Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved.
What are Dental Implants?
The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the implant, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts, or abutments that protrude through the gums are then attached to the implant. These posts provide stable anchors for the replacement teeth. Dental Implants also help preserve jawbone structure, preventing the bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing (see Jawbone Health). Implants being placed today are more technologically advanced than those used even ten years ago, leading to higher success rates and shorter healing times.
The Implant Procedure
For most patients, the placement of dental implants is straightforward, with minimal recovery time. Depending on the condition of the jawbone, presence or absence of the prior tooth, and other factors the entire process may take up to eight (8) months. However, many times implants can be placed at time of tooth removal, and even have a temporary crown placed the same day. If this cannot be done then we will arrange with your general dentist to provide you with good looking and functional temporary replacement teeth you will never have to go without teeth.
Implants today are more technologically advanced than implants placed even five years ago, and give many patients the ability to chew comfortably when this was not possible before. While implants have been available for more than thirty years, due to their predictability implants now represent the standard of care for replacing missing teeth. Most studies show success rates better than 95%, and if an implant is well taken care of it should last a lifetime.
Dr. Suttle or Dr. Pierce will discuss all implant options with you at your first visit, and in conjunction with your general dentist develop a treatment plan appropriate to meet your needs.