Dental Implants

Dental implants offer remarkable advantages

Dental implants are replacement tooth roots that provide a strong foundation for artificial teeth that are made to match your natural teeth. A single tooth dental implant system consists of a small titanium screw, which will function as the root of the artificial tooth, and the crown, which is fabricated and secured by your general dentist. Titanium is used because of its excellent ability to bind with bone. Compared to dentures or bridges, dental implants offer patients a more natural appearance, convenience and comfort as well as improved speech and eating.

Why a dental implant may be needed

Sixty-nine percent of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth due to injury, gum disease, failed root canal or decay. And by age 74, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 26% of adults have lost all their permanent teeth. Dental implants provide the best and often most conservative option for tooth replacement. They also offer a much better long-term success rate than traditional bridgework.


What to expect before, during and after dental implant surgery

An initial appointment involves a comprehensive examination, x-rays and a consultation regarding your specific situation. If an implant is needed, a Northwest Oral & Facial Surgeon will schedule a surgery date to remove the existing tooth, if required, and replace it with an implant if possible. Sometimes it is necessary to allow the extraction site to heal several months before placing an implant, and occasionally a simple bone graft may be recommended to optimize the planned implant site. If tooth removal is not necessary, implant placement is typically a single, short appointment which can be accomplished with just local anesthesia. Most patients find this procedure to be much simpler and significantly less uncomfortable than tooth removal.

When the implant is stabilized in the jaw bone two to four months later, your dentist will take impressions so that a crown can be specially made and shaded to match your teeth. (Research and technological advancements are shrinking this two–to-four-month period. Depending upon your specific situation, there may be no waiting period for the crown.) When the time is right, the crown is secured over the implant and appears and functions as a natural tooth. During the time between surgery and the final crown, you may choose to wear a retainer-type device (known as a “flipper”) with an artificial tooth that temporarily fills the gap. For further information, refer to www.thedentalimplantguide.org.

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