What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth, bridge, or denture. Implants are surgically placed into the jaw by a periodontist, and after a period of healing, they become permanent in the mouth.
Who is a candidate for a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, a tooth that never formed, or for other reasons.
What are some possible reasons to get dental implants?
Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space.
Restore a patient’s confident smile.
Restore chewing, speech, and digestion.
Restore or enhance facial tissues.
Support a bridge or denture, making them more secure and comfortable.
What are the advantages of an implant over a bridge or denture?
A dental implant provides several advantages over other tooth replacement options, including:
Maintain the integrity of your remaining teeth. In addition to looking and functioning like a natural tooth, a dental implant replaces a single tooth without sacrificing the health of neighboring teeth. The other common treatment for the loss of a single tooth, a tooth-supported fixed bridge, requires that the adjacent teeth be ground down to support the cemented bridge. When replacing multiple teeth, bridges and partial dentures rely on support from adjacent teeth, while implant-supported bridges do not.
Maintain bone health. Because a dental implant will replace your tooth root, your jawbone is better preserved. Implants integrate with your jawbone, helping to keep your bone healthy and intact. With a bridge or denture, some of the bone that previously surrounded the tooth starts to deteriorate.
Long-term benefits. In the long term, implants are esthetic, functional, and comfortable. On the other hand, gums and bone can recede around a bridge or denture which leaves a visible defect, deteriorated bone from bridges and dentures can lead to a collapsed and unattractive smile, and cement holding bridges in place can wash out, allowing bacteria to decay the teeth that are anchoring the bridge.
Finally, removable dentures can move around in your mouth, reducing your ability to eat certain foods.
How is an implant placed into your mouth?
First, the implant, which looks like a screw, is placed into your jaw. Over the next few months, the implant and bone are then allowed to bond together to form an anchor for your artificial teeth. During this time, a temporary tooth replacement option can be worn. Sometimes a second procedure is needed to place an extension on the implant. This small metal post, called an abutment, completes the foundation on which your new tooth will be placed.
The replacement tooth (or bridge or denture) will then be created by Dr. Mondlick or your restorative dentist and attached to the abutment.
Take a look at our Before and After Gallery to see examples of implants.