Dental Implants – Just Like the Real Thing

Dental Implants – Just Like the Real Thing

There are many reasons why millions of Americans suffer tooth loss. Decay, gingivitis, and injury to the mouth and teeth all take their toll. Once a tooth is lost, it’s gone forever. The surrounding teeth start to drift into the empty space and the jawbone begins to shrink and dissolve away in the area where the tooth once was, leading to further dental and oral health problems. It’s a problem, especially for a person who is completely edentulous (no teeth at all).

Today, we are fortunate to have available to us one of the best advances in medical technology-the dental implant. Think of a dental implant as “replacement tooth roots”. After an implant is placed, the dentist can build and cement a tooth right over the implant. Or, he/she can put a precision attachment on it with the other half fixed into a denture–allowing the person to securely “snap” the denture on.

The first step in the implant process is to have a detailed implant work-up done, complete with x-rays, models of the mouth, and intricate planning of the particulars of the case. Thickness and density of the bone must be measured using special instruments, and thoughtful decisions must be made as to what type and size implants should be used. The implant dentist should be highly trained in implantology to assure a successful result.

After the titanium implant is placed, the bone grows around the post anchoring it in place. Most patients say there is little to no pain, and with good oral hygiene implants can last many years. In general, dental implants have a 98% success rate as long as they are well cared for. Just like any natural tooth implants need regular brushing and flossing.

Because the implant becomes part of the bone, replacement teeth secured on the implant look, function, and feel just like the lost tooth. For millions of people who have dental implants, this is a good thing.