Tooth loss is a common issue for American adults. Unfortunately, this is more than an aesthetic problem. Missing teeth can make you more vulnerable to cavities, gum disease, tooth movement, and further tooth loss. It can also lead to jawbone atrophy. For these reasons, and so many others, patients choose dental implants to replace their missing teeth. At Texas Oral Surgery Specialists, Dr. Chris Tye can walk you through your options and help you decide if dental implants are right for you.
First Things First
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. These replacement roots offer a foundation for permanent or temporary replacement teeth that are meant to complement the look and feel of natural teeth.
Advantages of Dental Implants
There are several advantages to dental implants:
- Dental implants are designed to be indistinguishable from natural teeth. They become a permanent part of the mouth when they fuse with the patient’s natural bone..
- Because dental implants are permanent, the possibility of them slipping out during eating or conversation leading to embarrassing situations is very low. That is not the case with removable dentures.
- Care for dental implants is the same as that for natural teeth. The need for removing them and soaking them overnight in solution or having to deal with messy adhesives during the day, as is the routine with traditional dentures, is eliminated.
- Dental implants are durable. With proper care and maintenance, many of them last a lifetime.
- Because dental implants are not supported by neighboring teeth, as is the case with dental bridges, more of your natural teeth are left intact leading to greater long-term oral health.
What is the process of getting a dental implant?
During the consulting or planning stage, your dental professional will visually examine the site in the mouth where the dental implant is to be installed. This visual inspection is done to ascertain the quality and quantity of the jawbone. Once it is established that the dental implant can be installed without detriment to the patient’s health, surgical procedures can begin.
The first stage of oral surgery often involves the extraction of one or more teeth. Once the patient heals completely from the extraction(s) – usually after a couple of weeks – the site is deemed ready for the implant.
During surgery to insert the implant, the gum is cut open to expose the bone. Holes are then drilled at the point where the implant is to be inserted. A gap will be present at the site of the missing tooth after the implant is inserted. If necessary, a temporary, removable denture can be placed there.
After inserting the implant, a “healing cap” is placed over the implant, the gums are stitched, and given time to heal. During this healing phase, a temporary denture or crown can be manufactured to replace the missing teeth.
Healing time depends on the quality of bone present in the jaw but is usually anywhere from two to six months. It is during this time that the implant fuses with the jawbone, a process known as “osseointegration.”
After the healing period and after the implant is tested to determine it has properly fused with surrounding bone, it is time for the next step. That is the connection of a prosthetic component to the implant via an “abutment.”
The abutment is the component that serves as the base and holds the actual replacement tooth or “crown.” The dentist takes an impression of the abutment in the mouth and has the crown custom-made to fit it. The crown is then either cemented or screwed to the abutment.
High Rate of Success
Because the implants are made of titanium, they integrate with bone without being recognized as foreign by the body. Advances in technology have translated into much improved outcomes for dental implant procedures. Today, the success rate for dental implants is close to 98%.
Dr. Tye and his team in Colleyville, TX, will take the time to explain all of the options and procedures and create a plan that is right for you. Call (817) 552-3223 or conveniently schedule an appointment online today to get started.