Missing teeth not only affect your smile but they also largely impact important oral functions. Missing teeth may negatively affect your speech and ability to chew. It can also lead to bone loss and to the shifting of surrounding teeth, which may cause additional teeth to become loose over time.
If you have one or multiple missing teeth, dental implants are an effective and esthetic option for restoring oral function and your smile. Dental implants are titanium posts which are integrated into your bone and support a dental prosthetic, such as a crown, bridge, or denture. Because they are surgically placed into the jawbone, dental implants may help reduce bone loss and keep the jawbone from shrinking. During the healing process, the jawbone grows around the implant and holds it in place. The secure fit of dental implants may also feel more natural than removable prosthetics such as bridges or dentures.
Dental implants offer firm support so that dentures, bridges, or single teeth attached to the implants won’t slip or shift in your mouth. An implant-supported denture tends to be comfortable and stable, allowing you to bite and chew naturally.
To begin a traditional dental implant, the dentist takes X-rays of the patient’s mouth before beginning the implant process. This is to make sure that the patient’s jaw has enough bone to support the implant for a long term solution to fixing a missing or cracked tooth. If a patient’s jaw does not have enough bone, a bone graft may help to increase supportive bone structure.
In the first phase of the dental implant, the dentist opens up the patient’s gum and inserts a post. This post is usually made of titanium, a shiny, strong, silvery metal that resists corrosion and is biocompatible. After the post is inserted, the dentist covers it with gum tissue and in select cases may install a temporary crown.
The fusing of the bone and the post can take up to six months. During this time, the patient should be especially diligent with their oral hygiene and continue with regular office visits to ensure that the mouth is healing well.
The dentist will take another X-ray of the patient’s jaw and, if it has fused, it is then time for the second phase of the dental implant. Your dentist has a permanent crown made in a dental laboratory, made of a material such as porcelain. Porcelain crowns are tooth-colored, natural looking, and are customized especially for you.
When the crown is ready to be placed, the dentist opens the gum and places an abutment, or anchor on top of the post. Then dentist then sends an impression to a lab to fabricate a custom-made crown. When the crown returns from the lab, it is then placed on the abutment after the gum heals. The dentist may need to make adjustments to ensure that the crown is a perfect fit.
After the mouth has healed, the patient performs regular dental hygiene, including brushing, flossing and using mouthwash.
With good care, implants can last a lifetime and be a permanent solution for missing teeth.
Our office uses the most modern and top-of-the-line products in the market for maximum reliability and long-term results. If you are interested in dental implants, call our office to schedule a consult with Dr. Chung and Dr. Batra.