What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are the ideal solution for missing teeth. Whether you need to replace one tooth or a full arch of missing teeth, dental implants will function and feel like your natural teeth. Our team restores teeth after the surgical placement of the implant has been completed by a periodontist or oral surgeon. We collaborate and plan implant cases with top periodontists and oral surgeons. Using 3D technologies, your implant team will ensure that the implant is in the optimal location for esthetic restoration and long term durability.
Missing teeth, even just one tooth, can have a negative impact on your oral and overall health. When a tooth is missing, the bone, that once supported the tooth, begins to deteriorate. Also, teeth from the opposing arch may begin to erupt into the space once occupied by the missing teeth. And, teeth in the same arch can begin to move causing problems when biting, and even headaches.
While other treatments for missing teeth, like fixed bridges and full or partial dentures, may be alternatives, implants typically provide the best success rate and long-term prognosis at a similar cost.
What Can Patients Expect?
Though dental implants involve a surgical procedure in which the implant is placed into the bone, over the last decade, the surgeries have become quicker and cause even less trauma and bone. This means, patients can have an implant placed with minimal discomfort. A single implant can be placed during a 30 – 45 minute procedure in the morning and patients can be back at work immediately following their appointment. When multiple teeth are involved the placement is sometimes more complex, but is still relatively straight forward.
Once an implant is placed into bone, it is capped with a device called a healing abutment. In some cases, our dentists and your implant surgeon may agree that a temporary restoration can be placed on top of the implant immediately after placement. However, the temporary is usually trimmed a bit shorter than the rest of the dentition, so that it does not receive any of the biting forces when you chew. Also, prior to placing the healing abutment on the implant, the surgeon will take either a digital or conventional impression. This will enable the lab to make a final restoration.
The implant is usually left to heal about three to four months before we will place the final restoration. During this time, the bone fuses to the implant and provides a secure base for the tooth.
Restoring the implant is similar to the procedures for a crown. The impression that was taken after surgery is used to create the final restoration. Typically the restoration is made of zirconia, a strong porcelain material. The zirconia restoration screws into an abutment, which acts the support structure above the bone, holding the tooth to the implant (beneath the bone). Once in place, the implant function and looks like your natural tooth. It is virtually indistinguishable from any other tooth in your mouth.