Dental Implants Q & A
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are the most natural-looking and functional replacements for missing teeth. They are comprised of small posts that are implanted into the jawbone and topped with false teeth, called crowns. Today’s crowns look remarkably like real teeth. Dental implants offer an alternative to dentures or bridges, which have certain disadvantages. Dentures have to be taken out and cleaned, while bridges must be anchored to nearby teeth.
What can I expect from the dental implant process?
The dental implant process starts with surgically implanting a tiny post into the jawbone. The post is made of titanium, which is a highly biocompatible metal. Implantation is the only tooth replacement treatment available that also stimulates bone growth of the jawbone to provide better support to the soft tissues. Following implantation of the post, the jawbone is allowed to heal, growing around the post. Once the jawbone is fully healed, a connector is attached to the post. This connector holds the artificial tooth in place. This process typically takes several weeks or months to complete, depending on how long the jawbone takes to heal. In some cases, dental implants can take 9 months to complete.
Am I a good candidate for dental implants?
Patients who are considered good candidates for dental implants must have enough bone to hold implants in place. Otherwise, bone grafts might be required. Suitable candidates also have healthy tissue in the affected area, no medical conditions that affect healing, and a fully grown jawbone. Patients must also be prepared to go through several weeks or months of healing before getting their artificial teeth.
How Long Will a Dental Implant Last?
A dental implant should be strong and stable for a lifetime, provided the patient practices good oral hygiene. Implants are truly intended to replace a tooth permanently.