What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are placed in areas of missing teeth. The dental implant provides a secure structure to support a porcelain crown or bridge. The result is a natural looking option to complete your smile and improve your function.
Benefits of Dental Implants
With dental implants, patients can eat what they want, when they want and never have to worry about embarrassing mishaps or the pain of ill-fitting dentures. Unlike a denture, the dental implant does not affect the taste of food. Dental implants are fused to the jaw bone which prevents further bone loss and provides a secure, reliable fit. Dental implants function more like a natural tooth and are able to withstand forces that other treatment options may not. Dental implants do not affect the surrounding teeth so are a wonderful alternative when the missing space is between healthy, untouched teeth.
Who is a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Good overall health is an important factor in the successful placement of dental implants. As well, adequate bone structure in the jaw and good dental health are essential. Your dentist will do a thorough evaluation to determine if dental implants are a good option for you.
Dental Implant Procedure
The first step in placing an implant is to place the supporting posts in the jaw below the gum line. Then the implant is given the opportunity to heal over a period of months. This ensures that the posts are secure and able to provide long term stability. The next step is an impression of your mouth to ensure proper alignment of the new crown. Lastly, the crown is secured to the post at the gum line to provide a natural look.
A sinus lift is a procedure intended to increase the amount of bone in the upper jaw. A sinus lift may be recommended for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is to increase the bone in the site of a missing tooth to allow for a dental implant to be placed. If a tooth has been missing for a long time, the floor of the sinus naturally drops. The sinus lift gently raises the floor of the sinus to allow for the accurate placement of the dental implant and the protection of the sinus.
A bone graft is a procedure intended to replace missing bone. It is typically used in areas where bone has been fractured due to trauma, reduced due to disease, or disappeared at the site of a past dental extraction. The bone graft acts as a replacement for the missing bone and also stimulates the natural bone to re-grow. A bone graft may be necessary prior to placing a dental implant.