A dental implant is a small, sturdy, titanium post that acts as the root structure would for a natural tooth. They are typically surgically implanted by a dentist or Periodontist, a specialist of the gums and supporting bones. Dental implants are comprised of artificial roots and then also teeth, usually made of titanium.
Implants provide a foundation for fixed or removable replacement teeth and they can be made to match your natural tooth color. Dental implants are also very durable and can last many years. Some may need to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal everyday wear.
You may consider dental implants if you'd like to:
- Replace a missing tooth or teeth without negatively impacting the surrounding teeth
- Dramatically improve and restore your natural smile
- Enhance or restore your facial tissues to give your face a different shape
- Restore any lost ability to chew, speak or digest
- Resolve any joint pain you may have or biting issues caused by shifting teeth
- Create a foundation to support a bridge or denture to make it more comfortable and secure
What does the process of getting dental implants require?
Dental implants may require multiple office visits over several months.
First, X-rays and impressions or molds are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine the exact bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant(s). Next, the dentist will numb the area and the dental implant is placed into the upper or lower jawbone. It may take up to six months for the implant to heal and integrate, just like roots, into the bone.
There may be need for a second surgery to place the post that will hold the artificial tooth in place. After several weeks of healing the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. After the bone has grown around the implant, implants can hold a crown, bridge or over-denture just like roots hold natural teeth in place. Implants are very durable and can last a lifetime. Several fittings may be required and this step may take up to one or two months to complete. Care instructions will be provided to address appropriate hygiene, eating habits and follow-up dental visits.