If you have experienced tooth loss, you are not alone. According to the American Dental Association, more than 20 million people in the United States are missing all of their natural teeth, and more than 100 million are missing 11-15 teeth. Dental implants offer a permanent solution to missing teeth. A dental implant is a small titanium screw or cylinder whuch is surgically placed in the upper or lower jawbone. The implant replaces the root of the missing tooth, providing an anchor for the new tooth.
Many patients choose dental implants over bridges, or either partial or full dentures because the result is a permanent natural appearance. The first and most obvious benefit of dental implants is the enhanced ability to chew and enjoy food. Implants also eliminate the inconvenience associated with removable teeth. In addition to these benefits, dental implants help restore that "full" look rather than giving a sunken facial appearance. Implants are placed with the intention of lasting a lifetime. The first dental implant ever placed is still in use and has never been compromised.
The implant process is generally divided into four steps.
1. Step one involves the placement of the implant screw. Using regular dental anesthetic, the surgeon lifts the gum tissue away and performs a precise and gentle technique to place the dental implant fixture into the jawbone. The gum is repositioned and sutured. Most patients experience no major discomfort after the procedure. The implant replaces the natural tooth root and provides structural support for the replacement tooth.
2. During step two the dental implant fixture is left undisturbed in the jawbone for a period of four to six months. During this time, the bone attaches to the implant and osseointegration takes place. Depending on the individual case, a temporary removable denture may be worn to preserve cosmetics.
3. Step three, which involves the surgeon exposing the top of the implant and attaching a post or abutment. This abutment passes through the gum and ultimately supports the new tooth.
4. Step four is the final restoration. The dentist will take an impression of the implant and will work with the lab technician to make the new implant-supported tooth. The final prosthetic tooth can be screwed or cemented into place. The new tooth is now firmly anchored into the bone and the results will look, feel, and perform like a natural tooth.
Dental implants are not new to the dental field. With modern procedures and placement in a sterile environment, the success rate for implants is very high. Our success rate is greater than 98 percent.