If you are missing teeth, you may want to consider dental implants. Dental implants are basically replacement teeth. They consist of a base (screw), connector (abutment) and tooth (crown). They are fixed into the jawbone to provide a permanent solution for tooth loss.
The screw serves as an artificial root. It is screwed into the jawbone. The screw and the jawbone fuse together as the jaw heals. This creates a sturdy base for the implant. Once the jaw heals, the tooth is then placed in the mouth. It is placed on top of a connector, which goes on top of the screw post. The implant is then color matched to look like your other teeth.
Planning for Dental Implants
Dental implants come in different sizes and types. To ensure you receive an implant that is custom-made to fit your mouth, your dentist will assess your mouth structure. This is done through 3D digital imaging and special software. Your dentist will use these tools to determine the right type of implants and find the best sites for implant placement before the surgery. These tools make implant procedures faster and highly predictable. This saves time and money while allowing you to heal more quickly.
Types of Dental Implants
There are two main types of dental implants:
- Endosteal implants. These implants are the most common. They are implanted directly into the jawbone through a surgical procedure. A second surgery is required once the gum tissue has healed. This procedure connects the post to the original implant. A crown is then attached to the post. If there are multiple teeth involved, they may be placed on a bridge or denture.
- Subperiosteal implants. These implants consist of a metal frame that is fitted onto the jawbone. The frame becomes fixed to the jawbone as the gums heal. The post is attached to the frame and protrudes through the gums. The crown is then mounted to the post, much like an endosteal implant.
Rebuilding Jawbone to Support a Dental Implant
In some cases, the jawbone is too weak to support a dental implant on its own. If this is the case for you, dental implants are still an option. There are several ways to rebuild bone so you have a sturdy base for your implants. Some options include:
- Sinus lift. If bone below the sinuses has deteriorated because you are missing upper back teeth, this procedure will add bone in that area.
- Ridge expansion. Bone graft material can be added to a space along the top of your jaw if it isn’t wide enough to support dental implants.
- Bone augmentation. This procedure involves regenerating bone in the jaw to create support for implants. The best results come from bone additives and growth factors.
Whether you are missing one tooth, several teeth, a whole row of teeth or an entire mouth of teeth, dental implants are an effective and permanent solution. Implants are also versatile, as they can be used with bridges and dentures to provide added support. No matter how you decide to use dental implants, you will be pleased with the results. They boast a 98% effective rate and a satisfaction rate of more than 93%. More than 3 million Americans have dental implants, and that number is growing by 500,000 every year.
Chestnut Hill Dental Associates is fully equipped with the latest dental technology. In addition, our team is knowledgeable and experienced in dental implant dentistry.
Replacing missing teeth requires an exam and consultation as each smile is unique. Therefore, our office creates custom dental treatment plans for each patient.