Dental implants are metal frames that are surgically inserted below the gums and into the jawbone. Once they’re installed artificial teeth, often crowns made of porcelain, are able to be attached to the top of them, giving the appearance of natural teeth. Over time the jawbone fuses to these metal frames, creating a very solid base for the new teeth.
What’s the Process Of A Dental Implant Surgery?
Surgery to install a dental implant starts with your personalized treatment plan, which is created by your dentist and oral surgeon and discussed with you. This will take into account images and x-rays taken of your mouth and your medical history. After a plan is created and agreed upon, the steps include:
- Tooth root implant – A small, titanium post is inserted deep into the jaw through the empty tooth socket. You’ll wear a partial, or temporary denture, for a while the jaw heals around this post.
- Healing – Over time, usually a few months, the jawbone will heal from the surgery and fuse with the metal post to create a sturdy, artificial root for your new artificial teeth.
- Abutment placement – Depending on the type of treatment plan you have, the surgeon may perform another surgery to attach the part of the post the crown is placed on. It’s also possible for this part to be done during the initial post insertion surgery.
- Crown placement – Your artificial teeth, colored to match your natural teeth as much as possible, are attached to the post. They can be removable, fixed permanently to the post, or a combination.
After the surgical steps are completed, your oral surgeon will recommend how to care for your mouth as it heals. This will likely include eating only soft foods for a while, a specific way of keeping the surgical site clean, and keeping an eye on its healing process.
Who Are Dental Implants For?
Dental implants are a replacement for damaged or missing teeth. They’re often used as an alternative to dentures, crowns, and bridges. They may be a good way to improve the health and appearance of your teeth if you:
- Have a fully grown jawbone
- Don’t have healing problems
- Have a thick enough jawbone or can receive a bone graft
- Don’t want to or can’t wear dentures or receive a bridge
There are other factors that may affect your eligibility for dental implants, but generally if you’re healthy overall, other artificial teeth options aren’t ideal for you, and you have missing teeth, dental implants can be a great tool for achieving a better smile.
What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
Dental implants are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to dentures, bridges, and traditional crowns. Compared to these other options, they’re:
- Natural-looking – The color of the crowns is matched to your natural tooth color so they look exactly the same.
- More Secure – They won’t slip like dentures can.
- Easy to care for – They need to be brushed and flossed like natural teeth, so you don’t need to learn a new, complicated cleaning method to maintain them.
They can replace one or more individual teeth, and even an entire set of teeth on the upper or lower jaw. In many ways, dental implants are perhaps the surgical procedure closest to having natural teeth as possible.
Are Dental Implants Right For You?
If you need artificial teeth and are interested in receiving dental implants, talk to Dr. Skelton about them. Together, you can make a plan to improve your confidence and smile.