Dominion Dental Spa: Dental Implants
At Dominion Dental Spa, we want every patient to have the best treatment options to consider. This is why we offer dental implants as a way to restore missing teeth. Dental implants have been successfully used for decades to replace missing teeth.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Dental implants completely replace each part of a missing tooth. The implant body replaces the tooth root with its position in the jawbone and its secure connection to the jawbone. The implant body is not visible because it is underneath the gums.
Dental implants are made of titanium, a metal that the body accepts. (Joint replacements are made of titanium, too!) Once the implant has been put into its position in the jawbone, the bone undergoes a process called osseointegration. This means the bone is attaching to the implant, creating a stable connection between the false root and the bone. This connection enables the implant to withstand normal chewing forces.
Built on top of the implant body are an abutment and crown, which reconstruct the outer portion of the tooth and bring it into normal function. These two pieces can be made of various materials so that they create the perfect cosmetic result.
What are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
- High Long-Term Success Rate – Dental implants are one of the most predictable and successful procedures performed in all of dentistry. Their long-term success rate is extremely high: over 90%!
- Most Cosmetic Tooth Replacement – Because the crowns on dental implants extend out of the gums, they have the most natural appearance possible with a dental restoration. Other replacement options require unsightly connections to adjacent teeth.
- No Damage to Neighboring Teeth – A dental implant is the only tooth replacement option that does not require an adjacent tooth for support. Bridges and partial dentures rely on, and often damage, existing teeth to hold the fake tooth.
- Total Tooth Replacement – A dental implant is the only missing tooth restoration that replaces the root of the missing tooth. This means the new tooth will function as well as a natural tooth.
- Easy to Clean – As we have described already, a dental implant is as close as you can get to a natural tooth. For this reason, cleaning it is as easy as cleaning the rest of your teeth. No special tools for flossing are necessary. You simply brush, floss and rinse as if it were a natural tooth.
- Versatility – Dental implants can be used to replace one missing tooth or to support a denture replacing all the teeth in the mouth. Implants can support removable partials or dentures. They can also be used to lock in a full-arch restoration (replacement of all of the missing teeth in a jaw).
How Long Do Dental Implants Take?
Dental implants require an investment of both money and time. Because implants involve surgical procedures, there are periods of healing that must take place for a successful result. Each person heals at a different rate. These time frames are averages. Your specific healing times will be discussed with you as Dr. Sri and Dr. McCue work through your pre-operative planning.
- Extraction – When a tooth has a poor or hopeless prognosis, it is extracted. If you want to replace this tooth with an implant, there are two possible scenarios.
- Socket Preservation Graft and Healing – The extraction socket has a tendency to shrink or collapse after an extraction. A preservation graft fills in the “hole” left by the root to maintain healthy bone for the future implant. The healing process takes 3-6 months before the implant is placed.
- Immediate Implant Placement – When an extraction site has good, healthy bone with no infection, there are cases that allow for the dental implant to be placed the same day the tooth is extracted.
- Implant Placement – This surgery takes place either after 3-6 months of healing (option 1 above) or the day of the extraction (option 2 above). The dental implant is placed into the jawbone.
- Healing – Dental implant healing times vary per person. On average, a dental implant for a lower tooth needs to heal for 3 months, and a dental implant for an upper tooth needs to heal for 6 months.
- Restoration of the Abutment and Crown – Once the bone has healed around the dental implant, it is ready to work. An abutment and crown are made to lock into the implant root. Sri and Dr. McCue will discuss the various options available for cosmetic crowns.
- Impression or Digital Scan – An exact replica of the implant and your teeth are sent to a dental laboratory, where the abutment and crown are made. This process takes 3-4 weeks.
- Final Placement of Crown – The abutment locks into the implant body, and the crown is cemented in place after the fit is confirmed with an x-ray.
What Is The Most Important Thing to Know About Dental Implants?
A dental implant is the best investment you can make in your mouth. Patients often say that they never realized how much chewing function they were missing by having missing teeth. Digestion starts in the mouth. Proper chewing function improves your overall health.
Because dental implants also provide the most cosmetic replacement of missing teeth, you get both cosmetics and function at the same time.