Dental implants are a permanent solution to missing teeth. While some patients might opt for a bridge of denture or partial dentures to replace missing teeth, those will still have to be replaced in a few years when they wear out. Dental implants involve a metal implant that is inserted into the jawbone, which a dental crown is then attached to. This is a much more permanent solution for missing teeth, although it may not be the right choice for every patient. Here is some important information for you about dental implants.
Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
If you have enough remaining jawbone structure to support a dental implant, then you are probably a good candidate for the procedure. As we get older, our bone mass begins to naturally shrink. If you have been missing a tooth for several years, the jawbone that used to support that tooth can also shrink. Having a reduced jawbone doesn’t necessarily mean you are excluded from dental implants. In some cases, a bone grafting procedure can be performed to add mass to the jawbone.
If a patient has cracked, broken or decayed teeth, sometimes it will be recommended that these teeth be extracted and replaced with dental implants. When older patients have dentures or bridges that tend to slip loose, they can also opt for dental implants for a more permanent solution.
Dental Implant Procedure
Dental implants require two separate surgical procedures. The implant itself serves as the artificial root for an artificial tooth, which is known as a crown. During the first procedure, the implant is installed in the jawbone. If a single tooth is being replaced, one implant is sufficient. If multiple teeth are being replaced, then a series of implants will be inserted into the jawbone.
The dental implant is a piece of metal shaped similar to a screw. When the implant is installed during the first procedure, you will then have to wait several weeks. During this time, you will heal from the surgery and if everything goes normally, the bone in your jaw will fuse to the implant. It becomes a permanent part of the structure in your mouth.
During the second procedure, the crown will be affixed to the implant with an abutment. While the crown is considered a “permanent” replacement for the tooth you have lost, it can still be damaged or cracked. If this ever happens, you will need another procedure to repair or replace the crown. In many cases, however, crowns can last a lifetime as long as they are cared for properly. Your dentist will give you all the instructions you need on the proper care of your crowns.
Benefits of Dental Implants
- Reliable and long-lasting
- Prevents remaining teeth from shifting in the mouth
- Provides a full set of teeth and vibrant smile
- More convenient than dentures or bridges
- Better chewing and better overall oral health
- Improved self esteem
Dental implants can last for the rest your life if they are properly cared for. This popular procedure has already been performed for many patients in the Murietta, CA area. If you’d like to learn more about dental crowns or other options for replacing missing or damaged teeth, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.