Missing a tooth? How about several teeth? How about all your teeth? Find it hard to chew? Or feel embarrassed when smiling? Are you always conscious about what other people are thinking about your missing tooth? A dental implant is a one-stop solution to all your worries.
A dental implant (a.k.a an endosseous implant or fixture) is a prosthetic tooth root that is surgically placed into your jawbone beneath the gums. It may or may not have an attached extension that acts as a proxy for a natural tooth. A dental implant is more secure than a denture or a conventional bridge.
Why should you choose a dental implant?
The entire structure of a dental implant resembles a natural tooth and is more secure than a denture or a conventional bridge. This is because they fail to account for the fact that real teeth help to “preserve” the jawbone while bridges and dentures fail to do so.
- Fixed or partial bridges: Placing of bridges require removal of a thin layer of material from the adjacent teeth to hold them in place which damages the natural structure of those teeth. These teeth, that hold the bridges together, are also weakened by the chewing forces on the bridges.
- Dentures: For some patients, partial or full dentures are not comfortable as they can slip and restrict the type of food that you can eat. They also run the risk of soreness, gagging, and causing the remaining jaw bone to atrophy and change the structure of the face.
Types of dental implants
- Single tooth replacement:One implant is used to replace a single tooth. The implant is placed in the spot where the missing tooth root was embedded in the jaw bone. A prosthetic tooth is then attached to the implant. This implant tooth looks and functions like a natural tooth.
- Multiple/all tooth replacement: When several teeth in a row are missing, often two or three implants can be placed and a fixed bridge can replace all the missing teeth. When all the teeth are missing in a jaw, a few implants can be placed and support a removable (or "snap-in") denture, or can even support a fixed (or "fixed-hybrid") denture.
- Sinus augmentation and Ridge modification:The success of an implant largely depends on the quantity and quality of the jawbone. When the bone structure has deformities or is not strong enough to support an implant and an artificial tooth, bone grafting is done by either performing a sinus lift or ridge modification. This means the bone is exposed and developed to ensure that it can support an intended dental implant.
Implant Placement and aftercare
First the implant is placed surgically into the jaw bone. Once it is in place, the implant fuses with the bone over a few months' time in a process called osseointegration to provide stable support to the artificial tooth or teeth. After this, a dental crown or bridge is placed on top of the implant(s) to mimic the tooth or teeth. The implant and the crown are connected using an "abutment" or a connector. To maintain the longevity of your dental implant, follow these practices:
- Practice proper oral hygiene by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth using a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride-rich toothpaste.
- Avoid chewing hard foods, at least in the early periods of getting a dental implant.
- Visit your dentist regularly for consultations to keep an eye on the status and progress of the dental implant.
Call us at 480-888-8123 or schedule an online appointment to have a consultation with Dr. Matheson at our practice in Queen Creek, AZ 85142