Dental Implants

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots embedded into the jaw, taking the place of one or more missing teeth. They are used to permanently anchor a prosthetic tooth, such as a crown, bridge or denture. Though they are not for everyone, most people who get dental implants experience a successful outcome that often lasts several decades. Dental implants are always personalized to the functional and cosmetic needs of a patient. They are sized, shaped and color-matched for aesthetics. Implants are often chosen by patients seeking the most natural looking and feeling of tooth replacement options, primarily because dental implants are fixed and designed to match the surrounding teeth. If you have one or more missing teeth or will soon be having a tooth extracted, you may be thinking about tooth replacement options. Most patients have a choice in this decision, usually comparing the benefits of implants versus other solutions, like dentures and bridges. Though not everyone will be a good candidate for dental implants, those who are will experience a more secure and long-lasting solution when choosing implants.

Abutments

Implant supported bridges are a blend between single tooth implants and bridges. Implants are individual teeth surgically placed within the jaw. A bridge is comprised of crowns that are fused together and anchored in place – usually by surrounding abutment teeth. An implant specialist may recommend an implant supported bridge in lieu of individual implant crowns if there are multiple teeth missing in succession and there is concern that tooth grinding or clenching could put too much pressure on individual teeth. When an implant supported bridge is used, individual implants are still used to replace each individual tooth; but the crowns are fused together for equitable distribution of bite pressure.

While most implant supported bridges are anchored in place by dedicated implants, some are instead anchored by individual implant supported crowns that serve as abutment teeth. In other words, individual teeth are replaced with implants and crowned, and those new prosthetic teeth are used as abutments for a traditional bridge. This type of implant supported bridge is often used when there is only a fractional areas of the gum line.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may qualify for dental implants if you have missing, broken or severely decayed teeth and are in relatively good overall health. The only way of determining your eligibility for implants is to consult with an oral care provider to identify whether you have adequate bone support and healthy gums that will support the new tooth structure.
The placement of dental implants is a multi-step process that typically takes between 6 and 9 months to complete. It begins with a surgical procedure during which a titanium rod is placed where a previous natural tooth root once was. The gums are sutured shut over the implant, where is will stay for several months while it heals and begins fusing with the surrounding bone. Due to the nature of implant placement and its average procedure time of between 1 and 2 hours, you’ll be sedated and/or anesthetized for the duration of the treatment. At the conclusion of the healing period, you’ll return to be fitted for permanent crowns and have them placed.
It is normal to experience some discomfort, including bruising and swelling following a dental implant procedure. However, inflammation and pain may be managed with over-the-counter medications, hydrocodone, or codeine. You may be asked to eat only soft foods for approximately 2 weeks until the surgical site heals.
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