You may have heard about dental implants as a solution for a missing tooth, but did you know they can replace multiple missing teeth as well? This guide provides you with all of the information you should know about dental implants before you decide whether or not they are appropriate for your teeth replacement needs.
Dental implants have become far more popular over the past several decades and are seen by many dentists as a much better long-term solution to teeth replacement than a removable denture or fixed bridge. So what makes them so popular and highly recommended? The following is a detailed review.
Dental implants are small surgical posts that serve as the support and root for replacement teeth. They fuse together with the jawbone to create a unified bond that remains strong for more than 20 years in many cases. Attached to the dental implants is a crown, bridge, or denture, depending on how many teeth are being replaced.
Dental implants are popular for replacing a single tooth, which is known as an implant-supported crown. However, dental implants can also replace a section of missing teeth with an implant-supported bridge (also called an implant-supported partial denture). Dentists may recommend dental implants to replace an entire row of teeth as well by placing four or five implants and attaching complete dentures. This is known as a full arch replacement.
The ideal candidate for dental implants is one that has good periodontal health, enough jawbone to adequately support the implant(s), and is willing to remain patient since the process takes much longer than alternative solutions. However, patients that do not have enough healthy bone still may make good candidates, although they may need a bone graft procedure.
Dental implants are considered permanent and can last for more than 20 years in many cases when they are cared for properly. The restorations (the crown, bridge, or denture) may not last as long, but they can be restored or replaced when necessary every 5 to 10 years.
Of course, the longevity of your dental implants and restorations are largely dependent on how well you care for your oral health; concerns such as periodontal disease could jeopardize the condition of your implants. To get the most out of your dental implants and missing teeth restoration, you should brush several times each day, floss regularly, and use mouthwash to kill and remove excess bacteria inside the mouth.
The process for dental implants is more extensive than with alternative teeth replacement solutions. The first step, which takes place during a consultation visit, is to assess the specific treatment needs. For example, some patients require a bone graft procedure and periodontal disease treatment before the placement of the dental implants.
Once the mouth is prepared and healthy, meaning there is enough healthy jawbone, the gums are in good condition, and natural teeth are clean and cavity-free, the implants placement procedure is scheduled. Multiple teeth replacement usually requires more than one dental implant. Depending on the number of teeth that are being replaced, patients may need between two and five implants for each row. The implant placement procedure is a form of oral surgery, so it is relatively invasive. However, it is a safe procedure with a success rate higher than 95 percent.
After the placement of the dental implants, the mouth must heal and the jawbone must fuse (osseointegrate) with the implants. Once the implants are stabilized in the jaw, the abutments and the dental restoration are attached during a follow-up visit.
In total, the dental implants process takes between eight months and a year for most patients. However, treatment plans are personalized and total treatment times vary based on the specifics of the patient's treatment needs, goals, and schedule availability.
A dental implant consultation provides you with an opportunity to ask our experienced and dedicated staff about the process, benefits, and long-term care of dental implant restorations, and you can put together a treatment plan at the same visit. To get started with a consultation, give us a call today.
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