Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth. They can provide for a fixed prosthesis, such as single crowns, bridges and fixed dentures. They are also used to provide more support and retention for removable dentures, such as partials and complete dentures. Dental implants provide excellent support for dental appliances and although there are a number of options for the treatment of missing teeth, none have proven to be as effective and durable as implants.
Dental implants are imitation roots that are placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by an oral surgeon or periodontist. The teeth, which are attached to implants, enhance or restore a patient's smile and are very natural looking.
The restorations attached to dental implants are extremely sturdy, secure, resilient and should last many years, but sometimes will need to be re-tightened or replaced due to regular wear and tear.
Dental implants are used for:
- Replacing one or more absent teeth without affecting neighboring teeth
- Resolving bite problems or joint pain
- Restoring a perfect smile
- Restoring chewing, dialogue and digestion
- Restoring or enhancing facial tissues
- Supporting a bridge or denture
Dental implants require a number of visits over several months. Preliminary work is done to plan where the dental implants will be placed. Once this diagnostic workup is completed, the implant will be placed by an oral surgeon and allowed to heal for four to six months. After this healing period, dental prostheses can be attached to the implants, whether it be a single tooth or an entire denture. This step may take one to two months to complete because several fittings may be required.
Oral hygiene is still important with dental implants. One of the benefits of implants (as opposed to a bridge) is the ability to floss easily alongside the implant and its neighboring teeth.