The Dental Implant Procedure
Dental implants are synthetic structures usually made of titanium that are placed in the area where the tooth root used to be. Implants are anchored to the jawbone and serve as a foundation for an artificial tooth, which fills the hole in a person’s smile. Here is how the procedure works:
- Examination: Every patient with missing teeth or dentures who is interested in dental implants must undergo an examination to determine if they are a good candidate for the procedure. It is necessary to have strong and sufficient bone density and healthy gums before an implant can be put in place.
- Placement: The patient undergoes oral surgery to place the dental implant in the jawbone. This procedure can be done under sedation for the more anxious patients or for those who are having multiple implants placed at once.
- Healing: It will take time for the implant to fuse to the jawbone – several weeks to a few months – and it is important to be patient about this healing time as the success of this process directly impacts the strength of the implants.
- Prosthesis: Once the surgical area is healed, a prosthetic tooth or teeth will be permanently attached to the dental implant. This prosthesis can take the form of a dental crown, dental bridge, or a permanent denture.
The beauty of dental implants is that they look, feel, and function just like natural teeth for a beautiful dental restoration.
Types of Dental Implants
There are various types of dental implants available and, depending on what teeth you are missing and what teeth you want to replace with implants, you could be eligible for the following:
- Full upper replacements: The entire arch of upper teeth is replaced with four to six implants and, once healing is complete, a full denture or several bridges are used to complete the smile.
- Anterior replacement: The front teeth – the incisors and cuspids – are replaced with dental implants for a full restoration.
- Full lower replacement: The entire lower arch of teeth is replaced with four to six dental implants which anchor the denture in place.
- Posterior replacement: Dental implants are used to replace the back teeth – the bicuspids and molars. It may seem like replacing these teeth isn’t necessary because they aren’t always visible, but their position in your mouth is integral to maintaining face shape and youthfulness.
- Single tooth replacement: A tooth extraction, missing tooth, or severely damaged tooth can be restored permanently with a single tooth replacement and one customized dental implant.
Dental Implants vs. Dentures
Many people with missing teeth avoid the dentist because they don’t want to be told they need to wear dentures. While this reluctance is understandable, avoiding important dental care isn’t good for anyone’s oral health. Today’s modern dentures are very manageable, and they are sophisticated enough to be blended with the dental implant solution.
Dental implants eliminate all the problems that come with dentures and keep only the good elements of this dental restoration. No adhesives, no palette covering, and no other annoyances. Just secure, strong teeth that stay in place and give you a beautiful, fully functional smile.
Are You a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
The only way to know for sure if you’re a good candidate for dental implants is to schedule a consultation with the team at Bethesda Family Dental in Bethesda, MD. No matter what you have going on with your oral health, trust that there is a solution to restore a flattering smile. Contact us today.