People are living longer, and they naturally want to maintain full use of their teeth and keep their beautiful smiles. However, even with regular checkups and terrific flossing and brushing, sometimes teeth do not last. This can be due to decay, injury, disease or simply getting older.
The good news is that dental implants can be used to rejuvenate your smile, dental function and oral health.
A dental implant is a synthetic tooth that can be surgically placed into the jawbone. The post or “root” is usually made of titanium, the same material used frequently in replacement hips and knees. It’s a metal that works well with the human bone. The synthetic tooth is fixed to the titanium post. It can either be attached permanently or can be removable. When the tooth is permanently attached it feels more stable and natural.
The best candidate for a dental implant is a non-smoker with good oral health and a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw and good, strong, gums.
Strategic Uses for Dental Implants
If you are missing a tooth and need it replaced, an implant with a replacement tooth will do the trick. If you are missing several teeth in a row, correctly placed implants can be used to support a set of replacement teeth, called a bridge. If you have lost all your teeth, implants can be used as anchors for a full denture.
Advantages of Implants over Conventional Bridges and Dentures
Whereas an implant is placed into the bone, conventional bridges and dentures are not. This instability can make it difficult to eat or smile without worrying. Implants look natural and feel and act more like normal teeth with the same biting force.
Other advantages of implants include the fact that, unlike conventional bridges and dentures, implants will last a lifetime and in no way compromise the health of your natural teeth.
Additional Implant-Related Services
Sinus Lift Graft
Sometimes the sinuses will get larger after the loss of the upper back teeth. Since a dental implant needs to be surrounded by bone, and sinuses are air-filled cavities, a sinus lift and bone graft must be done before an implant can be placed in the area. The sinus lift and bone augmentation procedure restores sinuses to their original size and replaces the bone that was lost due to the enlargement of the sinuses. This new bone graft takes about nine to twelve months to heal before the dental implants can be placed.
Occasionally, ideal areas where dental implants are to be placed do not have sufficient bone quantity to predictably place the implants. In these cases, it is often necessary to “borrow” bone from another area of your mouth to graft into the deficient area. Often the area of choice is from the chin or in the back of the jaw where your wisdom teeth used to be.
Implant Site Development
When a tooth needs to be removed due to infection, it is not uncommon to have bone loss around the infected tooth. In these cases, various types of bone grafting can be done at the same time the tooth is removed to facilitate the placement of a dental implant at a later date.
Computer Enhanced Treatment Planning
We have special 3D software that allows us to evaluate your bone quality, bone quantity, and bone location for the best possible placement of your dental implants. This also allows us to work closely and smoothly with your restorative dentist to ensure an ideal result for your dental implants.
It’s important to keep your dental implant restored teeth clean and free of infection. Dental implants can attract and accumulate plaque and tartar in the same way as any other teeth. Talk to your dentist about caring for your newly restored teeth and professional cleaning schedule.
The better you care for your replacement teeth, the longer they last.
Contact our Midlothian dental office and make an appointment. We are here to help: (804) 794-6893.