Dental implants are a permanent and comfortable replacement for one or more missing teeth that are often used in place of a fixed bridge. Traditionally, several missing teeth would be replaced with a partial or full denture. Dentures may cause discomfort, and do not stimulate the jaw bone as regular teeth do. Without stimulation, the jawbone degrades, causing a caved-in appearance that is often associated with age.
Dental implants replace the function and appearance of your natural teeth in a more complete manner. Titanium posts are surgically installed in the jaw bone, taking the place of the roots of your lost teeth. These posts stimulate the jawbone and strongly secure your teeth in the same way your natural tooth roots would. The surfaces of the posts are provided with one or more treatments, prior to placement in the jaw, that helps them to integrate into the bone.
A crown is fitted onto the top of the titanium post that looks and feels like a natural tooth. Crowns are made in dental laboratories by trained technicians, and are custom-designed to fit the natural shape and color of your teeth. You are better able to regain your appearance this way, than with full dentures that are at times overly white or artificial-seeming.
Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements that were first developed half a century ago by a Swedish scientist named Per-Ingvar Branemark. Implants arose from the patient’s need to secure loose-fitting dentures. Since the advent of the implant, engineering and enhancements to the implant have enabled dentists to expand the implant’s usefulness, including the replacement of missing or lost teeth. Today, implant techniques provide a wide range of tooth replacement solutions including:
- Single Tooth Replacement
- Anterior Replacement
- Posterior Replacement
- Full Upper Replacement
- Full Lower Replacement
The Root Form Implant
The root implant, which is by far the most popular, is the most effective because it mirrors the size and shape of a patient’s natural tooth. This implant is often as strong as the patient’s original tooth. The implant or artificial root is placed into the jawbone under local anesthesia, then allowed to heal and integrate with the bone. Once the healing process is completed and the jawbone is attached to the implant, the patient returns to our office where the implant is fitted with the new tooth. This process generally takes anywhere from four to eight months.