What are dental implants?
Dental implants are small titanium posts that are surgically placed in your jaw to facilitate the permanent replacement of a missing tooth or teeth. Dental implants are currently the most comfortable and permanent solution for tooth replacement. They form a strong foundation for teeth and keep the jaw healthy and strong. Implants support individual replacement teeth or secure specialized dentures in place. Unlike bridges, no healthy teeth are damaged. Unlike most bridges, implants can last a lifetime. Implant-supported replacement teeth can be attractive, stable, and comfortable for almost any patient.
A dental implant is composed of three parts: the titanium implant that fuses with the jawbone; the abutment, which fits over the portion of the implant that protrudes from the gum line; and the crown, which is created by a prosthodontist or restorative dentist and fitted onto the abutment for a natural function and appearance. Dr. Lamb will work closely with your restorative dentist to determine the best treatment plan for your needs.
Implant Treatment Process
A successful implant requires that all parties involved — you, the patient; the restorative dentist, who makes the crown for the implant; and Dr. Lamb, who surgically places the implant, follow a careful plan of treatment. All members of the implant team stay in close contact with each other to make sure everyone clearly understands your treatment process.
Once the treatment plan has been determined, Dr. Lamb will surgically place the implant. In many cases the implant will be given time to stabilize and integrate prior to the final crown being placed. Occasionally a temporary crown can be placed the same day as the implant for aesthetic purposes, however you cannot actively use it for chewing until the implant has had time to stabilize and the final crown is placed. Your restorative dentist will take impressions and place the final crown once the implant has fully healed.
Implant Care and Brushing
Dental implants look and function just like normal teeth – they should also be cared for like normal teeth! It is very important to realize that anything that can happen to a natural tooth can happen to an implant when it comes to gum disease and bone loss. Good oral hygiene and regular doctor visits are essential to the success of your implant.
Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types of Restorations?
There are several reasons: A dental bridge can sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge the space of the missing tooth/teeth. In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient, not to mention dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and rather embarrassing.