More and more people are getting dental implants to replace missing teeth. They're a long-term solution that is imbedded in your jawbone, just like your natural teeth. They even go your natural teeth one better, since they can't develop cavities. Plus, unlike fixed bridges or removable dentures, dental implants will not affect neighboring healthy teeth or lead to bone loss in the jaw. If properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime.
Dental implant surgery is, of course, surgery, and is best done by a trained surgeon. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) has the specialized education and training in the complexities of the bone, skin, muscles and nerves involved, to ensure you get the best possible results. A 2014 study suggests greater implant success rates when performed by a dental specialist.
Implants are made of titanium metal that "fuses" with the jawbone through a process called "osseointegration." There's no short cut to get around that process, and it usually takes several months once the implant is put into your jawbone. Osseointegration, however, is why implants never slip or make embarrassing noises like dentures, and why bone loss is usually not a problem.
After more than 20 years of service, the vast majority of dental implants first placed by oral and facial surgeons in the United States continue to function at peak performance. More importantly, the recipients of those early dental implants are still satisfied they made the right choice.
This procedure is a team effort between you, your dentist and your periodontist. Your periodontist and dentist will consult with you to determine where and how your implant should be placed. Depending on your specific condition and the type of implant chosen, your periodontist will create a treatment plan tailored to meet your needs.
Replacing a Single Tooth: If you are missing a single tooth, one implant and a crown can replace it.
Replacing Several Teeth: If you are missing several teeth, implant-supported bridges can replace them.
Replacing All of Your Teeth: If you are missing all of your teeth, an implant-supported full bridge or full denture can replace them.
Sinus Augmentation: A key to implant success is the quantity and quality of the bone where the implant is to be placed. The upper back jaw has traditionally been one of the most difficult areas to successfully place dental implants due to insufficient bone quantity and quality and the close proximity to the sinus. Sinus augmentation can help correct this problem by raising the sinus floor and developing bone for the placement of dental implants.
Ridge Modification: Deformities in the upper or lower jaw can leave you with inadequate bone in which to place dental implants. To correct the problem, the gum is lifted away from the ridge to expose the bony defect. The defect is then filled with bone or bone substitute to build up the ridge. Ridge modification has been shown to greatly improve appearance and increase your chances for successful implants that can last for years to come.
Find dental implant dentists near you!