Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a permanent solution to having removable partial or complete dentures. Implants provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances.
Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth (usually titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone. The teeth attached to implants are very natural looking and often enhance or restore a patient’s smile!
Dental implants are very strong, stable, and durable and will last many years, but on occasion, they will have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear.
Reasons for dental implants:
Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space.
Restore a patient’s confident smile.
Restore chewing, speech, and digestion.
Restore or enhance facial tissues.
Support a bridge or denture, making them more secure and comfortable.
What does getting dental implants involve?
The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over one or more months.
3D X-rays, scans and impressions (molds) are sometimes taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and "integrate" with the bone for 1-6 months. Often, if there are extractions done then the implant(s) may be placed at the same visit. Usually there is only surgical visit to place one or more implants. We wait a period of time then to "test" each implant, without anesthetics. Our office protocol for most patients is to guarantee that implants successfully integrate with the bone. If they don't, another implant is placed without charge or their implant fee is refunded.
After several weeks of healing the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step may take one to two months to complete. After a healing period, the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort to the patient.
You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental or dental periodontal visits will aid in the life of your new implant.
Trivia: Who makes dental implants?
There are 30-40 dental implant manufacturers on the planet and none of them actually make the implants themselves, but rather purchase ingots of titanium from one of several foundries internationally. It's actually quite possible to have a Russian implant milled by a Swedish company placed into your mouth. There are several international companies that started with one design and have been copied or improved by other companies. Dentists call that the platform design, e.g. the "Branemark External Hexagon," Straumann Bone Level," or "Astra Osseospeed" to name a few. Companies unfortunately change platform designs every 6-10 years, though less from improvements than for maintaining a proprietary platform that only they can sell. Implants vary from $50 to $500, even with the same exact titanium source! Some of the uncommon platform companies no longer exist or sell components to service their implants.