in on everything to expect when you restore your smile.