As we age, it is not uncommon to experience dental issues that require the help of a specialist. The prosthodontists at Westgrove Dental are trained in a host of treatment options to restore the health, function and beauty of our patients’ smiles. Dental implants are a revolutionary way to restore your smile if you are missing teeth.
What are dental implants?
Essentially, a dental implant is a replacement for a missing tooth. It is used when an entire tooth has been lost, either to injury, decay, advanced gum disease, or another reason. The implant itself is a tiny metal screw that is fastened into the gum where the tooth is missing. It acts as the tooth root to hold a replacement tooth securely in place. Implants are designed to look, feel and function just like your natural teeth.
What are the advantages to dental implants over other options?
There are numerous benefits to dental implants, including:
- The implant is secured directly into your gum, making it a permanent replacement.
- The implant fuses into your bone, becoming part of your natural smile.
- Implants are often more comfortable than options such as partial dentures which can slide around in the mouth or cause irritation.
- Implants don’t require any work to adjacent natural teeth, as a bridge does.
- Implants are designed to be durable and last for years – in fact, with proper care, your implant can last the rest of your life.
How is an implant placed?
The process to get an implant is a bit involved, but the results are well worth it. After our prosthodontists examine your smile and create a customized treatment plan, we can begin the work of restoring your smile.
The implant is placed by one of our well-trained maxillofacial surgeons. The tiny, titanium screw is placed directly into the bone in your gum line, providing stability as it acts as the root for the replacement tooth. Your jaw will need time to heal before moving on to the next phase. This can take anywhere from six to 12 weeks, but during this time your bone will grow around the implant, ensuring stability.
Once you are fully healed, our prosthodontists can begin the next part of the treatment. This involves connecting a post to the implant to which the replacement tooth will sit. This abutment will ensure a secure fit for the replacement tooth.
The replacement tooth is crafted by taking an impression, which is then sent to the dental lab to create your custom crown. The crown is then carefully placed on the abutment. Once complete, your implant will look, feel and function just like the other teeth in your mouth.
Local anesthesia is used during the treatment process to minimize pain and discomfort. However, there may be some mild pain, which can be treated using an over-the-counter pain reliever.