According to the American College of Prosthodontists, 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and over the next few years, that number is expected to get larger. Replacing missing teeth can prevent a cascade of dental issues.
At SmileBoutique, Dr. Wayne Hofflich and his staff want you to enjoy the best possible oral health you can for the longest possible time. We have found that dental implants do two important things — they prevent additional problems, and they make our patients happy.
Dental implants have a success rate of more than 97% and provide a natural-looking and well-functioning prosthetic option. In this post, we describe some of the benefits of dental implants and what you can expect.
How dental implants work
Dental implants provide a replacement chewing surface and a prosthetic tooth root. Each implant has three parts:
A titanium post is implanted into your jawbone. As it heals, a process called osseointegration happens. Your jawbone fuses to the post, which keeps it in place and allows it to stimulate your body to bring nutrients to your bone, keeping it healthy.
The abutment is a piece that is placed on the top of the post. We don’t attach the abutment to the post until the process of osseointegration is complete and your jawbone is fully healed.
A dental crown is the part of your implant that you can see. It’s usually made of porcelain and resembles your other teeth. The crown is attached to the abutment.
Dental implants can be used to replace one or more teeth, and with proper care, you can expect them to last a lifetime.
The advantages of dental implants
Dentures and dental bridges are the more traditional methods of tooth replacement, and though they have their place, they don’t provide the same benefits as dental implants. Dentures can fit improperly and fall out; you may be limited in what you can eat easily.
Dental bridges require shaving a healthy tooth to make room for the bridge. Dentures and bridges are less long-lasting than dental implants. Both types of tooth replacement usually last between 7 and 15 years.
Because implants fuse with your jawbone, they behave like your natural teeth. They help keep your bone tissue healthy and require much less maintenance than other methods of replacing missing teeth.
When you get a dental implant, here’s what you can expect:
You may need work before your bones are strong enough to support an implant. During your first appointment, Dr. Hofflich will take some images of your mouth. You may need a bone graft before the implant can proceed.
When it’s time for you to have your implant placed, Dr. Hofflich makes a small incision into your gum and puts it in place. Over the next several weeks or even months, osseointegration happens. We wait for the post to be fully fused before proceeding.
The abutment and crown
The next step is to place the abutment. Sometimes, but not always, you may need an incision. If you do, you’ll wait for it to heal before placing the crown.
Next, we make some impressions of your other teeth and custom-make a crown to fit perfectly. Then, it’s attached to the abutment.
Indeed, the process of having a dental implant placed takes longer than other methods. It’s also usually more expensive. However, the results mean you can use your prosthetic tooth just as your natural tooth.
You’ll enjoy less upkeep, and your implants will last longer, too. If you’d like to learn more about dental implants and find out if you’re a good candidate, schedule an appointment at SmileBoutique today.