Dental Implants

What are Dental Implants?

Replicating the natural function and appearance of your lost teeth can be very difficult to accomplish. Historically, dentures or bridge restorations would be used as replacements, but with limited results. Dental implants, however, are natural-looking replacements for missing that also provide the same function as your natural tooth root. They have also been used to anchor these other types of restorations for greater success and patient satisfaction.

A More Natural Approach

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A dental implant is a small, sturdy, titanium post that acts as the root structure would for a natural tooth. A dental implant is placed into your upper or lower jaw bone. 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. They require the same maintenance as natural teeth; this includes brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups.

A single tooth or a full arch of teeth which have been lost due to injury or disease can be replaced with dental implants. Titanium metal is used because of its compatibility with bone and oral tissues.

Replacing a Missing Tooth

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A natural tooth is anchored into the jawbone by its tooth root. Tooth roots attach firmly to the jawbone and keep your teeth stable when chewing solid foods.

Traditionally, if you were missing a tooth (or one needed to be extracted), the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth would be cut down and the whole thing replaced with a three-crown "bridge".

Dental implants are the modern alternative. Instead of cutting down two perfectly good teeth, a dental post (dental implant) is inserted into the jawbone to replace your missing tooth root. This post becomes solidly fixed in your jaw (like a natural tooth root). Your general dentist then places a crown onto this artificial tooth root that looks, feels, and functions like your natural teeth.

Quite simply, dental implants are the most natural replacement for missing teeth.

Replacing Several Missing Teeth

Traditionally, several missing teeth would have been replaced with a removable partial or full denture.

Dentures have to be taken out and soaked at night. During the day, they can also look unnatural and rub painfully. Dentures and partials make it difficult or impossible to eat certain foods.

Dental implants can now be used to anchor partial and full dentures.
This prevents the slipping, irritation, and pain associated with "floating" partials and dentures. It also prevents the tedious removal of dentures for overnight soaking and cleaning. With dental implants, these restorations are anchored firmly into the jawbone becoming much more like natural teeth.

Natural tooth roots and dental implant posts are fixed firmly in your jawbone. When you chew, these tooth roots and posts stimulate the jawbone and prevent it from shrinking. You may have seen a person who looked prematurely old because their jawbone had shrunk after wearing floating dentures. Dental implants help preserve your jawbone and appearance.

The Success Rate of Dental Implants

After their healing period, the success rate of dental implants is between 94% and 98%. If you are a non-smoker with good oral hygiene, the percentage is closer to 98%.

Does the Procedure Hurt?

Placing a dental implant is usually like getting a cavity filled. It is often done under local anesthesia and patients generally experience little discomfort after the procedure.

How Long Will Dental Implants Last?

Dental implants become fixed to the jawbone. Dental implants have been in patient's mouths for over 30 years. With good oral hygiene and regular cleanings, Dental implants should last a lifetime. In contrast, the average life span of a traditional fixed bridge is between 10-15 years.