People are living longer than ever, and while regular brushing, flossing, and checkups allow many of us to maintain our natural smiles for a lifetime, sometimes our teeth just can’t keep up. If you’ve lost a tooth (or a few teeth) due to injury or disease, dental implants can rejuvenate both your smile and your health.
An implant is a synthetic tooth root in the shape of a post that is placed into the jawbone. The implant is usually made of titanium, the same material used in many replacement hips and knees, and a metal that is well-suited to bonding to human bone. An abutment is placed into the implant and attached. On the abutment can be placed a crown, a bridge or some type of denture. There are many options that can be used depending upon each specific situation.
Implants are the closest replacement available for natural teeth at this time.
SINGLE OR MULTIPLE IMPLANTS
Implants are versatile. If you are only missing one tooth, one implant with an abutment and a crown will replace it nicely. If you are missing several teeth in a row, a few strategically placed implants can support a permanent bridge (a set of replacement teeth). Similarly, if you have lost all of your teeth, implants can support a complete denture that can be removable, or the denture can be permanently fixed in your mouth.
ADVANTAGES OVER DENTURES OR BRIDGES
Conventional partials and dentures are not fixed to the bone, and can therefore be unstable. This can make it difficult to eat or smile with confidence. Implants not only look more natural, but feel and act more like normal teeth, with a stronger biting force. And because they don’t directly rely on neighboring teeth for support, implants don’t compromise the health of your natural teeth.
Implants are very similar to natural teeth. They still require brushing and flossing, and the same amount of regular checkups. Cleaning around an implant is different from a natural tooth, so your hygienist will show you how to maintain your new restoration, and keep the gums and bone around it healthy. Just like your natural teeth, the better you take care of your replacements, the longer they will last.
We work with specialists in our area to provide surgical support for placement of dental implants, and we will provide all the restorative treatment. We will coordinate your care so you will always know what the next step is in your care.
Our implant services include:
- Sinus Lift Augmentation: Often the sinuses will enlarge following loss of the upper back teeth. This can preclude placement of dental implants in the upper back areas of the mouth, since the sinus is an air-filled space and dental implants need to be surrounded by solid bone. A sinus lift augmentation/graft is a surgical procedure that restores the sinus cavity to its original size, and replaces the bone that has been lost as a result of the enlarged sinus. This new bone graft typically takes nine to 12 months to heal before the dental implants can be placed into the grafted bone.
- Autogenous Bone Grafting: Occasionally, the ideal areas for dental implants do not have sufficient bone quantity to support the implants. In these cases, it is often necessary to “borrow” bone from another area of your mouth and graft it into the deficient area. Often, the area of choice is from the chin or in the back of the jaw where your wisdom teeth used to be.
- Implant Site Development: When a tooth needs to be removed due to infection, it is not uncommon to have lost bone around the infected tooth. In these cases, various types of bone grafting can be done at the same time the tooth is removed to facilitate the placement of a dental implant at a later date.
- Computer-Enhanced Treatment Planning: We have special software on our computer that allows us to evaluate your dental CT scan in three dimensions for bone quality, bone quantity, and bone location, enabling the best possible placement of your dental implants. This also allows us to work closely and smoothly with your restorative dentist to ensure an ideal result where your dental implants are concerned.
- Implant Maintenance: Once your dental implant restoration is completed, it is important to keep the area clean and infection-free. Dental implants can accumulate plaque and tartar just as teeth can. Whether you have just one tooth replaced by an implant or several, a professional cleaning schedule will be necessary to keep your implants healthy. The time interval for these professional cleanings will be determined by your individual needs.