Dental implants provide a long-lasting solution to replace missing teeth and restore your smile. Using titanium screw-like anchors, dental implants sit within your jawbone and serve as an artificial tooth root. Much like a natural tooth root, dental implants serve as an anchor and secure a dental prosthetic. Due to the strength of dental implants, chewing and speaking functions can be almost completely restored.
Did You Know?
Out of the current restoration methods available, dental implants have one of the highest success rates as stated by patients and dentists alike.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What does a dental implant look like?
Dental implants have three pieces that work together to restore your tooth’s function. The first part is the implant itself. This piece is a titanium screw that lies below the surface of your gum line in your jawbone. It serves as the anchor for the entire dental implant and is the piece that will fuse with the bone and provide strength. The next part is the abutment, which is a connector piece that lies between the implant and the dental prosthesis. Your dental prosthesis will be attached to the abutment and then the abutment will screw the dental prosthesis into the implant. The final piece, the dental prosthesis can be either a dental crown, bridge, or denture. For a single missing teeth, a crown is usually used, while bridges or dentures can be used for multiple missing teeth.
Are there different types of dental implants?
Yes, there are two types of dental implants. The first, Endosteal, is the most commonly used type of dental implant and is highly recommended by most dentists. Endosteal implants utilize a titanium screw that is embedded into the jaw bone. The other type of implant, Subperiosteal, are not nearly as common as Endosteal implants. Instead of sitting within the jaw bone, subperiosteal implants sit atop the jaw bone just below the gum line.
What is the lifespan of dental implants?
The lifespan of your dental implants will depend on your oral health, the type of implant, your treatment plan, your habits following the procedure, and various other factors. Dental implants can affect individuals differently, however the average lifespan for most dental implants is around ten years. There have also been reports of dental implants lasting for twenty-five years and even some that are said to have lasted for forty years!
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
You may be a candidate for dental implants if you have missing teeth and are seeking a long-lasting restoration method. Ideal candidates also have the necessary bone mass to support dental implants, however there are options available for those lacking bone mass. To find out if you are a candidate for dental implants,schedule a consultation with Dr. Stephen A. Huffman or Dr. Duke Trinh of Belpre Dental Solutions today!
What if I don’t have the proper bone mass for dental implants?
Without stimulation from tooth roots, your jaw bone naturally begins to deteriorate in a process called bone reabsorption. As a result, if you have had missing teeth for an extended period of time, you may not have enough bone mass to properly support dental implants. However, bone mass can easily be replenished through a bone graft.
A bone graft is a specialized procedure that builds up bone tissue in areas that need it. Bone grafts will either use a synthetic material or bone tissue from your own body, and place it where the bone is lacking. Eventually, new bone growth will occur and add bone mass to the affected area.
Bone grafts can be used for both the upper and lower jaw. When performed on the upper jaw, bone grafts are usually referred to as sinus lifts because they aim to build up bone at the bottom of the maxillary sinus. This thickens the bone below your sinus and ensures it can support a dental implant without damaging your sinus cavity.
What should I expect during the implant placement procedure?
During your dental implant placement, you can expect to be under moderate to deep sedation for your comfort. Once you are comfortable, our dentists will make a tiny cut in your gum tissue to expose your jaw bone. They will then use a specialized dental drill to shape the pocket where the dental implant will be placed. Once this pocket has been properly prepped for the implant, the implant will be inserted and secured. The abutment may also be attached at this point. If the abutment is attached, the gums will be stitched up around the abutment, otherwise they will be stitched up over the implant.
What happens after the implant has been placed?
After your implant has been placed, it will need approximately 3-6 months to fuse to the jaw bone in a process called osseointegration. This process is necessary for your implant to properly anchor itself and provide a strong foundation for the dental prosthesis. During this process, you will want to take special care to not damage or cause the implant to shift. To accomplish this, a temporary diet of soft foods is required.
Once your implant has fused to the bone, you can return to our office for your dental prosthesis. Impressions will be taken of your mouth to use for fabricating your permanent restoration. In the meantime, you will receive a provisional restoration to wear if you have not already been fitted for one. Depending on the type of permanent restoration you’ve decided on, the restoration will be attached to your dental implant and the process is complete.
How do I take care of my dental implants?
Taking care of your dental implants is much like taking care of natural teeth. First, you will want to maintain a good dental routine consisting of brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting Belpre Dental Solutions at least once every six months for your dental checkup and teeth cleaning.
Second, you will want to avoid bad habits that can be detrimental to your oral health such as smoking, chewing on hard candies or ice, and grinding or clenching your teeth. Although dental implants are like natural teeth, they can still be broken by things that would break your natural teeth.
For experienced and compassionate dental care, schedule a consultation with Dr. Stephen A. Huffman or Dr. Duke Trinh of Belpre Dental Solutions. We have been proudly serving the communities of Belpre and the mid Ohio Valley since 1958 and look forward to serving you and your family for many years to come.