Missing teeth can destroy an otherwise appealing smile. Even one missing tooth within your smile line can make you feel self-conscious and affect your self-confidence. It’s amazing how much power our smiles have and how we take them for granted – until we lose a tooth. Fortunately,there are choices for tooth replacement, and one that is growing in popularity is the dental implant.
Types of Dental Implants
The two most popular dental implants are endosteal implants and subperiosteal implants. In the first case, the implant is placed directly in the jawbone. The subperiosteal implant does not go into the jawbone, but rather is placed on or above it, but under the gum. Currently the most popular type is the endosteal implant.
Why Dental Implants Are a Good Choice
Dental implants are growing in popularity for several reasons. First of all, they are aesthetically preferable to other dental appliances, such as partials or bridges, when it comes to replacing one or two missing teeth. The dental implant has the appearance of a natural tooth since it is not attached to abutment teeth, and it is not removable like a partial. The endosteal implant is placed directly in the jawbone.
Missing teeth create a variety of issues over time. A dental implant will eliminate these issues. They also aid in maintaining oral health. Bone loss occurs over time at the site of a missing tooth. The endosteal implant keeps the bone from resorbing; therefore, the area retains its health and strength. Though bridges and partials are reasonable options for replacing missing teeth, the bone will deteriorate and this can cause additional dental problems.
The Endosteal Implant
The process for placement of a dental implant involves a number of phases. It begins with a thorough oral examination. In this exam, with the help of X-rays, your dentist will determine if there is enough bone to support an implant. If there is not, a bone graft may be suggested.
Bone grafting occurs when the implant area is lacking sufficient bone for the process. In some cases, a small piece of bone from another area of the body is grafted into the implant site. More often, a special bone grafting material is used to build up the site. If only a very small area needs to be grafted, there is a possibility that the implant might be placed at the same time. The dentist will make this determination.
Once the bone graft is completed and the jawbone is strong enough to support the implant, the procedure continues. A small titanium pin, shaped much like a screw is implanted into the bone where the tooth root was. The bone and pin bond over a period of time. The process is called osseo-integration. This forms a firm foundation for the implant. During this time you can eat and drink as you normally do as the bonding takes place in the bone.
When the pin is firmly bonded to the bone, the site is prepared for placement of the crown. In one type of procedure, a small incision is made to expose the implant, and devices called healing caps are placed on it to allow the gums to heal in preparation for the crown, which will be placed on the implant. Once the gums are healed, an abutment is placed on the pin and the crown is put on the abutment.
Sometimes, a faster procedure can be used where the implant, abutment and temporary crown can be placed in one visit, if there is sufficient bone for the process. Your dentist will determine the best procedure for you.
If you are missing a tooth or teeth and would like to know more about the dental implant option, call Village Park Family Dental. We are happy to consult with you and provide you all the information you need about the process. Contact us for all your dental needs.