For Permanence & Performance
It is not uncommon for adults to lose teeth due to accident, injury, gum disease, or extraction. In such cases, we may recommend dental implants as a secure, functional replacement option because they do not rely on neighboring teeth for support. Instead, they are permanently and surgically anchored to the jawbone as tooth root substitutes. The implant’s stability helps restore normal eating ability, provide face muscle support, and prevent jawbone atrophy.
Understanding the Procedure
Implants are tiny posts made of pure titanium. Titanium is one of the few metals that our bodies do not recognize as a foreign material and do not reject. Typically, a periodontal surgeon with special implant training inserts the implant into the jawbone below the gum surface at the location of the missing tooth. The bone then bonds to the implant and forms a secure foundation onto which we attach artificial teeth shaped to match your existing teeth. In some cases, we use implants to anchor bridgework. Another great use for implants is to have “snaps” in them and in a denture to keep the denture extremely stable. Regardless of the specific type of implant, the process generally requires a couple of separate steps: “anchoring” and “attachment”.
Establishing the Foundation
For the first three to six months, we will allow this implant to integrate into the bone, forming a solid, enduring base with sufficient stability to withstand the tremendous mechanical pressure involved in normal chewing. Most patients find the presence of these implants to be imperceptible. Meanwhile, we often provide a temporary bridge or dentures to facilitate eating and maintain facial muscle support.
Affixing the Replacement
After the implant has bonded with the jawbone, a second procedure fixes the custom designed top of the implant onto the anchor post. To accomplish this, we carefully uncover each implant anchor, connect it to a small post that protrudes above the gumline. An accurate impression is taken of this and sent to our lab. During this time, our laboratory carefully designs and custom manufactures artificial teeth for use over the implant tops.
The result is a secure, attractive, replacement tooth or set of teeth, designed to function as effectively as the remaining natural teeth. Depending on the number of teeth involved, this final step may take around two weeks to complete.
Enjoying the Results
If you are unfamiliar with implant technology, you may be interested to know about the procedure’s success rate. In fact, the nearly 20-year-old technique has proven highly effective as a tooth replacement option, depending primarily on the recipient’s health, as well as the location and function of the teeth being replaced. Lower front jaw placement is typically successful in 95% of cases, while side or rear placements is 85% successful. Of course, the outcome is always better for those in good general health, and who have proper bone structure and healthy gums. Often, people unable to wear dentures are among those who benefit most from implants.